January 26, 2007

Butler University Announces Changes to Athletic Program

Jan. 26, 2007

Butler University, Friday, Jan. 26, announced it will discontinue its men's swimming and lacrosse teams effective June 1. Athletic Director Barry Collier recommended the elimination of the two teams after spending several months analyzing the athletic program. Butler President Bobby Fong approved the decision.

"This action has been taken in order to focus our efforts and seek success in our remaining 19 sports," Collier said. "We are committed to the Butler Way, the success of our sponsored programs and the best possible student-athlete experience."

Members of the lacrosse team will have their scholarships honored through their senior year. Swimming is a non-scholarship sport at Butler.

Even with the elimination of the two teams, Butler will still have more teams then all other schools in the Horizon League, the league in which most Butler teams compete. The average number of teams at universities in the Horizon League is 16.

The men's swimming team is a member of the Horizon League. Butler's lacrosse team competes in the Great Western Lacrosse League.

"Intercollegiate athletics is an integral part of Butler University's commitment to educational excellence," Fong said. "As previously noted by our Board of Trustees, 'We shall strive for quality in all that we do, being selective in our offerings, realizing that we cannot be all things to all people.' "

Q&A

Q: What are you doing to assist the affected student-athletes? A: The continued well being of the affected student-athletes is our primary focus. Butler will honor all existing scholarship commitments. The student-athletes will continue to have access to the same services available to other varsity athletes including academic services and athletic training. This announcement has taken place now to give the affected student-athletes as much time as possible to make decisions regarding their future.

Q: How did you arrive at this decision? A: The decision to discontinue men's swimming and lacrosse at Butler University was made with careful consideration. This action is being taken to help ensure the long-term stability of the Department of Athletics and in the best interests of approximately 400 Butler student-athletes.

Q: Why lacrosse? Why men's swimming? A: The decision to discontinue lacrosse and men's swimming was made as a result of a total review of the athletic department. Included in the review was information gathered internally and an external comparative report of peer institutions. This comprehensive review uncovered the need to focus our efforts to ensure greater stability for the entire department.

Q: Will there be further cuts of remaining sports? A: We don't anticipate any further cuts. Through the focusing of our efforts we believe that each of the student-athletes and our remaining 19 sports will be better served.

Q: What will happen to the money saved? A: Money from scholarships, salaries and operating funds will be reallocated to the university's 19 teams.

Q: How do we compare with peer institutions when it comes to athletics? A: Even with two fewer teams, we still have more teams then all the schools in the Horizon League. The average number of teams for universities in the Horizon League is 16. We have 19.

Q: How long have we had men's swimming and lacrosse at Butler? A: Butler began lacrosse in 1993. Butler has had a men's swimming team since 1928.