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Wrestling at the U

In: Social Issues

Submitted By lubdub
Words 3710
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Returning Wrestling to the University

Imagine this, you are in the gym waiting for the first practice of the season to start. Your excitement is overwhelming. You have spent your entire life working up to this point; you are a college athlete. You are being paid to attend school and play your favorite sport for it. Your coach walks in with an upset look on his face. You think to yourself that it’s just going to be a difficult practice. Your coach actually tells you that you do not have practice today. You wont have practice ever again. Your entire life work gone, just like that. With your heart crushed, you cannot understand why the sport is just, canceled. You walk up to your coach and ask what the problem is. Your coach, as disappointed as you, tells you that the University board of athletics has decided to drop your “life” from the program to abide by the Title IX requirements and for not being a profitable program.
This actually happened here at the University of Utah 50 years ago and it’s because there is a problem going on at Universities like The U and it is that men’s non-revenue sports, like wrestling, are being impacted negatively. Wresting is beginning to fade from colleges that are not in the Big Ten or the Ivy League, and Colleges like the University of Utah are participating in letting the sport diminish. In an article written by Coyte G. Cooper, “Involving the core product” “While there were 363 NCAA wrestling programs in 1981, the number of men’s wrestling programs offered by the NCAA had diminished to 234 in 2005.” Schools should stop making excuses for dropping the sport and making reasons on why to add. This is exactly what the University of Utah should be doing. The University should be trying to find reasons to reintroduce the sport that all athletics were built on, wrestling.
There used to be multiple Universities that had wrestling teams in the state of Utah, including Brigham Young University and The University of Utah but now there is only one D1 college that continuous to support wrestling, Utah Valley University. Utah Valley University is a great school but it is not as prestigious as either Brigham Young University or The University of Utah. So because Utah Valley University is the only school that has a wrestling program, students who want to wrestle in the state of Utah must attend UVU. This causes a dilemma. Students who cannot afford out of state tuition but still want to wrestle have to make a decision; either attend Utah Valley University or not wrestle for a NCAA team. This is causing students to pick from either getting a top education from great instate schools like the University of Utah but give up wrestling for the college or attend a moderate college and wrestle but loose the schooling. According to the University of Utah’s mission statement “The mission of the University of Utah is to serve the people of Utah and the world through the discovery, creation and application of knowledge.” With not accepting a wrestling team they are not following there own mission statement and denying wrestling the education the U can offer.
One of the main problems results from Title IX that was passed in June 23, 1972. Title IX prohibits discrimination in education programs and activities receiving federal funds. Basically, Title IX says that both female sports and male sports have to receive the same amount in money towards the budget. This includes but does not limit money and or total amount of athletic teams for both genders. To abide by these rules schools such as the University of Utah are taking the easy way out and just dropping sports instead of moving the money around to accommodate for all the athletics. In fact this is exactly what happened when to wrestling was dropped in the first place. The problem is not that there are more male sports programs than there are females, it’s that the much more popular male sports use up all the money. There are actually three less boys than there are girls’ sports at the U and yet; male sports use most of the money. “The root causes of the loss of college wrestling teams arguably can be found in out-of-control and unfair economics in big-time college athletic programs.”(Coyte G. 2011) Basically the problem is that the money isn’t being divided up evenly among the all the different sports at the University of Utah. Boy’s basketball and football receive the most for scholarships than any other sport. For example millions of dollars are spent on college football but wrestling was cut for costing what today would have been 300,000 dollars. The school should spread that money out evenly among to all the sports. This way all the sports can continue to remain part of the university. That will focus on reducing costs and managing the intercollegiate athletics enterprise more appropriately.
One of the big deciding factors behind wrestling being cut from The University of Utah was that the scholarships for it cost more money than the program had. According to a newspaper article from the Daily Chronicle written by Steve Brown in 1972, the year the wrestling team was cut from the University of Utah, “The reason for the high cost in scholarships was that the school had to give to many out of state scholarships to keep the team able to compete at the top level.” (Brown, 1972) Since 1972 a lot has changed for wrestling in the state of Utah. The state of Utah has become one of the top wrestling states in the country. This means that if the University of Utah had a wrestling team then would have a much larger group of instate wrestlers than they had 50 years ago. With this now in place cost of scholarships for wrestlers would go down and one of the main reasons for dropping the sport fixed.
