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THE FIGHT GOES ON: Mayor declares Friday as Save Fresno State Wrestling Day



Many weeks have passed since Fresno State Univ announced that it had dropped its Div. I varsity wrestling program. Quickly, and with great passion, the community rallied to support an effort to Save Fresno State wrestling with numerous public demonstrations. In spite of the fact that the university has not changed its position, the fight goes on and seems to be gaining strength.

According to the leaders of the Central Valley Wrestling Association, Alan Autry, the mayor of Fresno, has declared Friday, August 4 as "Save Fresno State Wrestling Day" in the city. This is another step forward in rallying community support for the cause.

The wrestling community has planned a number of activities on "Save Fresno State Wrestling Day" in order to continue to get the message out about why the university needs to bring back the program.

"We have about six high schools in the Fresno city area out on the streets between 6 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. to hand out information and bumper stickers," said Tim Cornish, a leader with the Central Valley Wrestling Association. "They will be wearing Save Fresno State Wrestling t-shirts and talking to many people."

This is another public demonstration of support for the wrestling program, part of a series of activities that is keeping the public involved in the issue since June and is giving the local media reasons to continue to report on the effort.

"The activities on Friday are planned to make things more public. We are picking up more steam. We have had two mayors write letters of support to President Welty and the athletic director Boeh. We want to make sure people know all the facts and find out how important wrestling is to the people in this community," said Cornish.

The wrestling community continues to battle for the program, even after the university announced that it required the wrestling community to come up with $2 million a year to fund the program along with new women's sports teams.

"They say it is about money, but that shows that it is really about Title IX," said Cornish.

Instead of killing off the effort to save the wrestling team with an unreasonable demand, the conditions set by the Fresno State administration has actually helped motivate those in the wrestling community to work harder on the cause.

"The morale continues strong," said Cornish. "We were pushing hard, then they put the $2 million price tag on bringing back the team. Some people were discouraged, but the central core of supporters continued pursuing it. It has picked up steam since then because we proved that we are not giving up. The momentum is building again."

The wrestling leaders are seeking to open up dialogue with the university and try to work out a way that the wrestling program can be reinstated. There has been no formal dialogue in recent days, but the wrestling community believes another meeting would be in everybody's best interest.

"We are steamrolling through," said Cornish. "We plan to discuss things with the university and make a proposal to them. We hope to do that by next week or so. We want to continue to keep this issue in the media until we have another meeting. We want Fresno State to know that we are willing to do our part to keep the wrestling program."

Dennis Deliddo, the longtime coach at Fresno State who retired after the 2005 season, has been involved with the effort to reinstate the program.

"We have many heavy hitters in the community supporting us," said Deliddo. "After Friday, we will see if they are willing to sit down with us again. We believe that they might compromise or will give us a chance to make it work."

Those interested in getting more involved in the effort can contact Tim Cornish at cornish157@yahoo.com

For regular updates on the effort to Save Fresno State wrestling, visit:
http://www.savefresnowrestling.com
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