Iowa! Rats!

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COVID was simply the mechanism that exposed the gross mismanagement of the athletic department at Iowa. True, there are other schools struggling but this is exceptionally bad and having Barta et al blame COVID is a cop out.

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  • Amy Jo HoherzIowa Swimming and Diving Alumni Unite
    gtnouSoAuffgudsteepgrmo 2i4nd usoftatur 6uo:27e PMd ·
    Sent to Daily Iowan, Press Citizen, Gazette, and Register. And of course we now know that cutting all four programs is saving a whooping $5 million/year. It’s not these athletes draining the coffers.
    On Friday, August 21, 2020, people I love were handed a betrayal by someone I have loved and revered my entire life, that someone being the University of Iowa and the University of Iowa Athletic Dept. Anyone who has been betrayed by a loved one knows the sheer agony, unlike any other, of being angry and hurt by someone you love to the very core of your being. In this case, the feeling is simultaneously mixed with the utter grief of loss.
    On Friday, the U of I announced it was dismantling the Men’s and Women’s Hawkeye Swimming and Diving program at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season. The reason given was that the loss of football revenue from one season was so great that they needed to cut four athletic programs for the survival of the other programs. Student athletes, who had spent their summer anxiously waiting for and trusting the guidance of their coaches and the athletic department, found out at their first gathering with the team since early March, that instead they and their coaching staff were being discarded. Their coaches, who have trained and cared for these young adults and who are the heart and soul of the program, had been given 30 minutes to process this knowledge before it was announced in person to their assembled student athletes, some freshmen who had arrived on campus a few days prior and hadn’t even started classes let alone practice. Some who had only the week prior survived the hurricane-like derecho with its estimated 130 mph winds that ripped through the state. All who were young adults trying to come to terms with all the loss and change that has been the Covid-19 Pandemic.
    In their open letter, the U of I Athletic Dept claims to be “transparent” and to have considered the importance, engagement, and history of Hawkeye Swimming and Diving before cutting the program. History? Hawkeye Swimming and Diving is a program that originated in 1917 during WWI, survived the Spanish flu pandemic, the Great Depression, WWII, and Title IX cuts over its 103-year history. It is a program that has produced 27 Olympians, 476 NCAA All-Americans, and 19 NCAA Champions. One of the four competitive strokes, the butterfly, was literally invented at the U of I. Hawkeye Swimming and Diving not only had several athletes slated to compete in last season’s cancelled NCAA Championships, but has athletes who are slated to compete at the 2021 Olympic Trials and the program is scheduled to host NCAA Championships in Iowa City in March 2021. After competing in the basement of the Field House for decades, a spectacular multi-million dollar facility was opened in 2010. There are 48 student athletes from across the country and around the world on its 2020-21 roster.
    Transparency? As far as anyone knows, no stakeholders in the program were given any idea the program was in jeopardy. Within 48 hours, 13,000 people have signed a petition to save the program. Did U of I Athletic Directors consider talking to Hawkeye athletic staff to field ideas, possibilities, or hear consequences of their decision before taking it to the Board of Regents? I cannot imagine that any coach within the entire U of I Athletic Department wants to lose programs; how can they not think, but by the grace of God there go I? They know that fellow student athletes on campus support each other. They know engaging experiences are what bring and keep students at the University of Iowa. The Athletic Directors did not even share the knowledge with University of Iowa supporters that some teams were potentially in danger due to the loss of revenue, giving them the opportunity to donate or help out in any way. The stated deficit was $65 million. We all know what amazing things can be accomplished when a community knows it is in danger, and maybe that money could have been raised; but apparently none of this occurred to the Athletic Director. No, instead, within a mere 10 days of Hawkeye Football being cancelled, four other programs were just simply gone.
    My student athlete is a senior diver who is slated to go to Olympic Trials. We had come to terms with the fact that his senior year was not going to be “normal”, but rested well in knowing that he had been part of a wonderful family and had a fantastic experience representing the school as a Hawkeye athlete. But how can anyone who loves the University of Iowa and University of Iowa Athletics rest well in this decision?
    Sincerely,
    Amy Jo (Anderson) Hoherz, Spring, TX
    1990 U of I Army ROTC Commissioned Officer and 1991 U of I BS in Mathematics Graduate

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