Another issue that can be easily fixed in this day and age is the marketing for the sport. This is part of the money issue mentioned in the previous paragraph. Wrestling is a difficult sport to populate in the western state but in an article written by Coyte G. Cooper, “The Motivational Preferences of Consumers Attending Multiple NCAA Wrestling Events”, explaining how the marketing can be improved. Non-revenue sport programs need to realize sustainability; they must develop an entrepreneurial mindset that features proactive response to athletic director’s top program elimination criteria. He explains how the National Wrestling Coaches Association must work with coaches to develop marketing plans that will allow them to build spectator interest at all levels of wrestling, including at the University of Utah. They need to focus on consumer preferences at college wrestling events.
Some may say that out of all the sports to choose to add to the University of Utah why wrestling? The reason for this is that wrestling helps students both mentally and physically. It will also help support wrestling across the nation. According to Brad Darrington, former wrestler from Utah Valley University and former head coach of Orem High School, “wrestling helps students succeed both in and out of the ring. It is a great stress relief of everyday life that school can have on a students. It allows them to get all there built up aggression and stress out. Which gives them the opportunity to succeed in the class room too.” Bringing wrestling to The University of Utah would help in the academic standpoint too. According to an article written by ODU Athletics “Wrestlers have the 2nd highest GPA in the country of all the sports.” I personally can support the claim that wrestling can help students in tremendous ways. I started wrestling my freshman year of high school and I truly believe without it my self and my teammates would not have succeeded as well as we did if it were not for the sport. Wrestling gave me the opportunity to take my mind of the stresses school can have. It really does helped many students and should not only be supported by UVU but by The University of Utah also.
Wrestling is also needs the recognition and support. The way it will support the sport is it will create more fans. The University of Utah is one of the largest universities in Utah and with the extra fan support, wrestling could grow to become a much more popular sport in the western United States. At this point, wrestling could use it. The reason this is so important is because the International Olympic Committee cut wrestling from the 2016 Olympics. Wrestling, being one of the oldest known sports could really use the support that being at the U could bring. We can not allow a sport that has been apart of human life since the Greeks and that teaches so many from children to adults the lessons of discipline, good edicate, respect, and the willingness to push ones self to the limit. It will also not only benefit the sport but the school too. It will bring a whole new fan base to the school thus increasing profits. The same thing happened in Michigan with lacrosse. According to the web page Inside Lacrosse “Michigan reported over $24 million in profits over the last two fiscal years.” This shows that new sports can have a positive impact on the University profits.
There use to be multiple Universities that had wrestling teams in the state of Utah, including Brigham Young University and The University of Utah but now there is only one D1 college that continuous to support wrestling, Utah Valley University. Utah Valley University is a great school but it is not as prestigious as either Brigham Young University or The University of Utah. So because Utah Valley University is the only school that has a wrestling program, students who want to wrestle in the state of Utah must attend UVU. This causes a dilemma. Students who cannot afford out of state tuition but still want to wrestle have to make a decision; either attend Utah Valley University or not wrestle for a NCAA team. This is causing students to pick from either getting a top education from great instate schools like the University of Utah but give up wrestling for the college or attend a moderate college and wrestle but loose the schooling. According to the University of Utah’s mission statement “The mission of the University of Utah is to serve the people of Utah and the world through the discovery, creation and application of knowledge.” With not accepting a wrestling team they are not following there own mission statement and denying wrestling the education the U can offer.
Student wrestlers will not only succeed in their undergraduate classes but in their graduate program too. Admission officers make their decisions based on how well students satisfy two questions. Can they do work? And are you capable of the dedication needed to graduate. That’s what they must decide based on all the data in an application. The world’s oldest sport is also an “individual” snapshot of a student’s discipline and willingness to dedicate oneself to something over an extended period of time. The great wrestler, coach of Iowa Buckeyes and outstanding teacher, Dan Gable, had this to say about wrestling “More enduringly than any other sport, wrestling teaches self-control and pride. Some have wrestled without great skill—none have wrestled without pride.” With wrestlers at the University of Utah, its already amazing reputation can only go up.
