What does this mean for Iowa State?
On the surface, this hurts wrestling in the short term. We lose our coach, likely many of our recruits (including the top ranked recruit in the country), and perhaps much of our current team due to the easy transfer rules in wrestling.
We were poised for a fourth consecutive conference title and a healthy run at the national title and that isn't likely (unless the men can do it out of motivation for Cael ditching them for the money in "Happy Valley").
However, we were a top wrestling school before Cael and will continue be so after him. I'm upset about him leaving but don't think it's a long term detriment for the program (assuming we can weather the arms race of coaching salaries that Penn State initiated).
The bigger problem that the situation illustrates is the fact that Cael Sanderson bailed on Iowa State. Recent years have been rough in Ames and this year has been one of the worst. The firing of Larry Eustachy, the successful basketball coach we thought we be around forever, and the defection of Gene Chizik, the unsuccessful football coach that we all thought had us poised for future success, each made us a bit of joke. The lack of success in those two programs (the two that matter most at any school) makes everyone in the athletic department uncomfortable and, unfortunately, we're always waiting for the next shoe to drop.
No one, anywhere, thought that said shoe would be the defection of Cael Sanderson. The surprise of that development makes me question the entire state of athletics in Ames.