Threats to Amateur Wrestling: Amateur wrestling is most threatened at the college level as evidenced by the following:

·         Over 475 teams have been eliminated at all collegiate levels since 1972. Many other Olympic sports have also been devastated. For example, men’s gymnastics only has 15 college teams remaining (in all divisions).

·         Ten teams were eliminated in the past two years.

·         Four of the five D-I California wrestling programs are in jeopardy.

·         Currently, there are only 328 intercollegiate teams remaining to accommodate nearly 273,000 high school wrestlers.

·         States like Washington, and Florida each have over 300 high school wrestling teams without having a single college wrestling team in their state.

Culprits: While there are a variety of reasons that have led to the elimination of so many college teams, the primary culprits are as follows:

·         Current interpretation of Title IX resulted in wrestling being an early target for elimination because it did not have a female counterpart.

·         At the Division I level, NCAA member institutions are only required to sponsor 6 men’s sports and 8 women’s sports. At the Division II and III levels, schools must only sponsor 5 men’s sports and 5 women’s sports (in the larger enrollment schools, D-III schools must sponsor 6 men’s sports and 6 women’s sports). 

·         There is very little incentive for colleges to sponsor broad based intercollegiate athletic departments and in fact, the current economy has accelerated a downsizing trend across the nation. 

·         Schools concentrating on focused excellence. Allocate more money to fewer student-athletes..

·         Conferences such as the SEC only sponsor on average of 9 male sports yet they are among the highest in spending of any conference for athletics.

·         The annual allocation of state monies to public colleges has been reduced over the years. The budgetary shortfall has resulted in the elimination of many teams.

·         Many Olympic sport coaches (sports other than football and basketball) do not have the necessary CEO skills to protect their programs, particularly in a bad economy (fundraising, marketing, promotions, public speaking, etc.).  

·         Due to the loss of so many intercollegiate wrestling teams since 1972, a growing number of our intercollegiate teams are no longer participating in the multi-sport conferences of their institutions.  Typically, sports with recognized conference championships (within a multi-sport conference) are considered the “sacred cows” when downsizing occurs.  

Ramifications of Discontinued Teams: Historically, our intercollegiate wrestling teams have been the training grounds for future generations of high school, middle school, and elementary school teachers and wrestling coaches.  Simply stated, we need to establish more college teams so we can replenish the depleted pool of teachers and coaches at all scholastic levels across America.

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Threats and Culprits