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SIUE Plans to Discontinue Wrestling

November 27, 2002

         In response to an unanticipated budget shortfall in the intercollegiate athletics program due to revenue cuts, recent increases in the cost of health care insurance, and an increase in board costs for student-athletes, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville will discontinue the sport of wrestling. This action will take effect at the end of the 2002-2003 season.
         "This was not an easy decision," said SIUE Director of Athletics Brad Hewitt, "but it is the most prudent financial decision. In keeping with the University's Vision Statement, Intercollegiate Athletics' prime ambition is to be recognized nationally for the excellence in its programs," said Hewitt. We considered many options, including across-the-board cuts and the opportunity for additional revenues sources, and decided that discontinuing the wrestling program was the most realistic option, consistent with the our guiding principles and strategic plan."
         Hewitt said SIUE's Intercollegiate Athletic Committee (ICAC), an 11-member advisory panel made up of nine staff and faculty members and two SIUE students, assisted in the identification and analysis of the viability of each of the University's 15 sports. This analysis looked at several facets, including the University's affiliation with the Great Lakes Valley Conference, participation levels at NCAA Division II institutions and state of Illinois high schools, overall academic performance of the sport's student-athletes, media interest, community involvement, facility conditions, and recent success.
         Hewitt, who estimated the annual budget shortfall at $110,000, said other options such as a dramatic increase in student fees or seeking additional recurring state support did not receive constituent support because of these difficult financial times.
         Hewitt said each student-athlete on the wrestling team currently receiving athletic aid would have their current level of aid continued through graduation with the expectation they make progress toward a degree.
                  -siue cougars-