Columbia University announced it has suspended its Lions wrestling program
Columbia University announced it has suspended its Lions wrestling program for the season, after obscene and racist text messages allegedly posted by senior team members over the past two years were revealed late last week.
On Monday, Columbia released a statement saying that the university's athletic department "has decided that Columbia wrestlers will not compete until we have a full understanding of the facts on which to base the official response to this disturbing matter."
Columbia, which describes itself as the nation's oldest intercollegiate wrestling program (having been founded in 1903), withdrew from this weekend's Bearcat Open in Binghamton, N.Y. The Lions' next scheduled event had been the New York State Championships at Cornell University slated for next Sunday.
Zach Tanelli, Columbia's wrestling coach, and Peter Pilling, the university's athletic director, have not been made available for interviews, according to the New York Times.
University officials are investigating text messages sent by team members that included racist, misogynistic and homophobic terms. Screengrabs of the texts were first published last Thursday by Bwog, an independent, student-run Columbia news website affiliated with the Blue and White Magazine. The first texts were sent in 2014, with some having been sent as recently as last week, allegedly by wrestling team members who are now seniors via the messaging app GroupMe.