CULLOWHEE, NC (SEPT. 4, 2020) – Western Carolina University brought on Collegiate Consulting to conduct a sports sponsorship study. The institution, a Southern Conference member since 1976, is exploring the possibility of adding sports programs.
The study includes an analysis of the athletic department’s current budget, financial aid allocation, and competitiveness, as well as program specific figures for men’s wrestling and the two women’s sports explored – women’s lacrosse, and women’s wrestling.
Within the region, there are 19 men’s wrestling teams, 26 women’s lacrosse teams, and nine women’s wrestling teams. The NCAA has recently announced the addition of women’s wrestling as an emerging sport. Within the state of North Carolina, high school men’s wrestling participation is high, while women’s lacrosse continues to grow.
Collegiate Consulting developed a five-year timeline for men’s wrestling and each women’s sport. For men’s wrestling, the starting operating budget is $112,500 with a two-person coaching staff by 2022. The Division I financial aid maximum for men’s wrestling, 9.90 scholarships, would be reached under Collegiate Consulting’s recommendation via a staggered model by 2024. Women’s lacrosse would have a coaching staff size of two and an operating budget of $136,900. Women’s wrestling would have a scholarship cap of 4.0; with a head coach and year one operating budget of $85,000.
An 18-month ramp up schedule was developed starting in 2021-22 with a partial schedule. Western Carolina currently has 16 sports, with men’s wrestling potentially being its eighth men’s program.
About Collegiate Consulting: Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Collegiate Consulting is a comprehensive solutions-based intercollegiate consulting firm focused on offering athletic departments, conferences and associations a single-entity resource across an extensive platform of services. Since their inception in 2005, Collegiate Consulting has worked with over 550 institutions on projects such as searches like Saint Leo’s, feasibility studies, operational studies and strategic planning.