When you are recruited to compete in D3, schools that offer wrestling are often the best ones that you can get into because getting recruited helps with the admissions process.
Being recruited to a D3 is absolutely no guarantee of admission. Like any other student, if you do not meet the minimum criteria for admission, then you find another college or university to attend. Most every and any college you find isn't going to admit a kid who can barely keep up in high school or community college, as they probably won't be around long enough to make a difference. Then you have to chase down that tuition money? Thanks, but nah.
People are going to these schools not because there is wrestling but because these are good schools that also have wrestling teams.
For most students, at best it's a combination of having a wrestling program and the fact that it's a solid fit academically. At worst, it's because they have wrestling and they want to continue to compete. There certainly are exceptions to the rule, but they are just that.
You're talking about teenage boys here. They're not thinking about financials and many times the high school and club coaches they had talked their parents into thinking they're going to waltz to a D3 title. They're thinking about the t-shirt they'll get that says they were a college wrestler somewhere; they'll develop a touch of to full-blown cauliflower ear because they couldn't be bothered to wear headgear; and the chance to say that they had X record on the college level.
A large group of D3 recruits quit very shortly after arriving on campus. These students don't transfer out to a different school that offers wrestling because the reason they chose the school was not mainly based on wrestling.
Where's your data on this? It all depends on the program, the cost of the education and what their options might be at that time. Most of those guys went to X school because of wrestling. The institution's academic reputation was the cherry on top.
The whole point of D3 is that athletics are secondary to academics: that is why there are supposed to be no athletic scholarships.
So far, this is the only point you've made that is 100% accurate on not merely conjecture.
People compete in D3 because they enjoy competition and like the sport. However, if a NESCAC school were to cut wrestling, I doubt you would see all of the athletes transfer (like you do in D1). You would see them stay at the school, which they chose for academics, and compete as a club team (or not compete).
More conjecture; have you spoken with every kid in D3?
As to what would happen with the NESCAC schools, I don't believe that any of us could say with 100% assurance.
Here is my slightly controversial take on some D3 and NAIA programs: If the only reason that a University has a team is to attract students to pay partial or full tuition, maybe that University isn't worth attending. Why can't they get students otherwise?
How many D3 programs and NAIA programs can you cite that have stated that their goal is to boost enrollment numbers by adding wrestling?
Institutions of higher education offer sports because their students want them or they see a trend in a certain sport. They're not stupid people; they do their research. If they can realistically/responsibly offer that opportunity, then it's a win-win for the student-athlete and the institution. And, like any other program, if they manage a few All-Americans out of it in the process, that will help their school's image spread.
You're usually a really solid poster, billyhoyle. For some reason, you appear to be going out of your way to be a real @$$#0!* here, and I cannot figure out why.