In 2017, a controversial decision was made by Boise State University President Bob Kustra to eliminate the wrestling program.
Johnny Nunez, who wrestled at Boise State, and former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha Tate are now helping to get the program reinstated. Nunez, who is also a professional MMA fighter and World Series Of Fighting veteran, has a problem with the fact that Kustra never addressed the issues with the wrestling team before terminating the program.
“For Bob Kustra to just cut it with no notice, we had 12, 13 guys already signed to go here to Boise State – two recruits on campus,” Nunez told MMA Junkie. “They flew those recruits here, knowing that they were going to cut that program, and they still let that happen. What are we trying to teach our kids here? Are we trying to each our kids that let’s just make a big decision and not to talk to anybody? Because he has not been open. He has s not addressed the issue in public or with anybody at all. Zero Dan Gable called him and said, ‘Can I come and just sit down and have a conversation with you?’ He said no. That’s obviously – there’s something wrong with that.”
Kustra has since retired and is no longer the president at Boise State University, it was also believed that he cut wrestling in order to add a baseball team to the university.
Tate says she and Nunez have tried to talk to Kustra in the past about the program, but the now retired president wouldn’t give them the time of day.
“We just don’t have a lot of answers as to why the program was cut, and when we tried to talk to the president, who just retired a year after cutting the program – we tried to sit down and just say, ‘Hey, is there something that we can do on our end? Can we raise the funds? Can we take the program and just not really ask anything from the school except to just allow us to have it?'” Tate said. “He wouldn’t even sit down to hear us out. Just that the program was cut, it was done, it was final, and baseball was coming in. I think that we could have come to a better resolve than just having the program cut. It feels like the carpet was just pulled out from everyone’s feet, and that’s just not really a fair way to do things.”
The wrestling program did operate at a loss of $350,000 in 2015-2016 according to the Idaho Statesman, but when it comes to NCAA athletic programs, usually football and basketball are the big moneymakers.