Creighton Opts Not To Add Wrestling
But Creighton Athletic Director Bruce Rasmussen said the dollars and cents involved with adding wrestling “just doesn’t make sense at this time.”
Creighton was approached by members of the Omaha and national wrestling community, Rasmussen said, after UNO announced that its wrestling program, along with football, would be eliminated when the school moves from Division II to Division I next season.
Creighton officials discussed the costs of funding a wrestling program with other schools throughout the Midwest that offer wrestling. In the final analysis, Rasmussen said, the cost of integrating a wrestling program into Creighton’s athletic department cost too much.
“There are a lot of positives to adding wrestling, no question,” Rasmussen said. “Everything has positives and negatives, and you look at it and ask whether the positives outweigh the negatives. We just feel that the negatives at Creighton outweigh the positives.”
Rasmussen said the sport would be more attractive if Creighton was looking to replace one of its existing men’s programs that offer similar scholarship support with wrestling. But he said Creighton would not be interested in dropping either soccer or baseball to add wrestling.
“It would be much simpler if we were talking about replacing a sport, but we’re not interested in doing that,” he said. “When you’re talking about adding a men’s sport like wrestling, you’d probably be talking about adding a sport or sports on the women’s side.
“That would mean the addition of about 25 scholarships and about 75 athletes. You’d be adding coaches and support staff.
“Between scholarship and operating costs, it would be a couple million dollars a year for our athletic department.”
Rasmussen said adding 10 scholarship wrestlers would require Creighton to add 15 scholarships to the women’s side in order to maintain compliance with Title IX gender equity regulations. Another 10 to 15 non-scholarship wrestlers would probably be added, which then would require the addition of 25 to 30 nonscholarship female athletes.
Female students make up about 60 percent of Creighton’s undergraduate enrollment. Females receive about 59 percent of the school’s athletic aid, Rasmussen said, and female athletes make of about 57 percent of the total number of athletes on campus.
“To remain in compliance,” Rasmussen said, “a school at our level has to be within plus or minus 3 percent.”
Just adding a wrestling program, Rasmussen said, would require about $300,000 for operating costs and another $400,000 for scholarships.
“If you looked at wrestling as an island to itself, it would make a lot more sense to add wrestling,” he said. “But we can’t look at it that way.
“We have to look at it within the department and within the university,” Rasmussen added.
“If wrestling had no impact on anything else, it would be something we would very seriously look at. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it is.”