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Thread: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

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  1. #1

    Default Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    Front-page announcement at
    Quack Job: Oregon to cut wrestling, add baseball
    Rumored for over a month, it was officially announced on Friday that the University of Oregon will drop wrestling after the 2007-08 season and reinstate baseball. UO Athletics Director has openly stated his desire for the sport at Oregon, where he was named AD in February.

    Oregon to reinstate baseball, drop wrestling

    DATE: 7/13/2007 6:56:00 PM
    Eugene, OR
    University of Oregon
    Sports Information

    The University of Oregon will reinstate baseball as one of its intercollegiate programs following a 26-year absence, according to an announcement Friday by the school's Director of Athletics Pat Kilkenny.

    Kilkenny said that his decision was based in part upon the financial future of the Ducks' department of athletics as well as a growing interest in the sport on a national level and among University of Oregon constituents and alumni.

    He added that an aggressive timetable for bringing back baseball on an intercollegiate basis would include the hiring of a national caliber coaching staff no later than this fall, with Oregon to resume competition during the 2008-09 season.

    Oregon had remained as the only school in the Pacific-10 Conference without a baseball program since it was one of four sports eliminated following the 1980-81 season due to financial considerations. The other sports that were dropped at that time were men?s gymnastics as well as women's golf and soccer.

    Women's golf and soccer have since been reinstated and resumed competition in 1987 and 1996, respectively.

    Completing the athletics department reorganization, Kilkenny announced that the university would add the sport of varsity women's competitive cheer and discontinue its wrestling program following the 2007-08 season.

    Kilkenny emphasized that his decisions would not deter from the athletics department's mission to remain financially self-sufficient.

    "This is a time of mixed emotions for both myself and the University of Oregon," Kilkenny said. "I am obviously excited about the opportunity to return a piece of the proud tradition of intercollegiate athletics back to the university, as well as provide more opportunities for women in a sport that has demonstrated remarkable growth at the collegiate and high school levels. At the same time, it is unfortunate we are unable to be all things to all people.

    "As I've stated on more than one occasion, this decision was not part of my original directive handed down from President (Dave) Frohnmayer when I was appointed as athletics director. However I felt it was my responsibility to examine all facets of the athletics department and determine how we could improve its operation and fiscal efficiency. The changing landscape of collegiate athletics over the past decades has influenced me to come to the conclusion that these changes will be in the best interest of the future of the university."

    Kilkenny said that the contracts of head wrestling coach Chuck Kearney, who has completed nine seasons at the helm of the program, as well as assistant coaches Rick Stewart and Jason Powell, would be honored through June 30, 2008. In addition, the 17 wrestlers expected to be on scholarship for the coming year will be provided the following options: they will be allowed to compete at Oregon during the 2007-08 season under their current grant-in-aid status and then be allowed to transfer to another school, where they would be immediately eligible under NCAA guidelines; they will be given the opportunity to continue their education at Oregon after the 2007-08 season while retaining their current financial aid obligations through their remaining years of eligibility; or they would be given their release to transfer to another school immediately before the start of the 2007-08 season.

    "The first intercollegiate sporting event played on the University of Oregon campus was a baseball game back in 1877; just one year after the UO was established," said University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer. "It is especially fitting that Pat has decided to bring baseball back to the University of Oregon on the 130th anniversary of that first game."

    It is anticipated that the baseball budget in its first year of competition would exceed $710,000, which would increase to more than $869,000 four years later when the program would grant the maximum number of allowable scholarships. The number of scholarships provided will be gradually implemented over a four-year period until the NCAA's maximum number of 11.7 scholarships is in place for the start of the 2011-12 season.

    As part of the process, the university will develop plans to provide a solution for a permanent facility where its baseball team will play. Facility decisions regarding where the team will play in the meantime will be made with input from the new coaching staff.

    Oregon also will begin competition in competitive cheer in 2008-09, with the addition of the program marking the third intercollegiate women's sport to be added in the last 11 years. In addition to soccer in 1996-97, the university began competition in women?s lacrosse in 2004-05.

    Although its championships are not currently governed by the NCAA, competitive cheer's schedules will consist of approximately eight to 10 annual competitions, culminating with a national championship in April.

    The average squad size consists of approximately 35 women and will be entirely separate from Oregon's spirit squad that performs at its football and basketball games. A search for a coaching staff will be conducted, with an anticipated budget of approximately $500,000 needed to cover scholarships, coaching salaries and operations by 2011-12.

    The national championships in the sport are sponsored by the National Cheerleading Association, with 250 colleges and universities taking part in the 2007 championships in Daytona Beach, Fla. Included were 40 schools in the all-women Division I bracket.

