Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An alumnus’ plea to save BU Wrestling

I am writing this letter to thank The Daily Free Press and the student body for their support of the wrestling program in our time of need, and also to outline why we need your continued support. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the university’s administration to mount a compelling defense of their decision to discontinue the wrestling program on the grounds that the “team is mediocre,” as suggested by Athletic Director Mike Lynch. With the ongoing support of the student populace serving as our backbone, this fight is not yet over.

As a current educational administrator in the Mount Pleasant Cottage School UFSD, I am able to empathize with the dilemma faced by the board of directors at BU. Even if they acknowledge that they initially acted with haste, they fear the ramifications of backtracking. Such menial consequences stand in the way of doing what we all know to be correct. The powers have backed themselves into a corner and will now blindly carry out their plan, unless pursued to do otherwise. For this reason, it falls on you, the students, to convince an administrator to have the courage to ask his or her colleagues to swallow their pride and reexamine a decision that should have never been made in the first place.
If we are able to reopen these proceedings, the reexamining process will uncover a wealth of evidence that undeniably proves that Coach Carl Adams and his program is anything but mediocre, despite receiving only a minimum level of support from our athletic director.
As a member of the wrestling team from 2000 to 2004, I have witnessed events that should be not be labeled as mediocre. A microcosm of all of these remarkable acts of hard work and determination occurred during the 2003-2004 season. Jose Leon was a redshirt senior and our captain who tore his ACL in early November. In any sport at any level, the severity of this injury would be season ending, and would require a year before returning to competition.  Jose, on the other hand, would refuse to accept this fate. He had his surgery and attacked his rehab, even when doctors advised him against it. Even with experts telling him that a comeback from this injury was impossible, he not only returned, but also thrived, advancing to conference finals and qualified for the NCAA Tournament. What Jose accomplished that year might not have gotten any media attention, but it is the most remarkable thing I have ever seen in sports.

Jose’s story perfectly captures the profile of a Boston University Wrestler: a hardworking, determined student-athlete who competes for the love of the sport. I encourage The Daily Free Press and the student body to ask our administration if this the type of student that BU can afford to lose? And, how does the university benefit by dropping the wrestling program? If you are an administrator reading this letter, I implore you to have the courage to ask your colleagues the same questions.
I specifically challenge Dean Kenneth Elmore to choose to do something great for the BU Community. The BU wrestling family does not need you to jump in the Charles River or ask the alumni for a billion dollars, but rather to be an individual of merit and honor, a selfless person with the courage to take a stand and speak out against an injustice.

In closing, I would like to again thank you, The Daily Free Press and the student body for your tireless support of my wrestling brothers.

 

Stephen Beovich is a 2004 SMG graduate, and a BU Wrestling alumni. 

3 Comments

  1. I am a former wrestler, both high school and college. I also coached at the high school level. To even try to describe what affect wrestling has had on my life is impossible. I played other sports, but the most life altering event in my life is when I decided to listen to a coach in the hallway of my high school about coming out for wrestling. Now we are not talking here about high school athletes, these are college athletes, but the affect that wrestling has on their lives is profound. I realize this is probably an economic decision, but there has to be another way of handling whatever the problem is with the program other than dropping it. Wrestlers don’t take the easy way out and I don’t expect college administrators to either.

  2. Thanks for your support Gary! We were never given a full explanation on why we are being dropped and the athletic director Mike Lynch (@BU_AD_MLynch) will not answer media requests. I have sent my letter directly to Dean Elmore (@DeanElmore) and hoping for a response!

  3. I have seen the impact this sport has on young athletes, and know the impact it had on me growing up. I am an advocate of all sports, but believe none teach a person the level of discipline, self-reliance, and work ethic that wrestling does. This why I am now working with an organization called Boston Youth Wrestling, to grow the sport in this city. I can tell you from experience that the sport is growing, and the youth in our program, who have attended BU matches, aspire to reach this level of competition one day.

    Coach Adams has built a tremendous program, without the same financial and moral support of the athletic department/administration that most of their competitors have. While they can’t compete with the giants of the sport (penn state, Iowa, etc) this team finished in 10th place in a very competitive conference of 18 teams, and sent three of ten weights to the ncaa tournament this year. One of those athletes, Nestor Taffur, was a conference champion and one match away from an All-American. Given the lack of support from the school, this sort of performance is pretty extraordinary.

    More importantly, coach Adams and coach Harrington are helping to mold not only quality athletes, but quality people. Most of the team-members have recently volunteered their time to help the inner-city youth in our program.

    To the point that this is an economic decision, I agree. However, it isn’t about this team being too expensive and operating at a significant loss to the university. It doesn’t cost much money to run this program (compared to other sports at the university). However, I think they have determined that lacrosse is more profitable than wrestling. I won’t even go into the New Balance situation, but I would agree that a Lacrosse program has a potential to be more profitable than wrestling. My concern is that the university, and many other schools, are making decisions based on profitability, which should not be the case. Simply put, the school can likely afford to keep the program.

    I hope BU can realize the mistake they’ve made, and revisit the decision. It would be a shame to lose the program and deny countless opportunities for our city’s youth to compete in a BU singlet someday.