Michigan State dropping swimming, diving programs after 2020-21 season

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State University is dropping swimming and diving teams for men and women after the 2020-21 season, officials said Thursday.

"MSU athletics is facing a financial crisis unlike any we've ever seen in college athletics,'' athletic director Bill Beekman and President Samuel Stanley Jr. said, citing the impact of COVID-19. "Our best-case scenario this year projects a revenue shortfall in excess of $30 million. Our worst-case scenario would more than double that number.''

No one will lose a scholarship if they remain as students, the university said. Counseling and mental health services will also be available.

The swimming/diving teams cost $2.07 million in 2018-19. Dropping the teams will improve the athletic department's long-term finances, MSU said.

The school said it also has struggled to recruit swimmers because it has a "smaller than regulation pool.''

"These are not scenarios created by a national pandemic, but rather an understanding that there is not a reasonable expectation of a better situation in the future. Unfortunately, this all led us to our inevitable decision,'' Beekman and Stanley said.

Financial donations "will be welcome,'' they said, but the decision to end the programs "is final.''