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St. Catharine College closes, taking mat program with it

It must be devastating for a college wrestler who has learned that your wrestling program has been given the axe. Now, imagine a situation where your school has announced it's being closed, taking its wrestling program with it.

That's the case with St. Catharine College and its NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) wrestling program. The tiny four-year college located southwest of Lexington, Kentucky announced earlier this month it was closing its doors for good in July. Just this week, newspapers headlines throughout the Bluegrass State trumpeted the news that Midway University was hiring coaches for men's sports programs at St. Catharine's.

Score one for wrestling, right? Not so fast.

Midway's offer is truly generous -- and groundbreaking, as the school situated halfway between Lexington and Louisville has been a women-only school until now. However, the offer only extends to St. Catharine's men's basketball, soccer and baseball coaches.

That leaves most other St. Catharine College athletes without a school. Not just wrestlers, but also men's bowling, cross country, golf, swimming, tennis and track ... as well as all athletes from all women's intercollegiate sports.

Why is St. Catharine College closing its doors after 85 years?

Officials at the school, located in Springfield, Kentucky in the heart of the Bluegrass, cited declining enrollment and unmanageable debt as the main causes for the decision made June 1.

St. Catharine's, a Roman Catholic school affiliated with the Dominican Sisters of Peace, have a $5 million deficit brought on by the construction of new residences halls, a health-sciences building, and a new library. Additionally, the college's dispute with the government over withheld student aid resulted in enrollment declining from 600 students to 475 for the fall 2016 semester.

Students at St. Catharine College are being offered "teach-out agreements" -- articulation agreements to allow students' college credits to easily transfer to other designated schools, along with tuition rates similar to what St. Catharine students have been paying. In addition to Midway University, other Kentucky-based schools involved in this program include Bellarmine University in Louisville, Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky State University in Frankfort and Kentucky Wesleyan in Owensboro. None of these schools offers intercollegiate wrestling.

There are three NAIA wrestling programs in the state of Kentucky: Campbellsville University in Campbellsville; Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia; and University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentucky.

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Chingadiculous (1) about 2 and a half years ago
Dagblasted Title IX isn't just taking away our wrestling programs, but now it is closing down schools?!