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Keep Stanford Wrestling

The Keep Stanford Wrestling (KSW) effort continues to move forward.

On August 6th, four members of the KSW Advisory Board met with Athletic Director Bernard Muir and Deputy Athletic Director Patrick Dunkley to open a dialogue about scenarios under which wrestling will be retained. Despite the administration's predictable posturing, it was a constructive conversation, and the athletic department is receptive to continued discussions with wrestling and other teams. They are making no promises, but we gained valuable information and are certain that our plan to raise an endowment is a necessary condition to keep the program intact. Our pathway to success will have its challenges, but we are confident in our ability to obtain the end goal. After all... such is wrestling.

Below are some of the more recent messages put out by the KSW effort. They include a video and written testimonial from current student-athletes on the team, as well as an article published by USA Wrestling. Please continue to assist KSW's efforts to keep our messaging both consistent and fresh.

Stanford Wrestling - I AM

1) Watch it.
2) Share it.
3) Ask someone to share it.

Jaden Abas '23 Open Letter


An open letter sent to Stanford University:

My name is Jaden Abas. I am a Sophomore currently ranked 12th in the country on a team poised to achieve the program’s highest finish in Stanford history.

“Keep Stanford Wrestling.” 

To you, those three words exemplify an ongoing fight between the wrestling community and the Stanford administration. To me, those three words represent my life. The first time I stepped on a wrestling mat I knew I was going to be something special. With the guidance of a D1 wrestling coach and one of California’s greatest as a dad, I knew my opportunities in this sport were endless.

The sport of wrestling saved my father. It allowed him to escape a crime-ridden inner-city Oakland area to Fresno State, where he found my mother. My mom is from the Bay Area as well; my grandparents live 5 minutes from campus in Mountain View. My family always pushed me to attend Stanford to stay close to family. (I mean, which family wouldn’t?)

My dad’s passion and success in the sport fueled mine to an unmeasurable extent. Knowing that wrestling would one day come to an end, I knew to set my sights higher than just athletics. And I believe there is no better place to find a greater passion than at the best university in the world in one’s home state. For as long as I could remember, Stanford was my dream school (everyone’s dream school), and without wrestling my opportunity to attend was almost impossible.

I attacked my school work and extracurriculars like I would attack an opponent. I worked as hard in the classroom as I would in the practice room when competing for national titles. I would spend hours preparing and training for a match the same as I would for a big exam. Wrestling has shaped every aspect of my life, and I truly believe the life lessons this grueling and testing sport teaches are what breeds world leaders and thriving individuals. I have great faith in the wrestling community to repeal this pressured decision made by Stanford because if there is anything the sport of wrestling teaches a wrestler, it is to never give up.

It's hard to explain to someone who hasn’t had first-hand experience in the benefits of the “grind” of wrestling but in my opinion, WRESTLING IS LIFE. Wrestling is a struggle. A constant fight pitting the will of two individuals against each other. The stronger will generally earn the victory, but that’s easy to see with the sport. Most individuals don’t see the art associated with the battle. I strive for the art. To dominate an opponent giving it all they have with no need of personal struggle is simply beautiful to me. Wrestling is a sport for competitors because YOU have full control of the outcome. You aren’t directly limited to the performance of teammates as possible in other sports. It’s just you and your opponent out there and once an individual realizes he has control of his own destiny, no opponent will stand in the way. I believe this lesson fares far beyond just the sport of wrestling. Wrestling teaches us that the biggest opponent we will ever face in life is within ourselves. It’s just you out there and before you can beat anyone else you must first conquer yourself.

It hurts to see a sport I love so much fail to receive the recognition it deserves from my university. In the growing business of MMA fighting, wrestling receives high praise due in part to over half of the UFC champions having a wrestling foundation. Putting aside the physical techniques and attacks that transfer to MMA, most fighters agree it’s the grit and mental aspect that wrestlers carry that allow them to excel in the fighting world. This wrestling mentality holds more prominence in other countries across the world exceeding that of America’s. Wrestling not only connects different cultures and languages, wrestling also connects species. All animals wrestle and have been since the beginning of time. Wrestling is an outlet of communication to distinguish dominance. The rules and victor in a wrestling match can be seen through all cultures and languages, while generally also could be decided by someone ignorant of the sport. Wrestling is human nature and the fight is within every single one of us. The sport is not limited to size, weight, or gender. Any person can wrestle and succeed if entirely motivated. In my belief, wrestling more than any other sport, you get in what you put out. 

Since Stanford leads the way politically, I fear this idea will spread to other universities in the country. My last name is prominent in the wrestling world, and I have tremendous pride in representing my name in this great sport. I hope one day my child has the chance to do the same. The sport of wrestling and Stanford University are very similar in their goals and lessons. I believe the main similarity between Stanford and the sport of wrestling is the manifestation of leaders and strong-willed outspoken individuals. I’m not ready to give up on my dream. For as long as I could remember, I’ve desired to earn the email address, and I will continue to use it with pride till the day I or Stanford wrestling dies. Wrestling belongs at Stanford! What a shame it would be to the wrestling community and many Stanford fans nationwide to eliminate a program that has been a part of this great university since 1916. I’ve dreamt my whole life to put on that cardinal red singlet, and I’m not ready to let that dream die! (With new NCAA rules, my introductory year will have a #KEEPSTANFORDWRESTLING on the singlet.) I trust in my ability to one day win an NCAA championship, and I hope you can, too.

Jaden Abas
Stanford University Class of ‘23

USA Wrestling Article

KSW co-chair, Robert Hatta ('97) connected with Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling recently to discuss Stanford's decision to discontinue its varsity wrestling program after the 2020-21 season, and the alumni-led campaign to reverse the decision.  The article is located here.  Be on the lookout for future coverage from both the New York Times and the Stanford Daily.

How You Can Help

Please keep in mind that this is our one and only chance to preserve the legacy of Stanford wrestling for future generations. With that in mind, please take as many of the following actions as you are able:
  1. Follow/Endorse/Share KSW on the communication platforms you use--FacebookTwitterInstagram & websiteThe preferred hashtag is #KeepStanfordWrestling.
  2. Sign and share the KSW petition.
  3. Write an email/letter to the university decision makers. Please review the KSW Correspondence Guide prior to drafting your email/letter to ensure your efforts have the greatest impact.
  4. Volunteer to work in one of the KSW committees by completing our Volunteer Request Form.
  5. *Alumni, if you feel comfortable sharing, write a testimonial on how Stanford wrestling has impacted your life in a positive way. Email it to so we can use it in our messaging.
  6. Make a lasting financial contribution when the time comes.
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