GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – Limestone University announced on Tuesday its intention to discontinue its women’s wrestling program just four years after its inception, as well as a decision to end theatre and short-term study abroad programs at the university.
The school said the decisions were a cost saving measure.
“We are deeply saddened to have to make this decision in regard to our women’s wrestling program, but it was made in best interests of the athletics program and the University as a whole,” said Hailey Martin, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. “We certainly do not want to decrease opportunities for young women to compete and represent Limestone, so that made this is a very difficult decision, but we must adjust operations to meet the market demands in athletics nationwide.”
Limestone University announced its women’s wrestling program in 2018. The team began competing in 2019 and quickly found success.
Limestone had seven athletes qualify to compete in the 2023 National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships last month in Cedar Rapids, IA. The Limestone University women’s wrestling team placed fourth at the 2023 NCWWC Region II Championships held in Bristol, TN in February. In addition, head coach Brandy Green was named the NCWWC 2023 Region II Coach of the Year.
The National Wrestling coaches Association said on Wednesday it is aware of Limestone’s decision to dissolve the team and is “deeply concerned” about the impact the decision will have on the student athletes.
“As an organization committed to promoting and developing wrestling at all levels, the NWCA is working to connect with members of the Limestone University administration to understand the reasons behind the decision and explore possible solutions to reverse it. We believe that women’s wrestling is an important part of the wrestling community, and we are committed to supporting it in any way we can,” the organization said in a statement on its website.
Under NCAA rules, student athletes impacted by the discontinuation of a sport can be immediately eligible to compete if they transfer to another institution.
“We will continue to support these wonderful students who are part of our University,” said Limestone’s Interim President Dr. Monica Baloga. “Scholarships will certainly be honored for those young women who choose to remain at Limestone. We are well aware, of course, that many will want to continue to pursue their wrestling careers at other institutions, so our campus community will work diligently to assist with their transitions.”