Is Endowment a Program Saver?

Posted: September 20, 2014 in Uncategorized
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F&MFranklin & Marshall recently received a $5 million endowment for the wrestling program. David Lehman a 1968 alum made the donation to the school and program. He wrestled at F&M in the late ‘60’s. F&M has been off the wrestling radar for a while but the emergence of Richard Durso an All American senior has given the school an increased level of visibility. I recently wrote that you could likely see Durso AA wrestle in great seats at any home match. One of the things that make F&M unique is that it’s one of the only liberal art colleges with a D1 program in the country. Wrestling can be at its very best when combined with rigorous academics. If F&M builds on Durso’s success with better recruiting and the financial stability that the Lehman donation provides it gives hope to other small D1 programs.

Read F&M story here.

Numerous wrestling programs have stayed off termination or scrutiny with various endowments for coaching, scholarships and general program budgets. It’s also been done at the high school level. Even in a strong wrestling state like Pennsylvania I’ve seen school boards cut a healthy wrestling program that was generating enough money with ticket sales to cover 50% of its budget be saved by an anonymous benefactor.

buIs endowment fool proof? Nope. Boston University had close to a million dollar endowment for wrestling scholarships and the school disappeared the program. Likely because they stood to get more money from New Balance to help bring in field hockey and improve the lacrosse field. I’m sure that they thought they could convince the donor, Orin Smiley ‘s family to change the donation to the general athletics. The program raised anther half million trying to stave off termination but it didn’t work. Endowment, plus active alumni and fan base seem to be the ingredients needed in this day and age. See what Rob Koll has done on all 3 fronts at Cornell.


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