You know, I've never been too much concerned with the rise in the number of women's sports teams as a significant part of the societal movement toward equality for women in all aspects of life. That some mens' teams have been lost is an unfortunate, and in my view unnecessary, consequence. The whole women's movement and its consequences for men in all aspects of life is a complicated topic, with many nuances. Just in recent times have people who know about these things started studying the impact on boys and men--and so on society as a whole. Anyway it's hard for me to believe that most colleges and universities (and in particular those with big-time football and/or basketball programs) can't find the money to sponsor "minor" sports--not so minor to those who participate in them. Even knowing that only a few of the big boys (no pun here) actually make money in their athletic programs does not change my thinking on this. When I see the lists of how many hangers on go to Bowl games, I am disgusted that some of those same institutions have dropped mens' programs. With DIII schools, I am not surprised that mens' teams are lost when a school does the math and knows that it has to comply to receive Federal money.
I do recall a fairly recent study that showed the number of participants in high school wrestling has climbed in the last twenty years. By the way, another counting of programs indicates that college wrestling is not the sport most dropped. Cross country, indoor track and field, golf, tennis, rowing (!), outdoor track and field, and swimming have all been lost in greater numbers (in part, I think, because not as many schools offered wrestling to start with. But what a list.) Having watched a lot of college wrestling and track and field for a long time, one of the ironies for me is that the decrease in the number of teams in these sports has actually resulted in a higher level of competition in Division III. Wrestling is harder to gauge--but I'm told the competitive level is way up, And look at the national records in DIII T & F and what has happened to them in the last decade or more. As more DI and DII schools drop wrestling and track and field, dedicated athletes look for somewhere to compete, and this trickles down (or up) to DIII. At least that's my theory--in addition to realizing that today's athletes are bigger, stronger, and better trained than the athletes of the past.
How schools adding football fits into all this, in light of Title IX, is another interesting discussion as they fight for male students. It would be fascinating to be a fly on a campus wall when the discussions of adding a football comes up. This makes my head hurt. Fascinating discussion on this board: passionate, learned, and educational. We have to do something between O:OO on the clock and kick off.