Documentary Will Investigate BU’s Choice to Cut the Varsity Wrestling Program

Two filmmakers will highlight the team, and its coach, for their project.

At the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, the Boston University Varsity Men’s Wrestling Team will be no more.

But two local filmmakers are trying to raise funds, through an IndieGoGo.com account, to investigate why the wrestling program was “unceremoniously dropped,” taking an “emotional toll” on both the coach, Carl Adams, and the team, and show how the decision handed down from the school impacts so many people involved.

“This film will document the season, the wrestlers, the coaches, and the local wrestling community. Additionally, the film will also attempt to further investigate why the men’s wrestling program was so unexpectedly [cut],” according to Michael Abelson, a 2013 University of Rhode Island graduate, and Emerson College film student Brandon Lavoie.

Titled “It Hurts to Win,” the film will detail the final season of the BU wrestling program after news came down in April that the school will no longer fund the sport due to a lack of money for needed resources, like additional staffing and facility enhancements.

Abelson and Lavoie are hoping to raise $25,000 by September 23, to cover the production and travel costs to complete their documentary, which features extensive interviews with Coach Adams. If the filmmakers don’t reach their goal, they plan on telling the story anyways, but will recalculate their expenses. Abelson and Lavoie are not affiliated with BU or its athletic programs.

For the past 32 seasons, Adams has been at the helm of the Terrier wrestling program, guiding the team to 10 conference titles, according to officials from BU. The current wrestling team includes 11 juniors among its 25-man roster. The current academic year will be the team’s final season. “The decision to sponsor wrestling for one more season will allow all members of the Class of 2014 to complete their collegiate careers and degrees at Boston University,” according to a statement from the university, issued in April.

Students wrestling at the D1 level will either need to stop competing or switch schools, after the season comes to an end. The cut at BU comes at a time when other universities are doing the same. Wrestling has also been pinned on an international level. In February, the International Olympic Committee voted to drop wrestling from its schedule for the 2020 games.

But the filmmakers behind “It Hurts to Win” hope that their documentary can change peoples’ perceptions—including those at the highest level at the school—about what happens when a sports team gets cut, and how the impact ripples throughout the community. “Especially with a sport like wrestling…it’s the loss of a passion. It is also our hope to convey that at the base of everything, this is an emotional story of loss, betrayal and perseverance in the face of adversity – which are all very relatable to the lives of most people,” said Abelson and Lavoie, in their description of the project.

For more information about the film, follow the filmmakers at @ItHurts2WinFilm on Twitter.

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