Samaranch, son of the late former IOC president, is a vice president of the International Modern Pentathlon Union. Yet IOC spokesman Mark Adams said Samaranch and all other executive board members were allowed to participate in the discussions and vote on which sports would remain in the Olympics.
According to both Scherrs, wrestling's leaders wrongly assumed their sport was out of danger after giving up two men's weight classes to make room for women in the Olympics.
Bill Scherr heard otherwise while talking to IOC members on behalf of Chicago's failed bid to host the 2016 Olympics, and he sent warnings to FILA through its U.S. representatives.
"In no way were they heeded," he said. "They thought their position as an ancient Olympic sport would protect them."
Now the sport is scrambling to make a belated lobbying effort before the next executive board decision in May while contemplating what it would mean to be ousted from the Olympics.
"Life will still go on, as it did with other sports that were removed," said Bruce Baumgartner, a two-time Olympic champion and four-time medalist. "But the Olympics, for wrestling, is the showcase."
It was the showcase that lured Bill Scheer into the sport after he watched wrestling legend Dan Gable take gold at the 1972 Olympics. That inspiration will be missing, and its absence eventually might lead cash-strapped athletic directors to use that as an excuse to cut college programs.
"The No. 1 goal when you start out in this sport is to think about being an Olympic champion," Montini High School coach Israel Martinez said. "But when something like this happens, you forget about everything else. The only thing that remains is one common goal, and that's to save wrestling."