Penn State confirmed Tuesday that rising sophomore Nick Suriano has been granted his release from the wrestling team and plans to transfer to Rutgers.
This statement comes on the heels of several reports that Penn State would not grant the Paramus, N.J., native his release.
“Nick Suriano recently requested a release so that he could transfer to Rutgers. We granted this release,” the statement read. “Subject to Big Ten policy, any intra-conference transfer is required to sit for one year before they are again eligible to participate.
“Nick is open to transfer to Rutgers and will be subject to that school’s policies (conference or otherwise) on transfer and eligibility status. We support and work within the Big Ten policy.”
NJ.com had reported Monday that Penn State would not sign off on a waiver that would aide Suriano in potentially transferring to Rutgers without sitting out for a season.
The university would not comment specifically on that story.
During his freshman campaign last season, Suriano went 17-1, with his lone loss to Iowa’s Thomas Gilman, before injuring his ankle against Oklahoma State’s Nick Piccininni in the National Wrestling Coaches Association Dual Championship Series title dual in February.
Shortly thereafter, Suriano forfeited in the first round of the Big Ten tournament to be eligible to compete in the NCAA tournament. Three days before the start of the tournament, head coach Cael Sanderson told the media that the freshman was “active” for the tournament and set to wrestle. But two days later, Penn State wrestling’s official twitter account released a statement saying Suriano would not be able to compete and would forfeit his first match.
Penn State still picked up its sixth national championship in the past seven years and crowned five individual champions.
Suriano and his family did not respond to several requests for comment.
Without Suriano, Penn State is left with a hole to fill at 125 pounds. The loss of Suriano also adds to the uncertainty surrounding the lower weight classes on Penn State’s lineup.
After sitting out most of last season with a shoulder injury, junior Jared Cortez is expected to be back in contention for the 133 spot. Another contender for that spot could be senior transfer Cory Keener, a three-time NCAA qualifier who went 60-42 over his career at Central Michigan. The possibility exists that one of those two wrestlers could drop down to 125.
The loss of Suriano might also increase the likelihood of seeing true freshman Nick Lee in the lineup to replace graduated senior Jimmy Gulibon at 141.
But even with uncertainty at the lower half of the lineup, the Nittany Lions will still return five defending national champions in Zain Retherford, 149; Jason Nolf, 157; Vincenzo Joseph, 165; Mark Hall, 174 and Bo Nickal, 184, and remain favorites on paper to win their third straight NCAA championship.