WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY (WKEF/WRGT) – Inside the pool facility at Wright State University, the flags, empty stands, and banners with room for future champions, bring a heavy feeling for swimmer Ryan Schultz.
He watched as community swimmers lapped the lanes usually reserved for his team.
“It’s hard to get excited to train, when you get told that you’re not even going to have a season next year,” Schultz said.
One week before a budget vote, the pool has become a reflective sanctuary.
“Looking up at the record board and kind of thinking about what could’ve been,” he said. “What might not ever happen anymore.”
Thousands of people nationwide are determined not to let the program wash away.
“Right now all those dreams, and the legacy, is drowning,” said Rafael Candido, a 2007 graduate.
Candido is part of a stakeholders board pushing the university to reconsider cutting swimming and diving. He drove from Columbus to talk with the team. He also wanted to talk with the university president.
“I decided to drop by his office to see if he could take a meeting with me,” Candido said. “Five minutes later, I got a call from him.”
The president didn’t make any promises, but gave Candido a chance to find an alternative solution.
“When I saw the report from the university saying the swimming program cost them $500,000, my natural question was how much does it revenue?” he said.
According to data pulled from Department of Education, Candido said the teams brought in more than $1 million last season.
“We need to get a presentation together to get the data, the facts in line,” Candido said.
It’s a late start for a looming deadline, but the will is there.
“We’ve ended up getting a good amount of support so far,” Schultz said.
Still, he’s afraid of disappointment.
“I don’t want to get my hopes up too big, until it’s all said and done and we got our team back,” he added.
Wright State is accepting public comments until June 5. You can send emails to [email protected] The Board of Trustees…