The wrestling program at Cal State Fullerton, which had been marked for elimination last season but thought it had raised enough funds to ensure its survival, has been declared dead by school administrators.
Here’s how the news was presented at the Titans wrestling website on Thursday afternoon:
Cal State Fullerton’s intercollegiate wrestling program will be terminated at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season. The action was considered at the end of the 2009-10 season, but the program was given the opportunity to continue operating if it could fund its own annual budget. An extensive fund-raising campaign for 2010-11 came up short of the $196,145 cash deposited goal by the Aug. 2 deadline.
A couple days earlier, Director of Athletics Brian Quinn had issued a statement to Titan wrestlers with this opening line: “I regret to inform you that, upon the completion of the 2010-11 season the wrestling program will be discontinued.”
On May 1, College Wrestling Examiner wrote:
The wrestling program at California State University-Fullerton (CSF) has been spared the death penalty… for one year.
Wrestling — along with women’s gymnastics — raised just enough money before a May 1 deadline to be fully funded for the 2010-2011 season. Both sports were in danger of being dropped from the CSF athletic program because of state-college budget cuts as a result of Calfornia’s financial crisis.
In a message to his wrestlers sent in anticipation of Quinn’s announcement, Titans head coach Dan Hicks wrote:
The issue has become the fact that the Athletic Director Brian Quinn and Vice President Palmer want all the money in cash before August 1st, 2010 and then they wanted $400,000(two years budget) in cash up front by March 1st, 2011 for us to continue after this season.They moved the date up and made the challenge significantly tougher. Today they told me of their plan to eliminate wrestling at the end of the season.
We have enough to reach the goal if they would count the $70,000 per year from the Lasting Impact Luncheon. Even though 98% of the pledges came in for year one, they refuse to count those pledges for year 2, the current 10-11 season and would not count them for year 11-12 and 12-13. For eight years we have been in the black by June 30. We will be again June of 2011.
Hicks closes his message with this call-to-arms:
We represent thousands of kids who deserve a chance to wrestle in college. We are leading the fight to save college wrestling. So when you see the press release may it cause you to focus more, train harder and prepare yourself for our best season yet at Cal State Fullerton.
In the meantime, the school administration has pretty much declared the matter closed, citing the shutdown of other far West college wrestling programs such as University of Oregon, UC Davis, and Portland State… granting “an immediate blanket transfer to any other institution”… and thanking “Coach Hicks and Coach Marttinen for their tireless efforts and passion for their program, and to each of the student-athletes. They did whatever they could to raise sufficient funds to keep the program going.”
As today’s press statement from the Titan wrestling program states, wrestling at CSF has a rich history dating back to 1968. Coach Hicks, who came to Fullerton from Oregon State in 2002-03, is only the fourth head coach in the program’s 43-year history. The Titans never won a team championship but boast 31 conference champions, 12 NCAA Division I and three Division II All-Americans, and 87 NCAA D1 tournament qualifiers, including at least one in each of the last 26 seasons.
It’s hard to imagine this will be the last article on this situation.
Thanks to TheWrestlingTalk and TheCaliforniaWrestler forums for posting the contents of the messages from CSF AD Brian Quinn and head coach Dan Hicks.
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TheCaliforniaWrestler.com: Fullerton to drop wrestling
Cal State Fullerton wrestling press statement issued August 19: Last season for wrestling
College Wrestling Examiner, May 1: Cal State Fullerton wrestling program safe — for one year
College Wrestling 101: Links to articles answering basic questions about wrestling, including rules, scoring, uniforms, more
Follow College Wrestling Examiner Mark Palmer on Twitter