PROVO, Utah -- Some BYU students are disappointed after learning the school is no longer allowing them to compete in a wrestling club.
“It turned into something I can't live without. Wrestling is who I am,” said Bailey Carlson.
Carlson has wrestled for an “unofficial” BYU club for the past two years.
“Besides being the oldest sport, it's one on one. Teaches you accountability. Teaches you how to work hard. Also teaches you to be part of a team," Carlson said.
But those days are over.
Last week, Carlson says BYU administrators told his team they will no longer be allowed to compete as a club team representing the university.
“They said there was no compelling reason to support it. The only thing that we can only speculate is maybe they never really wanted us in the first place and they were hoping that we'd go away,” said Carlson.
In a statement to Fox 13, BYU spokesperson Todd Hollingshead said:
“BYU dropped its NCAA-competing collegiate wrestling program 18 years ago, in 2000. Our Student Life division has not chartered a wrestling club since April 2016. This group is not officially affiliated with the university.”
Carlson says some students formed a wrestling club six years ago and made personal sacrifices to keep it going so eventually they would be considered an official club.
“We've been doing this with all our own funding," he said.
Coach Craig Miner volunteered his time. Provo High let them use their training facility and they spent hours serving the community.
“We felt like we were going in the right direction, because the last few years, we've done better, had people place in the national tournament,” said Carlson.
As a last-ditch effort, students have launched an online petition. They hope administrators will reconsider.