Natalia Vega delights in recalling the email she received from the University of the Incarnate Word after she asked to join its synchronized swimming team.
“It said they were going to offer me a full ride,” the native of Puerto Rico said. “I read it and I was like, ‘What?’ And my parents were like, ‘Yeah, that’s where you are going.’ ”
Two years later, Vega is an All-American with a shot at participating in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
“I love it here,” she said of UIW.
But even as Vega and other members of the Cardinals’ nationally recognized synchronized swimming team thrive, discussions are underway at UIW about whether the school should continue to field a state-high 23 sports teams, which comes at a burdensome cost of more than $18 million.
“The additional athletic advisers, the additional compliance officers, the additional athletic trainers and support personnel you have to have all add up,” said David Jurenovich, UIW vice president in charge of enrollment management and student services and a key player in the school’s impressive athletic climb.
“Even though a sport may not cost you from its direct expenses, there are indirect expenses. So we have to look at all that.”
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