Limestone University and its Athletic Department have announced that it is discontinuing its women’s wrestling program effectively immediately. Currently enrolled students will retain their scholarships through the completion of their fourth academic year if they remain at Limestone.
The decision to discontinue women’s wrestling is part of the strategic realignment of resources being implemented by Limestone to better position the University to support its current and long-term goals and to provide better financial stability. Recent cost savings studies by the University also led recently to the discontinuation of its Theatre program and Limestone’s short-term study abroad program known as the Global Experience.
"We are deeply saddened to have to make this decision in regard to our women’s wrestling program, but it was made in best interests of the athletics program and the University as a whole," said Hailey Martin, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics. “We certainly do not want to decrease opportunities for young women to compete and represent Limestone, so that made this is a very difficult decision, but we must adjust operations to meet the market demands in athletics nationwide.”
Per NCAA rules under these circumstances, the student-athletes impacted by the discontinuation of the sport at Limestone can be immediately eligible if they transfer to another institution.
Limestone announced the addition of women’s wrestling as a varsity sport in 2018, with 2019-2020 serving as the inaugural season. Saints athletics has a reputation for excellence and its women’s wrestling program was no stranger to that success. Limestone had seven athletes qualify to compete in the 2023 National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championships last month in Cedar Rapid, IA. The Limestone University women's wrestling team placed fourth at the 2023 NCWWC Region II Championships held in Bristol, TN in February. In addition, head coach Brandy Green was named the NCWWC 2023 Region II Coach of the Year.
“We will continue to support these wonderful students who are part of our University,” said Limestone’s Interim President Dr. Monica Baloga. “Scholarships will certainly be honored for those young women who choose to remain at Limestone. We are well aware, of course, that many will want to continue to pursue their wrestling careers at other institutions, so our campus community will work diligently to assist with their transitions”
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS FOR STUDENT-ATHLETES IMPACTED:
Why is Limestone University Women’s Wrestling being discontinued?
There are challenges facing higher education institutions, particularly small liberal arts colleges, from which Limestone University is not immune. Among these challenges are increased operating expenses while revenue streams and enrollment are plateauing. Many of the challenges are due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Limestone University Board of Trustees and Leadership are responding to these challenges by acting decisively with plans in place to benefit the institution and the students we serve. We want to acknowledge that our Women’s Wrestling program has been a wonderful addition to our University and has made us proud. This difficult decision was guided by a commitment to preserving the University and its mission as well as to ensure the long-term vitality of the University’s athletics program by streamlining our sport offerings.
When will the women’s wrestling program formally cease operations?
A planned elimination of the University’s Women’s Wrestling program is effective immediately as the team has completed its championship segment per the NCAA.
Will athletic scholarships be impacted?
To ensure that you, our student-athletes, can continue your studies at Limestone University uninterrupted, the institution will honor all current academic and athletic scholarships, even though you will no longer be participating in the women’s wrestling program.
If I choose to remain enrolled at Limestone University, can I join another athletic program?
We will be glad to assist you in making connections with our coaching staff should you have interest in participating on another team.
What happens if student-athletes decide not to continue their enrollment at Limestone University?
Student-athletes who wish to transfer must follow the instructions below to enter the NCAA Transfer Portal. Please contact Jason Jones, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and Athletic Academic Success, to discuss a potential transfer. Any student-athlete would be able to transfer due to the Discontinued Sport exception. As a reminder, please make sure you are meeting Progress Toward Degree to ensure immediate eligibility upon transfer.
Limestone Athletics Notification of Transfer Process:
A student-athlete may initiate the notification of transfer process by completing the Notification of Transfer workflow in ARMS by clicking on the Launch Workflow button on their home page. Follow the steps below to complete the Notification of Transfer Process:
What type of support services are available to student-athletes?
It is understandable that you may have important questions about how this directly impacts you.
● The Office of Financial Aid is available for one-on-one discussions.
● Student Success is available for academic planning.
● Athletics Compliance
● Counseling Services
Will the University ever consider reinstating Women’s Wrestling?
If the University returns to a stronger financial position in the coming years, it is possible.