When wrestling was an athletic sport at the University of Utah it was a well-established program and did very well on the national level. With seven national championship appearances and one national placement. Now with the outstanding coaching like Craig Lamont, owner and coach of Utah’s largest wrestling clubs with members who are ranked nationally and internationally, in Utah, the University of Utah could be one of the top teams in the nation. The state of Utah has the resources to create an amazing team, and it has at Utah Valley University, but if The University of Utah reintroduced the program then they could have an outstanding team that could rival for the national champs in the big ten such as Penn State or Iowa, schools that have been competing at the top level for decades. The only thing missing is the support from the school itself.
Reintroducing wrestling back at the University of Utah should become a priority. The reasons for removing it in 1972 were very valid… at the time. They did not have the funds or the resources at the time and had to make the decision to support the Title IX. But now that the sport as not only increased but has flourished in the state of Utah. The amount of athletes has increased and same with the coaching and the quality. They money problem can be solved by just making budget cuts in the right places, such and the Utah’s male football team and or basketball team. The amount of money needed to fund a wrestling program would be less than ten percent of the money the football team and basketball team useless annually. If the University of Utah really wants to increase the profit from wresting and want it to thrive, there must be a series of marketing initiatives implemented to increase the consumer interest in the product.
In addition to enhancing the NCAA wrestling schedule, the NWCA must evaluate the rules and regulations to ensure that an exciting core product is being delivered to fans of college wrestling. Once the entertaining product has been strengthened, innovative marketing campaigns are needed in order to create new consumer interest in college wrestling at the local, regional, and national levels. And included with the reintroduction the University of Utah would become a new place for wrestlers to call home. They will receive the education they deserve while not being forced to give up the sport they love. They will improve their education while improving the University’s athletic department. Athletic GPAs will increase while the schools ranking goes up. While making the university and the student wrestlers lives better it will help the cause of keeping wrestling as one of the oldest and proudest sports since back in the Greek time. Wrestling at the University would be one of the greatest investments the University of Utah could make. It’s time to bring The University of Utah’s wrestling program back to the college because it obviously can not do any harm, only good, for the students, community and the school its self.
Annotated Bibliography

• Gavora, Jessica. Tilting the Playing Field: Schools, Sports, Sex, and Title Ix. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002. Print.
Summary: The author, former government policy advisor, of this book suggest that Title IX of the Education Amendments is not creating more female athletes but instead is eliminating some of the most prestigious men’s sports programs. It supports my claim that title IX is the reason for the University of Utah not having a wrestling team. It goes through and explains how the amendment causes trouble for athletes because if the university they are attending does not follow the requirements set by this amendment they could lose there sport that they have spent their whole life working so hard to achieve.
• Cooper, Coyte G. "The Motivational Preferences of Consumers Attending Multiple NCAA Wrestling Events." Sport Marketing Quarterly 20.1 (2011).
Summary: Coyte G Cooper, PhD, assistant professor of sport administration at the University of North Carolina, Explains how the NCAA Division I athletic administrators have chosen to engage in a profit maximization that has resulted in program eliminations for non-revenue, Olympic sport programs. This reference helps my cause because it explains that even if a sport is not “profitable” that it is not any less important than any other sport. He also explains how there needs to be marketing plan that improves non-revenue consumer interests. This can help the University by giving ideas on how to improve profits from these kinds of sports, which would be a good rebuttal in a discussion.
• Cooper, Coyte G., and Erianne Weight. "Evolving the Core Product: Stakeholder’s Perceptions of the NCAA Wrestling Season." Journal of Sport Administration and Supervision 3.1 (2011).
Summary: Another article by Coyte G. Cooper, PhD, and Erianne Weight, Assistant Professor at the
Department of Exercise and Sport Science, both explain that the Title IX and lack of money are not the only problems for wrestling in college. They introduce another issue on how there is an outlandish spending on men’s basketball and men’s football and not leaving enough money left over for the non-revenue sports. With this information I can purpose that budget cuts on the “popular” sports can really help those sports and athletes in need of a larger budget. With this money new and old sports can be introduced into colleges.
