Swim Brief poses this question:
It's no secret that college swimming is in trouble, and has been for a couple decades. I don't have to look beyond my own conference (ACC) to see one team having swum it's last meet (Clemson) and another fighting for it's existence (Maryland). The reasons are numerous, systemic and evolving. In the past, Title IX was casually thrown out as a reason to cut men's teams. Currently, "budget cuts" necessitated by overspending athletic directors have been the culprit more often than not. For all the efforts of the swimming community, if this is a war than we are losing badly.
The answer is college swimming is circling the drain and nobody is stopping it However, capitalism can solve this problem.
Example: Hunting lions in Kenya actually saved the lions and the villagers actually became their protectors.
An NPR story revealed that lions were being poisoned by the local population into near extinction. They poisoned the lions so for obvious reasons. Who wants a lion in their back yard and how many kids do you have to lose till enough is enough?
A naturalist used capitalism to convinced the town to abolish poisoning and allow limited hunting of replaced alpha males for a fee of $10,000 to $100,000 a head.
Older male lions have huge manes and look awesome; the new alpha males don't. They are just burly young "thugs". Killing off the former alpha-males provided money for fences, schools and lion deterrents. Now the Kenyans and the Namibian's hunt poachers for the lions are a resource. A valuable resource.
"...Since the conservancies started in 1998, they've collected nearly $27 million in gross income, in a country where rural families live on a few dollars a day."
The game has to change for swimming for the sport is evaporating. Swimmers need to become a resource. That means bringing money to the sport and that translates to gambling and redefining of how the sport is executed. The eight lane, multiple heat, format has to change and the sport needs to become bracketed like tennis, or NCAA Basketball as an example.
When swimmers become "lions" the "village;" (read as all the colleges at large), will protect them!