NORFOLK (WAVY) — Old Dominion University announced on Thursday that it has discontinued its varsity wrestling program, effective immediately.
Currently enrolled students will retain their scholarships through the completion of their fourth academic year if they remain at ODU.
Per NCAA rules, the students can be immediately eligible if they transfer to another institution under these circumstances.
The students that signed National Letters of Intent for the 2020-21 year will retain scholarships for the upcoming year if they enroll at ODU.
There are 32 students in the program currently, seven of which are seniors.
“We are saddened to have to make this decision, but it’s one that was made with the long-term best interest of the athletics program in mind,” said director of athletics Dr. Camden Wood Selig.
“No one wants to reduce opportunities for young men to compete and represent Old Dominion, but we are required to be responsible with departmental resources.
Our decision became even more clear during this coronavirus crisis, which we know will have significant impact on future athletics budgets.
This decision will better allow the remaining sports to compete at a national level.”
A six month study conducted by the university made the recommendation to discontinue the sport.
Once completely implemented, it is estimated that athletics will have an expense savings of approximately $1 million.
Steve Martin had been ODU’s wrestling coach for the past 16 seasons.
“I would like to thank President Broderick and Wood Selig for the support of the wrestling program over my 16-year career at ODU,” said Martin. “I understand these are challenging times for everyone, not only in athletics, but in every walk of life.”
ODU has sponsored wrestling since the 1957-58 season.
With the change, ODU will sponsor 16 NCAA sports, nine for women and seven for men, in addition to the non-NCAA sport of women’s and coed sailing.
This includes women’s volleyball, which will begin its first season at ODU in the fall. NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision programs are required to sponsor at least 16 sports.