Boise State President Bob Kustra Breaks Silence, Tells More Falsehoods

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Boise State President Bob Kustra and Athletic Director Curt Apsey have been almost completely silent since they announced the university would be dropping its storied wrestling program suddenly and without warning back in April.

Kustra broke his silence recently to meet with two Idaho state senators and used the opportunity to spew more falsehoods and untruths.

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While the athletic department at most universities is typically the purview of the athletic director, it appears that Apsey's primary function since joining Boise State in 2015 has been to bring to fruition Kustra's pet project of reviving the long dormant Broncos baseball program. This is made clear by the recent meeting between Kustra and the two state senators, in which the decision to cut wrestling and pursue baseball appears to be Kustra's alone.

State Senators Marv Hagedorn and Chuck Winder shared the result of their meeting in a letter, which can be found in it's entirety below.

During the meeting, Kustra laid out several specific reasons why he would not reverse his decision or consider reinstating the wrestling program. If Hagedorn and Winder's recounting of their sit-down is accurate, then it would appear that the president of Boise State University believes that no other schools in the Mountain West Conference field wrestling teams.

In fact, three other universities in the Mountain West Conference have Division I wrestling teams, specifically Fresno State, Wyoming, and the U.S. Air Force Academy.

This is a rather shocking revelation coming from a president of a MWC school who harped so incessantly on the notion of "conference alignment." One would think a university president would be more familiar with the conference with which they are so keen to align.

Kustra, who has been BSU's president since 2003, also apparently believes that there is no future for wrestling in Idaho. A quick look at readily available and easily accessible data does not support this position. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, high school wrestling participation numbers in the state of Idaho have increased 6.5 percent from the 2002-03 season to 2014-15.

While this may not seem impressive over a 13-year interval, it is worth keeping in mind that high school baseball participation in the state of Idaho has declined minus-2.5 percent over the same time period.

The table below reproduces the results of the NHFS survey for Idaho high school participation total counts in baseball and wrestling from 2002-03 to 2013-15.

YEAR WRESTLING BASEBALL
2003 2,285 2,503
2004 2,282 2,452
2005 2,315 2,562
2006 2,374 2,502
2007 2,325 2,361
2008 2,259 2,516
2009 2,324 2,557
2010 2,485 2,593
2011 2,487 2,446
2012 2,350 2,275
2013 2,493 2,314
2014 2,367 2,423
2015 2,245 2,377
2016 2,433 2,441

According to the letter, Kustra also claims that "he had heard very little opposition to his decision to terminate the program."

This can only be true if Kustra has been deliberately avoiding or ignoring the very real and well-documented opposition to his decision to terminate the program. It's an opposition that, as noted by Hagedorn and Winder, includes thousands of newly pledged donations to the recently cut program.

Even more troubling for Boise State stakeholders is the course their president has set for their institution. Contained in the senators' letter is the revelation that Broncos football ticket sales are down and that the entire athletic department is under serious financial strain due to the drop in revenue.

If this is indeed the case, then starting a baseball team, which by BSU's own reckoning will cost over $2 million per year in operating expenses, will only exacerbate the athletic department's precarious financial position. That's not to mention the additional expenditures on women's sports BSU will have to budget to meet Title IX requirements.

Why a university president would plunge an institution head first into a fiscal catastrophe by replacing a sport that costs less than $500,000 a year to fund with one that will cost over four times that is anyone's guess.

Below is the letter from senators Hagedorn and Winder recounting their meeting with Kustra. 



UPDATE: Save BSU Wrestling released a response to the meeting between Kustra and the Idaho state senators, which can be found below. 


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