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Bye bye UO wrestling

There are two opinion pieces in the Ol’ Dirty today about Duck wrestling getting the ax. From the editorial:

The clearest explanation of why wrestling won’t be back next year is that there is no clear reason.

From a sports column by Doug Bonham:

Out of the research I’ve done, interviews I’ve conducted, and everything I’ve seen surrounding the end of the program, not one of the athletic department’s arguments holds much water.

My initial reaction was “isn’t Title IX a clear reason for having to cut wrestling?” But then I read this ODE feature from last week that reported:

Contrary to common belief, the decision to remove wrestling is not a Title IX issue; Oregon qualifies for Title IX under history of expansion of opportunities for women, which doesn’t require removing men’s sports.

I contacted Joe Giansante, associate athletic direct — external communications, asking if Title IX actually isn’t connected to cutting the sport. He said that Title IX was a factor in the decision, but only because it is a factor in every decision the department has to make. He said that Title IX and money have incorrectly been pointed to as the sole reasons for the sport being eliminated. From an e-mail:

“The media and wrestling group has painted this as if Oregon is doing something revolutionary by eliminating the sport … their sport’s lack of popularity and uncertain future, combined with the title ix and financial uncertainties, combined with the growth of baseball combine to make this an easy decision.”

Giansante notes that Oregon is the 422nd NCAA wrestling program to be eliminated; there are only two “traditional” Pac 10 schools with a program; and “We sold 3 times as many tickets for the women’s basketball game this weekend as we did for the pac-10 wrestling championships.” OK, you sold me on the third note.

I haven’t been to a wrestling match since high school, and am somewhat indifferent on the issue. The one benefit I see from the wrestling program is that it is a great link to rural Oregon high schools and it is a shame to lose that, since a majority of athletic recruiting happens outside the state these day – 14 of the 18 wrestlers graduated from an Oregon high school. Although, as Oregon State University has shown, there is enough talent in Oregon high schools to produce championship baseball teams.

As for Title IX, I have never been a fan since it discriminates against male athletes in order to stop discrimination against female athletes. Although without Title IX, the university would be without its No. 19 ranked women’s lacrosse team, the best thing to happen to the University since the foundation of the Oregon Commentator.

  1. “We sold 3 times as many tickets for the women

  2. At. Pa. says:

    I always liked wrestling games–the men in tight suits, wrestling each other with but two mm of fabric between them, simulating rubbing and touching in th e most intimate of places. come on, who wouldnt want to be on a matt with two men fighting to top the other. Really it is sexual when you think of it–and sexy

  3. Drew says:

    I think the dropping of the wrestling programs is due to the fact that people would rather drink beer and watch baseball games then watch wrestling

  4. Sean says:

    Everything is about race, Timothy. You should know that.

  5. Timothy says:

    Oh, I didn’t know this was also a Kill Whitey issue.

  6. Sean Jin says:

    They’re using about the same logic as the ES departmentalization: Everyone else is doing it, popularity issues…why not?

  7. Timothy says:

    You know, I get that the Athletic Department has to make tough financial decisions, but doesn’t it seem a little misplaced that this is the way they’d choose to cut costs? I mean, what’s wrestling cost per annum? Are they seriously telling us that there weren’t any other options?

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