Sunday, September 01, 2013

Irving ISD Board President Would Drop Swimming?

Irving ISD discussed partnering with the YMCA to build a natatorium at a recent board meeting.

IISD's Scott Layne brought the idea forward and it wasn't long before he was ambushed.

Board president Steven Jones went out of his way to torpedo the project, which is still in early planning stages.  Jones wants folks to believe the pool would be built to serve just over a hundred kids in the high school competitive programs.

Bullcorn!  Jones is no idiot - he knows exactly what the new pool will mean for kids in the district.  For whatever reason, he's going out of his way to put the brakes on the project before it can gain momentum.

The proposed natatorium would provide learn-to-swim, lap swimming, club swimming/diving, and recreational swimming opportunities for the community as well as water safety and competitive swimming/diving programs for the school district.

To see school board poly-ticks in-action, watch the video here.

Jones starts in with "My only comment..." and then rambles on and on against the project - and the swimming program.

He does a nice job of widening the split between academics and athletics.

(via elizabethany)

We've all seen it work on small scales (within individual schools) as well as large ones (legislation out of Austin).

Guys like Jones provide the spark, then stand back and watch the burn.

If the swimming community in Irving needs motivation to get Jones off the school board, he provided it with this statement:

"I mean, maybe we cut the program.  It's very easy to bring to the board to cut German.  To cut Latin.  I mean, you understand where I'm coming from?  And, that's a teacher's salary.  That's not very much money, but yet we've got a hundred kids - a hundred fifteen - that swim and we can't think about cutting that."

(via YouTube)

Jones is anti-athletics.  He's anti-aquatics.  Irving-area swim folks need to either turn him away from the dark side or run him off.


Kevin Murphy said...

Years ago, Men's and Women's Swimming was dropped at the University of Oklahoma, by the stroke of the OU Athletic Director's pen. In about 1983, after Oklahoma State had dropped Swimming two or three years earlier, there was a $250,000 Athletic Dept shortfall at OU. OU Swimming, at that time, had a budget of $250,000. So, as related by someone in the OU Recreation Dept, the OU Athletic Director scrolled down the list of sports until he saw the corresponding $250,000 budget for Swimming and just marked through that sport in order to "balance the budget". The OU Athletic Dept tried to do the same thing a few years later with Women's Basketball, but the upswell of indignation and backlash from the HS Girl's Basketball ranks, blew that up right in their face. the OU Athletic Dept reversed course in less than a week.

There was no organized effort by the swimming community in Okla to fight the dropping of swimming at either OU or OSU. The rest is history. Swimming in Oklahoma, which was very competitive with swimming in Texas during the 70's, through the Texas/Oklahoma Senior Circuit, has continued to drop in both participation and quality over the last 30 years.

In both cases, the Universities were able to drop swimming due to a lack of high quality facilities for recruiting, a lack of experienced and strongly rooted Head Coaches, limited recent college swimming competitive success, lack of vision by the Administration, and, most importantly, a lack of any fighting back by those parents with a desire to see swimming maintained as a worthwhile extracurricular activity for their kids to participate in.

We should all have fear that if our sport of swimming is not well-directed and led, within our communities, the prevailing tendency of "dropping" those sports that are not so popular, will continue to happen. We see it happening at the college level, under the guise of Title 9, but really due to money and the attitude, by a number of Administrators, that "swimming" is not a real sport anyway, because it does not generate a great spectator base of very much spectator revenue.

If the cutting of HS Swimming, gains traction from even one Texas school board, then in time, swimming and all of the "non-revenue" sports, risk becoming expendable and be relegated to "club" status, not funded by the individual ISD's.

The move toward more and more specialized and private training, especially in designated, individual sports, creates the risk that non-revenue sports detract from academic performance and focus.

The spectator, and Team sports are so much better protected, due to the tremendous number of little-league parents and private programs for young athletes, and the long tradition in those TEAM sports, and the potential for "gate" money and publicity that drives the Athletic engine.

We just must make sure that the Texas Universities maintain swimming. the loss of swimming at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahome State University, crippled the quality of HS and "club' Swimming in Oklahoma.

Kevin Murphy
Head Swim Coach
Southlake Carroll HS

Kevin Murphy said...

According to the story, (only rumor) the reason the Carroll Aquatic Center was built was because, in order to garner positive votes for the bond issue to build the new Carroll ISD Football Stadium, the swim pool was tied in to that bond issue.
There was organization and vision in our Southlake Community, not only from our Administration, but also from a fine group of far-sighted parents that used their influence to guide the process.

Today,the Carroll Aquatic Center is the foundation for over 750 kids in the Southlake Community, (10% of the school age kids in Southlake) involved in some level of competitive swimming (year-round or summer-league). In addition, competitive water-polo, competitive diving, pre-competitive swim lessons, multiple learn-to-swim classes, recreational swimming access, adult water exercise, aquatic/athletic re-hab for other HS sports, Special Olympics Swimming, etc. The aquatic facility @ Carroll ISD serves many other groups besides just the 135 member Dragon HS Swim/Dive Teams. Not to mention the District, Regional, State, National and International recognition and publicity that our HS and "club" Swim/Dive Programs bring to the school and the community.

Finally our Dragon Swim/Dive District Team (our best 23 girls and best 23 boys), carry Team GPA's in excess of 3.82 for the Girls and 3.68 for the Boys.
So, Swimming & diving kids manage both their athletics and academics in a manner that shows the very best combination of sports and academics.

Swimming and Diving are GREAT sports. Only those with zero experience with the culture of swimming & diving, would every equate their value with a single academic class, a single academic teaching slot, or a single foreign language class.

I hope the parents of all those involved in swimming & diving in Irving ISD, call the president of the School board to task for his lack of knowledge and understanding of the value of athletics (swimming & diving in this specific instance) in the educational process.

Button said...

our kids are truly student/athletes.

schools that track team gpa's for their athletic programs know that swimming ranks at or near the top of the list.

Anonymous said...

Just google the following to see more about the fine, upstanding citizen that clearly has an agenda way beyond bashing swimming in Irving.

steven jones irving school board

Here is the first thing that pops up...