UNO alumni take wrestling grievances to Facebook
March 25th, 2011
Omaha, NE – The UNO Maverick wrestlers were not ready to concede at the beginning of Friday’s Board of Regents meeting that decided the future of their program. The unanimous vote to eliminate both wrestling and football at UNO has left some student-athletes and their coaches devastated.
Junior Maverick wrestler Esai Dominguez has been an outspoken critic of the UNO Athletics Department’s proposed move to Division I at the expense of his program. Dominguez gave an emotional plea when it was first announced on March 13th, in front of fellow athletes as well as Athletics Director Trev Alberts and UNO Chancellor John Christensen. Throughout the process, the wrestling team had remained confident about their chances of saving the program. But when the Regents unanimously voted to discontinue the programs, Dominguez said he could see their chances slipping. But, he said, the team was, “going to keep fighting for it until the last paper is signed for it.”
The decision had many supporters taking to Facebook to air their discontent. On the UNO Maverick Wrestling page, the status read administrators have “already changed the locks and codes on our wrestling and locker rooms doors. Shows just how little they think of us.” Others identifying themselves as UNO alumni posted a phone number to the Alumni Administration office in hopes others will have their names removed from future mailings and donation requests.
On the Facebook wall of “Save UNO Football & Wrestling”, Beth Flynn wrote that she’s “…never felt more disappointed to be an alum,” and that her previous plans to become a regular donor are now over.
Parker Adair, a former editor-in-chief at the UNO Gateway is a local wrestling and football coach. He said a big drop in financial support is in store for UNO Athletics. Adair cited pledges that have been made to try and save the wrestling team, which he said have reached over $100,000. Adair said it’s those high-dollar donors that are at risk of taking their money elsewhere. “The football program has huge donors that are going to be lost, I don’t know where they’re getting all this extra money that’s going to come from these phantom donors,” said Adair.
“When you have guys like Van Deeb who already pulled out of a huge donation project and David Sokol who’s very upset and just donated a million dollar scoreboard that’s not going to be used for its intent.”
Calls to the Alumni Association were not immediately returned. However, Dorothy Endacott from the University of Nebraska Foundation, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the University, said the wave of negative responses had not reached their office. She said as of Friday afternoon, only two text messages had been received in response to the Regents decision.
Speaking after the vote, Coach Mike Denney said he still has a round left in him. But online, responses from supporters generally seem to indicate they may have already tapped out.
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