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Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

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Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby JM » Thu Sep 28, 2017 5:39 pm

Trackwrestling's Andy Hamilton reports on some potential significant changes to the D1 wrestling landscape in today's report. Cornell alum Troy Nickerson acts as spokesman for the Task Force looking at the sport.

By Andy Hamilton 9/28/17

"College wrestling could be moving toward monumental changes.

The task force assigned to examine the sport’s long-term health has unanimously approved schedule adjustments that, if passed by the NCAA, would squeeze the Division I season into one semester, culminating with a late-April dual championship tournament.

There’s been chatter before about wholesale changes that would push back practice and competition start dates and bump the NCAA Championships away from its traditional mid-March spot and away from the opening weekend of college basketball’s March Madness.

But this set of recommendations would leave the NCAA Championships in its current place on the calendar. And these talks appear to be picking up steam.

“There’s great momentum,” Ohio State coach Tom Ryan said. “There’s more momentum right now than I’ve seen in 25 years.”

Ryan is part of the Blue Ribbon Task Force responsible for devising a strategic plan for wrestling’s future. Members of the group — which includes Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, North Carolina State athletic director Debbie Yow and NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs Oliver Luck, the former athletic director at West Virginia — said switching to a one-semester sport for academic performance purposes and increasing the importance of dual meets are top priorities.

“If you just look at the facts with wrestling in general, we have a lot of first-generation college students and I think when you add in these kids coming to school and starting preseason right away, cutting weight and trying to get certified for the beginning of the year and then competing really close to those first final exams, it puts a lot of stress on the athletes in that first year,” said Northern Colorado coach Troy Nickerson, a Blue Ribbon Task Force member. “That’s one of the big reasons why we chose the second semester being a better fit for it.

“Then as a sport in general, we need to find a way to make the dual meet matter more. Dual meets are exciting. You’re always going to have your wrestling fans, but I think a dual meet is much more likely to capture that casual fan. … They can conceptualize that a little bit easier than sitting eight hours at a tournament all day long.”

Nickerson said coaches in attendance at last month’s National Wrestling Coaches Association convention unanimously approved the idea of moving to a one-semester season.

“There’s a little kickback in general as to the dual meet championship and how that’s going to work and how that’s going to be scored,” Nickerson said. “With wrestling, there’s some programs that could struggle a little bit more from it, but as of right now with the direction we’re headed, the Blue Ribbon Task Force really wants to see two championships from the NCAA. We’ve proven that the individual championship makes money, it’s very successful for the NCAA and why wouldn’t a dual meet championship be just as successful?”

It remains to be seen how, if at all, possible changes would affect other levels of college wrestling.

“For Division II and Division III, if keeping the season where it is now is best for them, they can do that,” Blue Ribbon Task Force facilitator Jim Fallis said. “And they should do that.”

According to Fallis, the proposed Division I model looks like this:
•Official practices would begin on or around Nov. 10.
•Competition would kick off during the semester break.
•The first half of the season would feature a mixture of duals and individual tournaments leading up to March’s conference tournaments and the NCAA Championships.
•The post-NCAA Championships portion of the season would only consist of duals.
•The season would culminate with a two-weekend, 16-team dual tournament held on college campuses.
•The bracket would be filled by conference dual champions and at-large selections.
•The top eight seeds would each host dual meets on the dual tournament’s first weekend.
•The top remaining seed after the first weekend would play host to an eight-team championship bracket the following weekend.

"Hopefully within the next week or two we'll have a call with the NCAA championship staff and we'll be able to present to them what the Blue Ribbon Task Force was looking at and what do they need from us in order to try to move this forward?" Fallis said. "We're in the process of presenting this to the student-athlete experience committee. A lot of this is obviously relevant to the student-athlete experience. We want to make sure the student-athlete experience committee has an opportunity to have an eye on it and sees that it makes sense for them. It is our hope that there will be thorough vetting across the board by all the groups that have to see it and need to see it and they'll be able to ask the questions and we'll be able to answer those questions. There will obviously be some legislation that's required."

Nickerson is optimistic the task force recommendations will ultimately come to fruition.

