Aug. 23, 2010

Courtesy of Fullerton Athletics

FULLERTON, Calif. -
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.

All eight pre-existing scholarships will be honored until the student-athletes' eligibility would have expired. Wrestlers who wish to transfer to other schools will be given blanket releases.

"It is with great sadness that we must eliminate a great Olympic sport that has a long history at Cal State Fullerton," said Director of Athletics Brian Quinn. "Due to severe budget cuts in the CSU system and the large increases in the costs of an athletic scholarship, we have not replaced full-time staff members who have left and have found it necessary to look at eliminating programs.

"Unfortunately, we just do not have the resources to continue a sport that is not sponsored by the Big West Conference. Fullerton and Cal Poly are the only Big West schools sponsoring wrestling and must compete in the Pac-10 Conference. Wrestling has seen dramatic reductions in its numbers across the country. There are only seven schools in California still competing in wrestling and only a handful of others west of the Rockies. Oregon, Fresno State, Portland State and UC Davis all found it necessary to drop the sport in the past few years and Arizona State and Cal State Bakersfield's programs have also been in jeopardy. We kept trying to find ways to continue the sport, even after numerous recommendations that we needed to stop funding the program.

"We want to thank Coaches Dan Hicks and Risto Marttinen for their dedication and hard work for the student-athletes. We also want to thank our many donors for their support in helping keep the program over the past few years."

Wrestling dates to 1968 at Cal State Fullerton. Hicks, who arrived from Oregon State in 2002-03, is only the fourth head coach in the program's history. The Titans never won a team championship but boast 31 conference champions, 12 Div. I and 3 Div. II All-Americans and 87 NCAA Div. I national qualifiers including at least one in each of the last 26 seasons.