It's football season and one thing is for sure. A lot of wrestling fans are also football fans, & for many reasons, that's a good thing. In a lot of ways football has been good to wrestling and wrestling has been good to football. Yet it's funny to me that while amateur wrestling fans have an easy time finding the negative in professional wrestling and consistently complain about basketball, they either forget or they're just plain ignorant to the fact that the relationship between wrestling and football is love/hate. Yes, love/hate. I can name you wrestling programs that were started because of football. Football has been a friend to wrestling in many ways, but guess what? It's also been an enemy.
A rule of thumb that I always use is, only cheer for a football program that has wrestling. That's me personally. If someone is gonna cheer a football team where the school doesn't have wrestling, I'd rather it be a school that never had wrestling Vs a school that at one time had wrestling. Again, that's just me.
But you know what? I'll treat my subjectivity, objectively for a moment.
You should NEVER cheer for/support a football program, that is the reason why a wrestling program doesn't exist at a school.
There have been schools that have dropped wrestling because of football and here they are.
|Alabama Crimson Tide|
Honestly you should never cheer Crimson Tide Football if you're a wrestling fan. As you read further, you'll understand the context of my next sentence. Essentially Bear Bryant (Athletic Director and Football Coach at the time) took Charlie Pell's example and followed in suit by eliminating wrestling to free up monies, space and resources for the football program. It wasn't as detailed as it was at Florida or at Auburn, but with all of the false information out there blaming Title IX, it's about time the record was set straight. Alabama wrestling ended because of Bear Bryant & that led to the eventual death of SEC wrestling.
Here's where it gets complicated. In the late 70's Title IX was an issue at the University of Florida. There's no denying that. The Gators were in trouble with being in compliance with proportionality quotas. Yet, here's the catch you really need to pay attention to. Charlie Pell (Football coach and athletic director) figured out something about meeting quotas. They were as easily met through subtraction as they were through addition. In other words numbers can be met through subtracting wrestling as easily as they can be through adding a sport for women. Pell is said to have walked through the wrestling room, made it clear that it would make a fantastic training facility for football program and then shortly thereafter announced the discontinuation of wrestling. It should also be noted that in the 1979-1980 football season, scholarship money increased. Mats removed, turned into a training facility and scholarship money increase? That's all I need to know to never cheer Florida Football.
UCLA wrestling was just coming into it's prime. In 1979 they crowned their first NCAA Champion and in 1980 they sent 5 to the NCAA tournament, crowning 2 All Americans. The future looked bright for Bruin wrestling. Here's why it all came to an end.
Bob Fischer had just been hired as Athletic Director. He wanted UCLA to be a championship football program. Along with Football coach Terry Donahue, he felt that one of the reasons why UCLA was struggling to get better football recruits was due to lack of space on campus for them. He wanted them to have bigger dorms & more space. There wasn't a lot of space to build anything new, something had to be eliminated. The wrestling team took up space in the dorms, and the wrestling room could easily be gutted and made useful for the football program. So as the 1979-1980 season came to an end, Fischer announced that there was no longer enough space on campus for a wrestling program and away it went. A wrestling program that had existed for over 50 years, suddenly took up too much space. For what it's worth, UCLA won the 1983 PAC-12 championship along with Rose Bowl victories in 1983, 1984 and 1986.
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
Now I might not have convinced you to stop cheering for Alabama, Florida, Auburn or UCLA football, but it doesn't get any worse than what it does for Notre Dame. How anyone can know the story I'm about to share with you and still cheer Notre Dame Football while calling themselves a wrestling fan is beyond me. It's like being best friends with Ron Goldman and still thinking O.J. Simpson is a great man. It just doesn't make sense.
Bucky O'Connor, who for the record did play football at Notre Dame in the 40's, was a multimillionaire in the oil business who had a son named Pat, who wrestled at Notre Dame. During the summer in between semesters Pat was murdered while visiting overseas. Bucky set up a permanent endowment in Pat's honor that was to specifically set up to make sure that Notre Dame Fighting Irish wrestling would always be around.
Let me make two things very, very clear before I got on. A - Notre Dame had faced Title IX compliancy issues going back to the late 80's. B - Bucky O'Connor died in 1991.
Why are those two facts important?
Because when Dick Rosenthal announced the end of Notre Dame Wrestling shortly after O'Connor's death in early 1992, he lay all of the blame on Title IX. Coincidence? I don't think so.
On top of it administrators went to the widow of a recently deceased man, whose son had been murdered and coaxed her into allowing Notre Dame to continue to receive monies from the Pat O'Connor fund for other purposes.
To this day the Pat O'Connor endowment helps pay for Notre Dame athletics. That money, that blood money, is still used. Money that was specifically meant for wrestling. How anyone can know that fact and not be sick to their stomach is beyond me.
So love football! There's plenty of other programs to cheer for. Or if you must, cheer for these 5 teams. I sure wouldn't, but in the least I want you to be aware that wrestling once existed at these schools and it no longer does because of greedy football coaches and/or athletic directors that wanted to free up space, monies and resources for the football programs.