Changes Made to Swimming Program

Siloam Springs, Ark. (March 16, 2005) — After much consideration, the athletics department, along with John Brown University officials, have decided to dissolve the Men’s Swimming program along with the Men’s and Women’s Diving program effective the 2005-2006 season. The decision comes after watching a steady decline in participation in these programs at JBU and in the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) organization. The Women’s Swimming program will remain for the 2005-2006 season. “JBU has a long tradition of intercollegiate swimming and has had a number of NAIA All-Americans in the last four decades,” Dr. Bob Burns, athletic director said. “The sport served JBU well, but with the declining interest, it was my recommendation to the president's cabinet that the programs be evaluated and appropriate adjustments made.” JBU began its swimming and diving programs for men in 1965, and it continued as an intercollegiate sport until 1974 when it was dissolved. It was revived in 1985, along with the addition of Women’s Swimming and Diving. In spite of the success of many athletes, the program consistently struggled with turnover. The declining trend in swimming has also been noticed by the NAIA. For the past few years, the NAIA has given the sport an “at risk” status, meaning that the number of institutions with swimming programs is decreasing. “It would be irresponsible on our part to recruit students for the Men’s Swimming program knowing that participation is down and the future of swimming programs in the NAIA is uncertain,” Dr. Ed Ericson, vice president for academic affairs, including athletics said. “It is a difficult decision and one that was made with careful thought and consideration.” Currently, the women’s team has twice the participation of the men’s program. Participation in Women’s Swimming programs among NAIA institutions is greater than men’s programs. All swimmers who are affected by this program cancellation will retain their awarded scholarships through their senior year or through their four years of eligibility. John Brown University is a private Christian university, ranked eighth by U.S. News & World Report in the Southern Region. JBU enrolls more than 1,900 students from 43 states and 39 countries. JBU is a member of Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities and the Council for Christian Colleges.