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Fresno State drops its Div. I varsity wrestling program

Athletics Department Takes Action To Balance Budget And Stabilize Programs

Fresno State's official statement, with reasons for cut

June 15, 2006

FRESNO, Calif.- Fresno State Athletics Director Thomas Boeh announced today that effective July 1, 2006, the university will discontinue the intercollegiate wrestling program and reinstate the men's cross country program.

The action is taken as a cost-reduction measure and a significant component of a long-range strategic plan for Fresno State athletics, Boeh said.

"Fresno State is committed to success within the Western Athletic Conference as well as the provision of the very best student-athlete experience possible for all our sponsored programs, Boeh said.

"There is strong desire on the part of the university and its constituents to have Fresno State advance to a level of national prominence and compete consistently among the nation's best. Unfortunately, the rapidly rising costs associated with an NCAA Division I-A athletics program have caused many institutions around the country with similar aspirations to re-evaluate their sports programming. Here at Fresno State, we found our department in the same position," said Boeh.

In 2005-06, the average NCAA Division I-A athletics department budget was $32.3 million, compared to Fresno State's $22 million.

"Given today's industry standards, it is very clear that to remain a sustainable I-A program we need to find more efficiencies," Boeh said. "This adjustment will enable us to direct an adequate amount of resources, in the form of money, facilities, support services and staff, toward the support and advancement of all of our student-athletes."

Scholarship offers to returning student-athletes and incoming freshmen who have signed letters of intent will be honored until they have completed four years of school at Fresno State or transfer to other institutions. Affected student-athletes will continue to have full use of training and academic facilities and may compete individually if they choose.

The contract for head wrestling coach Shawn Charles will be honored until June 30, 2007. He will be reassigned within the Department of Athletics in the coming academic year.

The announced change means the restoration of men's cross country after a three-year absence from Fresno State. This action is intended to help advance the men's track and field program, which has been operating at a significant disadvantage since the discontinuance of men's cross country in fall 2003. Boeh said the program will greatly help the men's track and field program return to conference championship level. The men's cross country program will require no additional scholarships and will carry a roster of 10-12 student-athletes.

Boeh said among the considerations that led to the decision to discontinue wrestling were:

* An anticipated net annual financial savings of $350,000-$400,000 (not likely to be fully realized until 2008), which will help the long-term financial stability of the athletics program.

* Wrestling is not a sponsored sport with the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and is not a broad-based NCAA championship sport.

* The lack of a dedicated wrestling practice facility, locker room and cost-efficient and reasonable competitive venue.

* Wrestling carries a roster of approximately 34 student-athletes and does not have a comparative women's program.

* The recent low level of academic achievement by the wrestling program's student athletes.
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