I agree pretty much with everything @dadof4kids says about the big picture. My only real disagreement is that those wrestling programs that still exist (after the great purge in the 80s-90s) I think are relatively secure. One, because wrestling is not a very expensive sport.
You need very little equipment, you are not travelling huge squads and support staff, and wrestlers eat very little ;). Two, mullets are crazy tribal and they take care of their own. Generally when a wrestling program is threatened you will see a big push from the alums to keep it funded. I think wrestling participation has been relatively stable this century, and I would assume that would continue.
On the big picture stuff, I think you are focusing on the wrong things tbh. Schools in the Ivy are not cutting sports because they have to, various schools are just making decisions on how they want to allocate their resources. Not so at a place like the University of Akron, which just cut three D1 teams, in an effort to offset what they say is a general anticipated operating loss of $60,000,000-$70,000,000. Brown has an endowment of about $4.2 billion dollars or $400,000 per student, Akron has a total endowment of $219 million, which is about $10,000 per student. Clearly, these places are light years apart in how they are structured to respond to our current situation. FWIW, I also think that the putting “butts in the seats” point is an astute one, and again an area where the metrics at Brown (8.5% acceptance rate) and Akron (92.5% acceptance rate) are vastly different. And I think generally the relative position of each school vis non revenue sports has a lot more to do with general financial health and selectivity (for lack of a better word) than athletic division. Amherst (11.8% acceptance rate, $2.5B endowment) probably doesn’t really care how much their athletic department costs, as long as they beat Williams. Otterbein, with a 76% acceptance rate and a $93 million dollar endowment, probably does care.
By the way, Akron has not cut its football team, which consistently draws some of the fewest fans in D1 (111th out of 130 last year) and which plays in a beautiful, wholly over sized and massively expensive stadium. Maybe an unrelated point, but schools who play football in the MAC conference, like Akron, are estimated to receive about $850,000 per year from the new TV deal the conference signed with ESPN last year, the largest in the conference’s history. It would not surprise me if conversely the Ivy League president was required to pick up the post negotiations tab at Peter Luger’s as thanks to ESPN for consenting to put the Ivy League on ESPN+.
The MAC deal is chump change when compared to places like the SEC or BIG. The BIG signed a 6 year TV deal in 2018 that pays each of its schools about $50 million a year. The SEC’s TV deal pays out about $35 million a year to each school, but the SEC is currently in negotiations for a new deal, so they won’t be so “poor” for very long. These deals are based almost entirely on football, and to a lesser extent men’s basketball. The cynic in me says that because of numbers like this, the NCAA and the P5 will do everything in their power to have a football season, because otherwise they will lose an insane amount of revenue (Sports Illustrated estimated $4 billion dollars). If that happens, the impact on athletic departments in general will have to be immense, and people will likely realize exactly how much money is really being generated off of young, mostly poor, mostly minority kids who by the way often leave school after their eligibility is exhausted with either a degree in a “soft” major or no degree at all. I doubt the NCAA wants the general public to focus on exactly how “student athlete-centric” they really are.
As to your specific situation, I sympathize, as I know @dadof4kids does, because we have both been where you are. I honestly do not know that there is an answer for it, and I think at some point an athlete and a parent need to trust the recruiting coach. It sucks, and it is a huge part of why I have always advocated the parent trying to take a sober, cautious look at the big picture when going through this process.
My son was not as highly recruited as @dadof4kids’ son was, but he did have a few other options where he could have been happy had things fallen apart at his chosen school. I encouraged him to stay in contact with his second and third choice schools during the time between his verbal commitment (early July before his senior season) and receipt of his likely letter, which he did try to do but which frankly also became harder and harder to maintain as time went on. He was fortunate that he really liked one particular NESCAC school, where the coach had promised he could land if things didn’t work out in the Ivy. This made things somewhat easier. All of that said, there were some problems with likely letters being delayed at his school in his cycle, so we had some “heated negotiations” in early November about reaching out to one of the other two Ivys he had been staying in some form of contact with, and/or preparing an ED application to the NESCAC school before the ED deadline. His position was that he trusted the coach, mine was that I wanted him to eventually leave the house. We finally settled on he could wait until Thanksgiving break, and then if the likely letter didn’t arrive he could either put in an application and make a couple phone calls or I would slowly flay him alive. Luckily for both of us his letter came through the week before Thanksgiving.