CSUN swim team is in no man’s land

Susan Murray

Members of the Cal State Northridge swim team protest on the steps of the Oviatt library during Thursday’s schoolwide walkouts. The swim team members held up a jar with a sign that said “Help Save CSUN’s Swim Team,” in response to being discontinued due to budget cuts. Christianna Triolo / staff photographer

I saw a “Store Closing,” sign at a major shoe store, so I decided to check it out. I handed my keys to a valet and wandered in to see what they had. The giant warehouse housed maybe 35 pairs of size 11 ½ shoes with a couple single stragglers on each shelf. It was pathetic and I never even came to a complete stop.

I walked over to the clerk and asked him to validate my ticket. He said, “Upon purchase only.” I told him to show me something I could purchase. He said, “relax” and I said validate my ticket. After four uncomfortable minutes he validated my ticket.

Shouldn’t there be a common sense code that all people must abide by? So I go into a store, only to find they don’t have anything for me and now I have to pay the price? That just isn’t right and this was surely a common sense matter.

This is precisely what happened to CSUN’s men’s and women’s swim teams. Last Monday the team was told of their demise. Team members’ options are to leave the school and for many, their scholarships, or stay and forget about their lives as competing swimmers and all they had invested.
Back in mid-December the Director of Athletics Rick Mazzuto was asked by the CFO Tom McCain to come up with a plan to try and help reduce the school deficit. CSUN has 20 sports teams, 15 of which are protected by the Big West Constitution. Meaning if the school wanted to cut them they couldn’t. So, it came down to Men’s Volleyball and in case you didn’t hear, we’re in the top five in the country, so that’s not going to happen. The other options were men’s and women’s indoor track and field or men’s and women’s swimming. Bye bye swim team.

On February 17 at the President’s Town Hall meeting in which President Jolene Koester was asked by Opinions Editor William Herbe, “Have you considered

or will you consider cutting any athletic programs?” She responded with an emphatic “No.”

With Athletic Director Mazzuto asked to start reviewing this back in December by the CFO, it seems very unlikely this would have been going on under the nose of the president of the university. If it was let me be the first to blow the whistle and if it wasn’t let me also be the first to

blow the whistle.

I understand desperate times call for desperate measures and yes I guess some sports teams had to be cut, but in the middle of the year? They should have cut future enrollment and kept their promise to the athletes at least until they all graduate.

Let me throw out an idea to help reinstate the swim program: the chancellor made over $420,000 and the president more than $310,000 last year. If they took a pay cut of 10 percent just like all the other administration and faculty in the Cal State system and just like the students enrollment costs that have risen 16.7 percent in one year, this would be a great start to the $300,000 the swim team will have to recover.

Shouldn’t there be a common sense code that all people must all abide by. So, the athletes came here only to find out that they no longer have the program they came for and now have to pay the price. That just isn’t right.

Just as I should not have been expected to buy size 11 ½ shoes when I’m an 8 ½, swimmers shouldn’t be expected to remain at school where they came to swim when they can no longer swim. Now, they’re being forced to fit and they just don’t fit.