April 2017: A dark time for collegiate wrestling in the northwest U.S. -- and beyond -- as Boise State University announced it would eliminate its successful intercollegiate wrestling program ... effective immediately. All to focus its intercollegiate sports resources on its men's baseball program.
Now, this past Fourth of July holiday weekend, Boise State got out its hatchet again ... taking its axe to its swimming, diving and baseball programs. All part of a $3 million budget cut to the Broncho athletics programs, effective immediately.
"After reviewing the budget and issues based on COVID-19, the department announced the move, to set themselves up better for the long-term," according to the initial report from KMVT/KSVT of Twin Falls, Idaho.
Normally, InterMat would not bother mentioning the passing of a college sports program that didn't involve wrestling mats, singlets or headgear. However, because the nation's wrestling community was actively involved in efforts of save BSU Bronchos mat program, we figured the least we could do is provide an update of some of the basics of what happened since the news back in April 2017.
The basics of rebuilding Boise State's baseball program
Here's how the Idaho Statesman recapped the return of the Boise State baseball program: "This spring, the Broncho baseball team took the field in regular season games for the first time since it was disbanded in 1980. In 2017, the university dropped wrestling to pursue baseball, and the Broncos went 9-5 this year before coronavirus forced the cancellation of the remainder of the season."
The article went on to state, "Players on the baseball team said the decision came as a shock, and no matter how the news was delivered, it was tough to hear."
"Expenses for the swim and dive team in 2019 totaled $917,283, according to documents obtained by the Statesman through a public records request."
"Going off (BSU Athletic Director Curt) Apsey's $2.2 million figure, the baseball team's expenses were somewhere around $1.3 million, and those costs were likely to grow, given the sheer number of games in a season and the plans to build a stadium."
Most of the athletes in the baseball, swimming and diving programs at Boise State were told the bad news in Zoom calls on Thursday, July 3. "To add insult to injury, they were also told to not bother trying to drum up funds to keep the team afloat. So, now as most of the team have reluctantly placed their names in the transfer portal (first baseman Joey Yorke has already found a new home at Cal Poly) the team is throwing a hail Mary (or the baseball equivalent) to try to save the team."
"Of course, the swimming and diving team was put on the chopping block as well and have also decided they'd rather not go down without a fight. As of last night, KTVB's Jay Tust reported that they've already rallied over $120k in 24 hours to save both the beloved squads and have almost another $25k in pledges."
Sounds all too familiar for too many of us.
Wrestling gets the ax in April 2017
Here's the initial news report at InterMat on April 18, 2017, about Boise State dropping the hammer on its Broncho wrestling program:
Boise State announced on Tuesday that it will no longer offer wrestling as an intercollegiate sport. According to the school, "The move was made to better align its programs with the Mountain West, and with the intent to add baseball in the future."
"This was not an easy decision, but one that needed to be made as we consider the long-term vision for Bronco athletics," said Director of Athletics Curt Apsey. "We will continue to honor the scholarships we provide our student-athletes, and will do all we can to help those who want to continue their collegiate wrestling careers elsewhere.
"Additionally, current coaching contracts will be honored."
Wrestlers are free to transfer, and the school will help them with that process. Scholarships will be honored for those that wish to remain at Boise State.
Boise State has a strong wrestling tradition. The Broncos have won six conference team championships. The program has had 12 top-20 NCAA team finishes and five top-10 NCAA team finishes.
Boise State finished 2-9 in dual meets this past season and fifth at the Pac-12 Championships.