    "I applaud Pat Kilkenny and the University of Oregon on their decision to add competitive cheer as a varsity sport," said University of Maryland director of athletics Deborah A. Yow, whose four-year-old varsity program has captured the past two championships of the National Cheerleading Association Division I competition. "This decision positions Oregon athletics on the leading edge of an emerging, national trend for women in athletics.

    "Competitive cheer is a sport with a remarkable upside, as the participation rates at the youth, all-star and high school levels attest.

    "When we launched our program in 2003, competitive cheer was already the ninth-most popular high school sport for girls; today, just four years later, it ranks as the fastest growing girls' sport at the prep level. Those are facts one can't dismiss when selecting a sport to add."

    A 2005-06 study released by the National Federation of State High School Associations reported that competitive spirit squads represented the largest increase in high school female participants nationwide from one year to the next compared to any other sport, with an increase of 14,154 athletes.

    "As we discovered after starting our program, the response to Oregon's decision by young girls involved in the sport and their parents will be overwhelmingly positive," Yow added. "I fully expect today's announcement to provide a significant momentum boost to all levels of competitive cheer, but particularly in the collegiate ranks, where our goals include securing emerging-sport status from the NCAA. We congratulate UO on its decision, and welcome the Ducks to varsity competitive cheer."

    The financial impact of the reorganization is estimated to add $300,000 to the athletics department's 2007-08 budget, which would result in a net increase of approximately $500,000 in 2011-12 in the first year that both new programs would be fully funded and all wrestling commitments would be fulfilled.
    Last edited by Schlottke; 07-14-2007 at 10:20 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    i have an issue with replacing a sport like wrestling for baseball yet keeping women's golf...dont' start with me about your Title IX bullshit either because you know where you can stick that...women's sports have done more to kill college athletics than any athletic director on his own could ever can't even really be a spectator at a women's golf event...i played competitive golf throughout highschool on a pretty good team and we never had spectators, i can't imagine that Oregon's Women's golf team draws a crowd of any meaning...there needs to be some sanity in this title IX argument as they are basically just giving away revenue to keep a sport like women's golf that is completely expense related and getting rid of at least an offsetting costs sport like wrestling or in the case of a very good wrestling program, a revenue generating sport....

    i know that is not going to be a popular response but if you want some honesty on this blog, there you go....
    Last edited by goferphan; 07-14-2007 at 09:59 AM. Reason: spelling...
    "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak."

  3. #3

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    FOOTBALL has done more to kill men's sports. You can add women's sports, take away ten football schollies (from their 75) and you'd have a wrestling team. There is a way for wrestling, gymnastics, etc. to co-exist with a thriving women's program - it just takes a smart administration.

    And yes-I'm well aware of the money football generates. The FB coach at the high school I used to work at would like to turn on and off the lights to show me football's effects. But football can have its effect with on a program without cutting a sport. Oregon is taking the easy way out.

  4. #4
    Olympic Champ therick's Avatar
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    Apr 2007
    Columbus, Ohio

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    I'm a little confused as to how it makes financial sense to add baseball and cut wrestling.

    1) a fully funded wrestling program has 9.9 grants-in-aid, while a fully funded baseball program has 11.7. For title IX consideration..Oregon State had 42 guys on roster last year for baseball. OU wrestling had 23 on roster. Which may explain the addition of cheerleading and the 35 roster spots it has.
    2) they'll now have to build and maintain a baseball diamond, buy bats, balls, uniforms shouldn't be a problem with the Nike connections. They already own wrestling mats and the maintenance of wrestling mats and a room is far less than that of bleachers, clay, grass, fencing, etc.
    3) baseball generally requires more travel expenses with the larger number of competitors (at least 15 and up to 20 including relief pitchers) than wrestling. Oregon State had 36 days of away games last year in baseball(not including the post season tournament because OU won't have to worry about that for a long time) in places as far away from Oregon as Georgia, Hawaii, Texas, and Virginia. Oregon's wrestling team had 18 days of away competition including pac-10's and NCAAs. The wrestling team traveled to far off places like Oklahoma and Indiana. They had 9 events inside the state of Oregon including the 5 home meets.

    I fear that OU is trying to jump on the bandwagon of OSU's back to back national titles. The problem being that every kid on the west coast with any talent and especially those in the state of Oregon is going to choose the established winner in OSU over OU. They'll be recruiting against pac-10 powers like OSU, USC, ASU, Stanford, and Arizona, as well as west coast powers like Cal St Fullerton, UC Urvine, Long Beach St., San Diego St, UC Riverside, etc. They'll lose tons of money, have no fans and few wins for years.

    None of which makes financial sense.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    I fear that OU is trying to jump on the bandwagon of OSU's back to back national titles.

