The Greco-Roman wrestling program will remain in Marquette as a part of the United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC) located on Northern Michigan University’s campus.
The Greco-Roman program had recently lost the financial support of the Stupak Grant program.
The grant awarded NMU $1 million to support the students aspiring to become Olympic athletes at NMU through the USOEC. The program was part of a recent federal budget cut, leaving the USOEC looking for other funding options to make up the $1 million difference.
According to Rob Hermann, head Greco-Roman Wrestling coach of the USOEC, about 95 students currently participate in the USOEC program, 36 of which are a part of Greco-Roman wrestling.
“I think they (the students) would have left with the program,“ Hermann said. “If it was put in Colorado Springs, I think they would have gone with it.”
Fortunately for the Greco-Roman program, NMU, with the help of former president Les Wong, was able to reach an agreement with USA Wrestling in order to keep the program at NMU, Hermann said.
“NMU does a great job. I’m glad it stayed,” Hermann said.
The USOEC program provides athletes with the sort of structure and discipline required to become a part of the USA Olympic teams. It aims to help students reach their goals of becoming Olympic athletes.
The Greco-Roman wrestling program provides students with the opportunity to wrestle with other competitors in their age groups.
It provides athletes with the chance to wrestle in a style that suits them the most, according to Hermann.
NMU’s Olympic Training Center (OTC) is one of four training centers in the nation along with Colorado Springs, Colo. and Lake Placid, N.Y.
About 25,000 athletes have participated in the program and have won more than 70 Olympic medals since the center opened in 1985.
It is the only training center in the country that emphasizes education as well as training, according to the USOEC website. The USOEC trains athletes in women’s freestyle wrestling, Greco-Roman wrestling, speed skating and weight lifting.
While training, athletes attend NMU and receive financial assistance from the university as a part of the program.
The Stupak Grant program that had originally funded the USOEC was renamed in 1998 in honor of Rep. Bart Stupak’s son, B. J. Stupak, who committed suicide in 2000, according to National Review Online.
According to the USOEC’s website, even though the Greco-Roman wrestling program was able to remain at NMU, the Women’s Education Program will be moving to Colorado Springs, Colo. for the duration of the 2012-13 academic school year.