The athletic department at Morgan State University in Maryland will be getting a bit bigger shortly. After a 24-year hiatus, the historically Black university has announced that its wrestling program will return, thanks to a $2.7 million grant from HBCU Wrestling.
"The purpose behind this donation is to create access and equity which will serve to further diversify the sport of wrestling by providing opportunities for student-athletes that do not currently exist," Morgan State University Athletic Director Edward Scott said in a press release.
"We are extremely grateful to Mike Novogratz and HBCU Wrestling for this tremendous contribution to Morgan State University Athletics. This gift is the largest in Morgan athletics history and believed to be one of the largest donations to any HBCU athletics program from a private donor."
Unbeknownst to many, Morgan State University was a powerhouse in collegiate wrestling in the 1960s and 1970s. Founded in the 1950s, the Morgan State University Bears built themselves up over the course of a decade before capturing three straight CIAA titles. In the 1970s, the historically Black institution took things to new heights with coach James Phillips. Phillips led the school to 13 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference titles and produced 75 All-American wrestlers. Unfortunately, the program was shut down in the late 1990s due to a lack of resources.
"Morgan as an institution is predicated on expanding opportunities, promoting equity and creating access, and by way of this generous gift, we will be able to resurrect a program that opened the door for so many young men to bask in the promise and experience the magic of education," Morgan State University President David K. Wilson added.
"Historically, Morgan has served as home to a nationally competitive, championship-caliber wrestling program, producing numerous national champions in the sport. We embrace this opportunity of being the only HBCU nationwide offering a D1 varsity wrestling program, and we invite those seeking a competitive athletic experience in this sport, and a world-class education, to consider Morgan State University."
There is no exact timetable for Morgan State University wrestlers to return to the mat, but when they do, they will be the only HBCU in Division I wrestling.