Last October, Mount Desert High’s Ian Carbone, a talented senior swimmer for the Trojans, signed a National Letter of Intent to swim for Duquesne University, a member of the Atlantic Ten Conference.
On Jan. 25 at 7 p.m., he received a telephone call from Duquesne coach David Sheets informing him of the athletic department’s plan to eliminate four men’s sports, including swimming, at the close of the 2009-10 school year.
“I was just stunned. I was speechless,” Carbone admitted. “I really did not have much to say. The coach offered his apologies and said he was totally blindsided.”
Sheets could not be reached for comment.
Other sports scheduled for termination at Duquesne are baseball, wrestling and golf.
MDI coach Tony DeMuro noted, “this was all news to us.”
“As his coach, it is painful to think of this. It has been tough. The good news is, he is an exceptional student and he hasn’t missed a beat in the water.”
Carbone explained that he has been released from his NLI.
“Once the shock wore off, I began to explore other options and to talk with a couple of other coaches,” the breaststroker and individual medley swimmer stated.
Due to the circumstances, other colleges are allowing Carbone to apply even though the application deadlines have expired.
According to a report in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Duquesne athletic director Gregory Amodio said, “If you look at the eliminated sports, and we looked at the financial impact of all of them and the facility issues.
“Baseball is played at an off-campus facility, golf is off campus and wrestling is on campus but in a facility the university is considering what to do with and in swimming we do not have a diving well. As well as our swimmers have performed, that’s a facility limitation we are not going to be able to change.”
Reducing the sports from 20 to 16 will allow for $1 million dollars annually to be reallocated through the department, Amodio said.
Reportedly this decision came after two years of study. Approximately 70 student-athletes have been impacted by the decision. The men’s swim team has 22 swimmers and in a January mid-major poll the team was ranked in the top 25 nationally.