Sports Desk: A risky change for college wrestling?

2013-06-13T15:26:00Z Sports Desk: A risky change for college wrestling?JEFF BUDLONG jbudlong@siouxcityjournal.com Sioux City Journal

There is an idea being floated for college wrestling to bring together the dual and individual national tournaments.

I have a feeling that the immediate feeling among coaches and fans of the sport would be a negative one. There is something special about the way the national champion is determined now and the years of history -- especially in the state of Iowa -- are too important to mess with in many supporters' eyes.

The idea of having teams earn points that would be added to the individual national tournament through a dual tourney is interesting. The farther a team advances in the tournament the more points it would receive.

The hope is to bring more of Division I programs into the title hunt or at least a higher finish. Only 11 schools have won a national wrestling title in 85 years.

The move is about exposure for a sport that enjoys great success at its March showcase but is limited much the rest of the season. Creating multiple events that lend themselves well to television is seen as a way to create more interest and dollars.

I have a feeling this idea would have had very little chance of passing only a few short months ago, but since wrestling has begun its battle to remain in the Olympics the sport has undergone several changes and is still looking at more to draw as many casual fans as possible.

A 24-team dual tournament with incentive throughout the season to earn as high a seed as possible has a chance to draw that interest. If college basketball has taught us anything it is that fans and viewers love brackets and upsets.

While it might seem hard to believe right now could you image the excitement that could be generated if Northern Iowa squared off with Penn State in the dual tournament and pulled out a win. Not only would it be big in the moment for the Panthers, but it would make the individual national tournament much more compelling with teams potentially entering it with a significantly larger amount of points already on the board than the Nittany Lions.

There are still a good number of details that have to be worked out from selection of the 24 teams to the timing of the event, and a number of coaches have proven to be resistant to change in the past. However, it gives people something to think about and keeps wrestling in the news in a time when there has been a major push to increase the sports popularity.

Copyright 2015 Sioux City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Contributors

  • Terry Hersom

    Terry Hersom is sports editor and a senior sports writer for the Journal. He writes about prep and college sports and covers the Sioux City Explorers.

  • Jeff Budlong

    Jeff Budlong is assistant sports editor for the Journal. He writes about prep and college sports.

  • Barry Poe

    Barry Poe is a general assignment sports reporter who writes about prep, college and area pro sports.

  • Jerry Giese

    Jerry Giese is a sports writer for the Journal. He covers the Sioux City Musketeers and area pro sports along with area prep and college sports.

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