Graphic and release courtesy of Fresno State Athletics.
FRESNO, CA – Fresno State President Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval has agreed to meet with a group of Central Valley community leaders to see if they can find a viable pathway to reinstate all three varsity sports the school cut due to the uncertainty of the pandemic. In a letter delivered on July 21st, the community leaders reaffirmed the need for more opportunities for young people.
“Whether it is through an academic scholarship or simply providing the ability to compete as student-athletes, we believe the more avenues available to young people to learn and compete, the more likely they will be able to make valuable and positive contributions to the future of the Central Valley.”
The letter is signed by community, education, agriculture, business and government leaders in the Valley, including members of the state assembly Frank Bigelow and Jim Patterson.
“We believe reinstating all of the teams is possible,” said John O’Brien, a Wrestling team alum from the class of 1989 who helped organize the letter. “There is tremendous value for the community if the school reinstates all three teams. With support from the school’s leadership, we can find a way to solve the budget challenges created by the pandemic.”
In addition to this direct community appeal, more than 750 alumni and supporters have signed an online petition at www.KeepFresnoStateWrestling.com that launched in June 2021.
Representatives from the community coalition are scheduled to meet with Fresno State President Dr. Saúl Jiménez-Sandova where they hope to explore avenues for bringing back the three varsity athletic programs.
FULL TEXT OF LETTER:
July 21, 2021
Dear President Jiménez-Sandoval:
We are a group of Central Valley community, business and education leaders who, like you, support programs and initiatives that give young people an opportunity to learn and build a better future for themselves and their families.
We are strong supporters of Fresno State and were disappointed when the school made the decision in the height of the pandemic to discontinue three varsity athletic programs: Men’s Wrestling, Tennis and Women’s Lacrosse.
As Fresno State continues the plan to safely reopen the school and welcome students back to campus, we hope you will count us among those who support finding a pathway for Fresno State to once again field these three teams.
Whether it is through an academic scholarship or simply providing the ability to compete as student-athletes, we believe the more avenues available to young people to learn and compete, the more likely they will be able to make valuable and positive contributions to the future of the Central Valley.
Finding a pathway to reinstate Men’s Wrestling, Tennis and Women’s Lacrosse is a top priority for us right now, and we hope you will be able to sit down with us in the near future to discuss these plans.