“We have a lot of hoops to jump through,” he said. “It’s going to certainly take some time. I think we will ultimately end up there — absolutely — the question is when? Will it be two years from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? I think ultimately we will get there eventually.”
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby JDALU75 » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:53 pm

A lot of us have been in favor of making wrestling a single-season sport. I'm less sure about the two championships concept. Do we really expect guys to go through the rigors of conference and an individual NCAA tournaments, then jump back into duals for another month of wrestling? Sounds like the season will end at Penn State every year.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby gimp » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:09 pm

First I've seen this but would guess the first dual at least 2 weekends after NCAAs which would allow for several days off and then the ability to spin back up over the next week or so.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby thewhorehouseisbusy » Fri Sep 29, 2017 8:35 am

No wrestling until January kind of sucks. Not sure I get it?
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby Legger » Fri Sep 29, 2017 9:35 am

**** I understand the reasons and rationale, but I agree with WH, having to wait until January will be tough, not to even mention the long, long down time period from April to January. Not looking forward to that even a little bit.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby SusquehannaCountry » Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:25 am

If this comes to pass I'll probably start following Ithaca College in addition to Binghamton University.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby JDALU75 » Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:25 pm

I'm a bit confused by the start of practice around Nov 10 and then competitions after Jan 1st. Right now practice starts Oct 10 or so, with competition beginning Nov 1st. We're really going to have an extra month of practice? I expect that a lot of the open tourneys will still be held in December.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby kreitzer » Fri Sep 29, 2017 3:50 pm

I love this motion. The big thing is getting more wrestling on ESPN. I think that the NCAA might be resistant to the two championship idea, but the bottom line is MORE MONEY. Duals must be important for our sport to grow.

I, as a true wrestling fan, think that the sport is already the best. But the saying "if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door" is incorrect. You need to market your mousetrap. Otherwise, you sit on a bunch of great mousetraps that nobody knows about.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby JAD77 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:55 pm

I don't like the concept of NCAA individual conference and national tournaments in the middle of the season.
Let's face it, every kid wants to be an NCAA champ at his weight class. And when you come down to it, wrestling is still a one on one sport. Everyone is just kidding themselves if they think a dual tournament at the end of the year is going to increase fan interest. I just don't like this at all.
The one semester thing I can buy, though. They should just push everything back 30-45 days and quit trying to reinvent the wheel.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby Red Blades » Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:10 pm

JAD77 wrote:I don't like the concept of NCAA individual conference and national tournaments in the middle of the season.


Except it's not in the middle of the season, and the conference and NCAA tournaments still take place in the same time slot - March. What we gain is a 4 week extension for dual championships, and what we lose are a few pre-season tournaments. On the whole, a net gain, IMO.

The beauty of this proposal is that if you don't like the dual meet championship - just ignore it, and pretend nothing has changed! :wink: :)
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby JDALU75 » Mon Oct 02, 2017 6:39 pm

We're still back to the same issue we had with the recent two-week National Duals concept -- what are the teams not selected for the final 16 supposed to do? The final 16 won't be selected until the Monday before the event begins, so they're going to have to scramble to arrange their facilities and travel and all. The other 60 DI teams have to either pack it in early or scramble to arrange some last minute duals to finish out their season. It's great if you're the current incarnations of Penn State, Iowa, Oklahoma State -- you know you'll be in the field.

It also adds a lot of tarnish to any NCAA individual champ who loses a bout during the subsequent weeks. That's not something I care to see.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby RichB » Mon Oct 02, 2017 7:52 pm

thewhorehouseisbusy wrote:No wrestling until January kind of sucks. Not sure I get it?


Actually it says, ~Semester Break~. So That could be as early as maybe Dec 15.

The problem with this proposal is, if you don't make the sweet 16, pretty good chance the season is over. You will get out the fishing pole, or golf clubs or bicycles. Although, I suppose the counterpoint is that now lesser fans of the better teams will stay interested to see the team go for the title.

Who knows, maybe the best thing would be to put every team in the playoffs and decide 80(50?) places
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby Red Blades » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:35 pm

RichB wrote:The problem with this proposal is, if you don't make the sweet 16, pretty good chance the season is over.


And how is that different from any other sport? :roll:
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby RichB » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:37 pm

Red Blades wrote:
RichB wrote:The problem with this proposal is, if you don't make the sweet 16, pretty good chance the season is over.


And how is that different from any other sport? :roll:


60+ wrestling teams are still competing during the last weekend of our sport, now.

Much of the interest in the other sport, when down to 16 teams, comes from GAMBLING.
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Re: Changes to D1 Wrestling in the Wind

Postby gimp » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:48 pm

RichB wrote:Much of the interest in the other sport, when down to 16 teams, comes from GAMBLING.



I'm shocked, SHOCKED!
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