The Los Angeles Times' Fabulous Forum blog reports today that UC Irvine as of Saturday is "discontinuing" five sports--men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's rowing, and sailing--to cut costs amid reduced state funding. University brass expects to save $1 million by shuttering the programs.
Funny, but indicted billionaire Henry T. Nicholas III gave $280,000 more than that just to the UCI crew team, according to Dave Wielenga's July 2004 Weekly cover story, "Henry Nicholas, Superhero":
He became a high-profile philanthropist, donating millions not only to the arts and children's charities but also $1.28 million to the UCI crew team. At the press conference announcing the latter, Nick challenged the team's captain to a pull-ups contest. The kid dropped out after 11; Nick went for 27.
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Of course, since that story was published, the Broadcom co-founder, Victim's Bill of Rights ballot initiative funder and Forbes' list of richest Americans spot filler was indicted on felony drug, conspiracy and securities-fraud charges. That case and a messy divorce uncovered explosive allegations that Nicholas possessed a "sex cave" stocked with whores and a warehouse stocked with drugs.
Meanwhile, a previous report in CollegeSwimming.com about the then-expected cuts to the UCI swimming program indicated "public support could help turn the tide for the Anteaters."
The university has reportedly given the program a target of $2.2 million to save the teams. In the interim, alumni and the Irvine swimming community have been working to secure the $150,000 needed to sustain the programs through the year and buy themselves time.
The post goes on to report that other swimming programs, most notably Arizona State University's, have managed to sustain themselves, so "[t]here's reason for hope."
In both talent and resources, the Orange County swimming community is one of the richest in the country. The area reads like a who's who of great swimming clubs including Irvine Novaquatics, NGSV Gators, Mission Viejo and the university's resident Aquazot Swim Club. This spring the region produced more Division I signees than any other area of the country.