Formerly known as the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu club, the grappling club has been granted a state-of-the-art practice space and plans on celebrating with a grand opening at the end of February.
The grappling club meets in the basement of the Matthaei Center with club president Sergio Rodriguez in attendance.
“The grappling club formed two years ago as a collaboration between wrestling [and] Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to bring grappling to Wayne State's campus,” Rodriguez said. “However, the efforts to have wrestling on campus date back many years.”
Despite its history, Rodriguez said the club did not have the same amenities as other organized or club sports. However, this year, WSU Athletics has gifted the club with the space it needs.
“I was asked to find a place that could accommodate such an activity–which we were able to do by substituting a former racquetball court,” said Robert Fournier, the director of athletics.
Funding by the Dean of Students Office and approval from the WSU Board of Governors and President Wilson paid for the 20-by-40 feet room in the basement of Matthaei to be remodeled, painted and padded with professional mixed martial arts mats.
“This provides a meeting space on campus not previously available. Like all activities, the benefit is to engage students in activities they enjoy and create a more welcoming environment,” Fournier said. “Anytime students can complement their interests in class with extracurricular activities, I think it aids graduation and academic enrollment initiatives.”
With their new space and proper equipment, Rodriguez said they plan to participate in tournaments and leagues in order to compete with other universities in the future.
“We are very thankful to both the president and Dean Strauss,” Rodriguez said. “So far, we have gotten an immense amount of interest, and we can predict the club will continue to grow through each independent discipline.”
Fournier said the projected day of opening the room is Feb. 27.