• Darrington, Brad. Personal Interview. Oct. 2014
Summary: To get a different view on the issue of colleges not having wrestling I talked to a college wrestler. Mr. Darrington wrestled for the Utah Valley University and he was from Idaho and was in the NCAA championship tournament. He explained how wrestling in college helped him in many ways. He did not come from a practically wealthy family so with wrestling he was able to pay for his education. It also helped him get many other opportunities in his life. I can use his interview to show how student wrestlers benefit from wrestling in college and how it can support them more than just paying for college.
• Ridpath, Bradley David, et al. "Changing sides: The failure of the wrestling community’s challenges to Title IX and new strategies for saving NCAA sport teams." Journal of Intercollegiate Sports 1.2 (2008): 255-283.
Summary: Bradley David Ridpath, Associate Professor and Kahandas Nandola Professor of Sports Administration, explains in his article the legal and legislative history of Title IX and the statute’s impact on intercollegiate athletic programs and practical solutions for compliance. He also explains how colleges’ economic decisions and zeal for competitive teams at the “revenue sports” level are at the core of wrestling’s dilemma rather than the law itself. This supports the argument that schools shouldn’t discriminate how sports. They should support all of them equally and spread the money around to all the programs such as wrestling and other sports at the Univeristy.
• Walton, Theresa A. "IX: Forced to Wrestle Up the Backside." Women in Sport & Physical Activity Journal 12.2 (2003): 5.
Summary: Theresa Walton, PhD at Kent State University, whose sources include daily newspapers, Sports Illustrated, wrestling periodicals, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, states in her article “the rise in participation numbers in women's sport not only correlates to a decrease in men's 'minor' sport participation numbers, but is also the cause of that decrease. This article just further supports that the title IX amendment is linked to the decrease of men’s wrestling teams in colleges across the country. She also explains how the “popular sports” are damaging the minor sports. “The skewed spending within athletic departments has not only contributed to decreases in opportunities in men's minor sport.”
• Bentley, Eric. "Title IX: The Technical Knockout for Men's Non-Revenue Sports." JL & Educ. 33 (2004): 139.
Summary: In Eric Bentley’s article he what the title IX is, “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” and also how student athletes react to their sport being removed. He also asks a very good question, “How can a law that is supposed to protect us from being denied participation on the basis of our sex cause our university to drop our sport because it's a men's team.” This is a very good question that can help me in my argument against the title IX. Men’s sports are not being protected because people are focused on the women’s sports.
• Williams, Greg. Personal Interview. Oct. 2014
Summary; Greg Williams, head coach of Utah Valley University wrestling team, allowed me to ask him some questions. He explained to me how wrestling benefits the school and students. I also asked him how many athletes were from in state. The reason for this question was that in an article by Steve Brown states that the reason for the University of Utah removing the wrestling team was that there was to many out of state scholarships, which cost more than in state. I’ll use this information to show how a team at Utah can improve the school.
• Wescott, Angell, et al. "False Assumptions: Why Title IX is not to Blame for Changes in Men’s Athletics."
Summary: In Wescott’s article he goes through and explains how dramatic increase of female participation in athletics has led many people to falsely blame Title IX for having a negative impact on men’s athletics. These critics argue that Title IX has required colleges to provide more funding for female athletics, leading to lower budgets for male athletic programs and sometimes their elimination. This goes to show that the title IX should be revised because while making women’s sports better it is harming males. With articles like this it is easier to prove this.
• Straubel, Michael. "Gender Equity, College Sports, Title IX and Group Rights: A Coach's View." Brook. L. Rev. 62 (1996): 1039.
Summary: Michael S. Straubel, Professor of law, in his article goes through and explains how the title IX brings fear to coaches. It brings fear of smaller budgets, team size caps (roster limits) and even the elimination of their sports from college athletic programs. With his article I can show the coach view of title IX and how it affects them and their athletes and show how there must be a way to change it so schools like the University of Utah can support the Olympic sport of wrestling. Title IX is the major problem for wrestling and other men’s sports.

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