Baruch swim teams prohibited from coming in Speedos to other games

Ayse Kelce

Baruch College’s swim teams are no longer permitted to wear Speedos while watching athletics events from the bleachers. 

It has been a tradition that goes back years for the swim team to show up to important games with their swimsuits. 

The teams recall getting kicked out of a volleyball game last year because of this tradition. After being forced to leave the game, they were told that they could not come to the Battle of Lex in their swimsuits. The Battle of Lex is considered to be one of the biggest sports events of the year for the Bearcats, when Baruch’s basketball team hosts Hunter College. Almost every year, the tribunes are filled with students. 

It’s one of the only games that Baruch’s Undergraduate Student Government also makes arrangements for refreshments, along with the Athletics Department, who either sells or gives out merch. 

Battle of Lex in 2018 was the last year that Baruch’s swim teams were able to watch the game in their swimsuits. The team’s disappointment continued this year as well. 

Teams voiced their concerns about this situation by replying to an email sent by the Athletic Director Carrie Thomas about the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee meeting on Jan. 30. According to the email thread, the speedo topic was brought up during the SAAC meeting. However, students were not given the chance to support their points about contributing to the school spirit and traditions. 

“We should be looking forward to what other schools have already implemented into their systems. Wearing what represents us as a person is not met with abhorrence or detestation from the population, but rather strength and courage,” wrote Eddy Min, a member of the men’s swim team. 

Morgan Welling, a student-swimmer, sent a link of an ESPN video to the email thread, saying, “Everyone should go check out this link. It shows the positive support for all student-athletes regardless of uniform at some other schools.”  

The video showed Saint Peter’s University’s swim team in their Speedos, watching their school’s basketball game. 

The video shared by Welling described Saint Peter’s swim team as an “involved crowd,” and the hosts said, “this is what college basketball is all about.” The ESPN video was shared by Saint Peter’s University’s basketball team.

“I find it quite abhorrent that practices praised on national television, by members who have successfully climbed to the peak of their field, are not only absent from Baruch but also strictly prohibited,” commented swim team member Evan Nikolic.

Women’s swim team members also condemned this “censorship,” as they call it.

“I wholeheartedly agree with the aforementioned statements from my teammates. To implement a policy that challenges something that has existed for some time now and is additionally marketed across the B3 walls where recruits, transfers/incoming students, and even toddlers are able to see is incredibly hypocritical and inconsistent on behalf of the Athletics Department,” Debbie Li’s email stated.

“SAAC representatives attended the meeting yesterday, and were reminded about this ‘new policy’ for the Battle of Lex. When we asked to discuss this, we were immediately shut down. So, this is our response. Understand, that the women and men’s swimming team take pride in our sport, our school and the other teams. We will not accept this form of censorship,” Li continued. 

The roaster distributed before the Battle of Lex this year included the rules of conduct.

“Profanity, racial, sexist comments, or other intimidating actions directed at officials, student-athletes, coaches or team representatives will not be tolerated and are grounds for removal from the premises,” the statement read. 

Even though the statement did not have a specific regulation about preferred outfits, it was made very clear to the team during the SAAC meeting that if they come in with Speedos, there were going to be consequences. 

The Ticker tried to reach the Athletics Department, but did not get a reply about the issue. The swim team still showed up for the Battle of Lex on Feb. 6. However, they wore their daily clothes, in fear of facing disciplinary action if they continue their tradition. 


Editor’s Note: Men’s swim team members Erik Kantar and Julian Tineo are the photography editor and a production assistant, respectively of The Ticker.