    I was wondering the same thing.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    BTW, Bluestater, I read my comments from the previous message. It didn't come across very nice, I apologize for that. I just don't think you can look at athletics as so black and white and 50/50. Now I do think that every boy and every girl growing up should be exposed to sports. But what happens naturally as girls and boys get older is that it appears that more boys stay with sports as a percentage, I could be wrong. That being said then, if 60% of boys are still playing sports by the time they are seniors in highschool and 40% of girls are playing sports by then, why would we take Title IX into the college level and make it so 50/50. I think the dollars spent should happen at the elementary and highschool level so that if more girls were staying with sports through highschool that it would make sense that colleges would then have to spend their budgets equally on scholarships etc.

    I don't know...I haven't had enough beer to figure this one out yet.
    "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak."

  7. #7

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    Gofer -

    chicken or egg? Are fewer girls participating as they get older because they have traditionally had fewer opportunities as they advance? The statistics would show that as opportunities increase, girls participation increases... Title IX does not require schools to drop sports. Dropping sports is the easy escape from hard financial decisions (or sometimes an easy way to get rid of problem coaches). Football and basketball expenses are out of control. I understand better than most that these sports have the best potential for revenue by far, but the reality is that very few programs actually do make revenue (especially if you don't count student fee or other school subsidies as revenue as most schools do). I just don't by the "it's natural" argument, there have been far to many environmental factors that have had a huge impact on female participation. I'm still buying the nuture over nature argument...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    touche' i said above, spend the dollars on gender equity sports when they are young...if exposed equally to sports (gym class, middle school, highschool) then if participation is equal, then I see your issue really is that there are alot of sports out there that are truly "club" sports that are getting funded at large and small universities...that is costing quite a bit of money...if wrestling is one of those sports that should be a club sport then so be it...that being said, wrestling as a club sport is a losing game because it requires too much sacrifice on the participant...i wrestled one year of DIII and said, "No thank you" It was a glorified club sport with only travel and uniforms covered.

    I agree that large schools with successful football and basketball programs piss away their money and are rarely treated like real businesses. If Ohio State University was a business, its stock would be pretty low. They always tend to spend what they earn in revenue. Very little profit.

    Again, I just hate to see women's golf stay while wrestling folds...look for sports that require physical fitness in the future to get increasing funding as our youth continue to get more and more out of shape...if schools would push these sports and then fund them through highschool, you might see a trend of positive physical fitness in our addition, wrestlers tend to make great transitions into military careers and/or coaching/teachers. Would we not want to reinforce such a great pipeline of talent in our youth? I know we are all wrestling fans here so it is an easier sell on this forum.

    I will continue to be vocal about these things when the opportunity arises but I will try to tone down the Title IX defense. It is a little too late for that I suppose. I tend to have a true capitalist view on things and I am trying to be a little bit more open to equal opportunity but I hate to see a sport like wrestling suffer at the hands of ignorant AD's and University Presidents. When was the last time that you saw an AD who had exposure to the wrestling program growing up pull that sport? I can't recall. Can you imagine being the University President and trying to tell and Asst. AD Dan Gable that he is going to lose his wrestling program? I would love to be a fly on the wall in that room.
    "Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until they speak."

  9. #9

    Default Re: Oregon Kills Wrestling, Replaces It With Baseball

    First college athletics is not a business, although it may often appear that way. Their purpose is not to generate profit, their purpose is to spend all the revenue they bring in. If they don't it is often taken away and who in their right mind wouldn't spend the money on themselves... All college athletic departments would operate very differently (and most would not even exist) if they had to operate on business principles.

    Second, it's not just the successful football and basketball schools that exhibit poor fiscal management. I would make the argument in reverse. It's the schools that do not have elite football and basketball programs that misuse their money the most because the way the NCAA's fiscal structure is set up, the only possible return on investment is from those two sports and schools are constantly trying to get that return and become one of those elite schools so they continually throw more and more money into those sports. The reality is that every Division I school thinks it can become one of those elite schools if they just spend more money on football and basketball, with very few exceptions. Look at James Madison. Instead of funding a well rounded program, they continually throw money into their I-AA football program (which will never generate revenue) because their coach continually talks about wanting to go I-A. The James Madison situation is completely the AD's choice about how he wants to distribute his funds in his budget. He has made the choice to invest in football and basketball and not the Olympic sports he cut.

    Third, I don't disagree that participation needs to start early and we need to address opportunities at a much younger age for girls, but at the same time girls need role models as well. The reality is the government cannot control youth opportunities, but they can control who they distribute federal funds to so the schools are the only available venue to address these issues.

    Last, the reality is we cannot sit back and rely on AD's and other administrators who likely do not have a wrestling background to save our sport. We need to put our money where our mouth is before our programs get in trouble and provide enough financial support for our programs so that wrestling is never even considered to be put on the table in times of financial crisis.

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