Gavin Wigg went to bed April 13 as a recruit for the University of Cincinnati men’s soccer team, but that changed the next morning.
Athletics director John Cunningham told members of the team in a teleconference April 14 that the university was discontinuing the program, effective immediately.
The news shocked Wigg and left the Dublin Scioto senior scrambling to find a place to play in the fall.
“I heard about it from a friend, so I called an assistant at UC and he confirmed it,” said Wigg, a defender. “I didn’t know anything about it. I was really surprised by this.
“Right now, I have been looking for other colleges and texting and emailing them. I also have been sending them game film.”
Trey Asensio, a 2018 Bexley graduate and a starting defender with the Bearcats last fall as a sophomore, also was caught off guard by the news.
“We had a (teleconference) team meeting at 10 a.m. (April 14) with the athletics director, and it was a total surprise,” Asensio said. “They were looking for a head coach and I figured it had something to do with that, but no one imagined that it would be about this.”
Asensio, who played at Bexley as a sophomore before playing with the Internationals Soccer Academy in northern Ohio as a junior and senior, appeared in nine games for Cincinnati as a freshman, including two starts. Last fall, he appeared in 14 games, starting all but one, as the Bearcats finished 5-11-1.
Asensio added his name to the NCAA transfer portal after the meeting.
“I had around 10 coaches contact me (the first day) and it’s up to 16 or 18 (as of April 15), so it’s going well so far,” he said. “Most college soccer teams keep game films on a site called InStat. Some of the coaches watched game film on that, and all of the schools that I have had contact with have reached out to me first. There have been a few Division III schools, but it has mostly been Division I.
“I’m a mechanical engineering/applied science major, so I want to go to a school that will allow me to continue my major without starting over. I also want to find a program where I can contribute valuable minutes. Those are the most important things.”
Last fall, Wigg was named third-team all-district and first-team all-league as Scioto went 16-2-1 overall. The Irish were a Division I district finalist and won the OCC-Cardinal Division title at 5-1-1.
Wigg said he has been in contact with several schools — all Division I — from around the country since learning the news.
“I have talked to coaches from Florida to California.” he said. “I let them know I was committed to UC and that (the Bearcats) dropped their program, and they instantly started talking to me. I have been sending out full game films to them.”
Asensio and Wigg both said finding the right fit would be a little more challenging given the limitations because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“Obviously, you’re not allowed to go on visits,” Wigg said. “You’re doing everything through email and calls. I can’t meet a coach face-to-face and know whether I like the program or the campus.”
Asensio said it comes down to doing better research.
“Certainly, when you are going through the recruiting process, you would like to get a visit to campus,” he said. “That makes this more difficult. Now you have to do more research in your free time to make sure you pick the school that’s right for you.”