California USA Wrestling donates 20 000 to aid in recovering UC Davis program

By Melissa Ingram | June 23, 2010, 9:46 p.m. (ET)
California USA Wrestling Inc. announced today that they have joined forces with the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) to help financially support the fight to reinstate the University of California, Davis wrestling program. The California USA Wrestling Board of Directors recently donated $20,000 to the cause.

Duane Morgan, State Chair for California USA Wrestling, had this to say, "Wrestling programs throughout the State of California have taken a big hit over the past six months. Due to the elimination of the UC Davis wrestling program, the student-athletes are essentially left with no options to stay within the state and wrestle at the Division 1 level. We chose to partner with the NWCA in an effort to help formulate a plan that not only translates into the reinstatement of the wresting program at UC Davis, but that also serves as a long term solution for the remaining college wrestling programs in California."

In April, UC Davis abruptly announced that they were eliminating the wrestling program, and three other intercollegiate sports programs, effective July 1, 2010. The $20,000 donation made to the NWCA, by the California USA Wrestling Board of Directors is an effort to help sustain an ongoing attempt to reinstate the UC Davis Wrestling program, and to help maintain existing Division 1 wrestling programs in the state of California.

UC Davis head wrestling coach, Lennie Zalesky, issued a public statement within hours of the announcement stating that the wrestling program had been eliminated. According to Zalesky, in the fall of 2009, he was informed by personnel at the University, that no matter what may come to be, football and wrestling were safe at UC Davis, yet the wrestling program was cut without any notice to the student body, student- athletes, coaching staff or coach Zalesky. Further, UC students were not allowed to attend the press conference announcing the elimination of the programs.

According to Chancellor Linda Katehi, dropping athletics teams and losing opportunities for student-athletes is regrettable but necessary. However, neither Chancellor Katehi nor Athletic Director Greg Warzecka ever discussed the prospect of eliminating the sports programs with the students, student-athletes or the coaching staff, despite the fact that the sports programs are largely funded from self-imposed student fees.

Mike Moyer, the president of the NWCA, feels that despite the financial situation California continually finds itself in, solutions may be better found with the active involvement of all parties. Moyer stated, "To purposely ignore the student body, student-athletes and the coaching staff, and to ignore the student initiative, in which the student body agreed to a self imposed fee for sports programs, are disrespectful and irresponsible."

Moyer also expressed his gratitude to California USA Wrestling, "The NWCA would like to personally thank Duane Morgan and the entire California USA Wrestling Board of Directors for their support. Their financial contribution is a testament to their continuous resolve to protect the interests of the wrestling community in California."

The UC Davis wrestling program had the second highest fund-raising numbers (behind football) over the last three years (averaging $65,000/year), the highest alumni/donor support, and one of the most profitable per contest gates of any sport at UC Davis. This specific criterion was supposed to be examined when determining which programs to retain. The elimination of the UC Davis sports programs, which includes wrestling, as well as men's and women's swimming, currently effects 73 female and 80 male student-athletes.

About California USA Wrestling Inc.
California USA Wrestling, Inc., (CA-USAW) is a non-profit corporation that promotes amateur wrestling in many forms to Californians of all ages. California Wrestling is an affiliate of USA Wrestling in Colorado Springs, the national governing body for international-style amateur wrestling in the United States. They are the designated representatives for USA Wrestling in the State of California. CA-USAW educates the California public in both collegiate and international wrestling styles. In addition, the organization conducts and sponsors well-planned wrestling activities, including wrestling camps, clinics and tournaments, and other related programs in order to improve the quality of California wrestling at all competitive levels.

About The National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a professional organization dedicated to serve and provide leadership for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on scholastic and collegiate wrestling programs. The membership embraces all people who are interested in amateur wrestling. The NWCA, through its organizational structure, promotes communication, recognition achievement, recommends rules and regulations, sponsors events and serves as an educational and informational source. Additionally, the NWCA strives to foster the sportsmanship and integrity that are the cornerstones of athletic competition.