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Post Rasslin’ at Georgia?

Friday March 16, 2007

The Banner-Herald reports that some Georgia legislators are trying to use legislative pressure to revive intercollegiate wrestling programs in the state. The University of Georgia dropped its program in 1980, and Georgia State in 1998 was the last state school to drop its program.

Republican state Senator Seth Harp of Midland is behind the effort. He says,

"We’ve had a number of people who made inquires about having a wrestling program. We’re losing some very fine students to out-of-state schools."

That might be true, but I’d be a lot more concerned about the "very fine students" who are leaving the state because of the quality of Georgia public higher education rather than the availability of a wrestling program.

The Macho Man
Possible co-ed wrestling team

Look, I have nothing against Georgia colleges having a wrestling program. Georgia has a strong high school program. There are lots of other sports I’d like to see added too. We just have a few realities to face:

  • Funding. The University of Georgia’s athletic association is in the black, but it’s an exception. Tech is struggling and working through financial issues. Other state colleges can’t be raking in the cash. How do these legislators propose we fund these programs?
  • Title IX. This is really the big gorilla in the room. There aren’t many schools who don’t struggle with the requirements of Title IX. Few schools are totally compliant, and even those who come close do so with a careful balancing act. UGA’s recent addition of a large equestrian program was surely motivated with an eye towards increasing the number of female student-athletes. In a nod to the Missouri Compromise, schools attempting to keep the balance required by Title IX can’t add scholarships for male athletes without adding them for females. No, that doesn’t mean a female wrestling program or a coed program; it means that adding wrestling would probably have to come hand-in-hand with another female sport. So the funding problem is now a problem times two.

Sen. Harp can’t be all bad; he’s a driving force behind reforming the remaining Blue Laws, and I support him completely on that issue. He just needs to think this wrestling thing through a bit. "Coach Goldberg" doesn’t sound too bad though.

One Response to 'Rasslin’ at Georgia?'

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  • Obviously the answer to the problem would be to have the sport revived as a womens sport. I’ve seen many a hefty honey who could hold her own against the best the men could bring. I’m sure there are many ladies who would be proud for the chance at a college scholarship.

    And while we’re at it, why not make it womens mud wrestling? Kentucky is far enough north not to want to participate, but I’m sure the eleven other schools could field competitive teams.

    True, new venues would have to be built, but like football, they could be small at the beginning and expanded as the sport catches the attention of the fans. Remember how small the original NASCAR crowds were?

    Just a thought, and tongue in cheek, but we need to look at unfunded mandates from the legislature with a wary eye.