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Grow Wrestling As Opposed To Saving Wrestling

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  • Grow Wrestling As Opposed To Saving Wrestling

    What is the future of the NWCA National Duals?

    Moyer would like to see the NCAA recognize the duals as another national championships. Aint happening. NCAA isn't going to recognize two team national championships for one sport.

    Check out Cael Sanderson's comments regarding the verbage of "save wrestling" vs "grow wrestling"

    Personally, I believe that this event could become significantly prestigious and attract a lot of fans. I do not like when it is currently scheduled.

    Lauden


    Mike Moyer, the executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, looks at stagnant dual meet attendance figures, sees a sport that needs more riding on the outcome of its regular season and views Mat Mayhem as a solution to some of college wrestling’s biggest issues.
    Penn State coach Cael Sanderson looks at his television listings and sees more college wrestling meets than ever on TV, and thinks there are better alternatives for growing the sport than the overhauled format of the National Duals.
    Iowa coach Tom Brands shares some of Sanderson’s skepticism about Mat Mayhem, but he also promised Moyer he’d give the event a chance and bring the Hawkeyes — the sport’s biggest box office draw — back to the NWCA’s dual tournament after a one-year hiatus.
    The 24-team tournament kicked off Saturday at Rutgers and continues today with regional meets at Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Cornell. The six-team meet at Hilton Coliseum begins at 11 a.m., and features fifth-ranked Iowa, Iowa State, Northern Iowa, No. 16 Oregon State, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.
    Regional champions advance to next Sunday’s Final Four at a site yet to be announced.
    Moyer thinks the tournament is vital to the wrestling’s long-term growth.
    “This has to happen in our sport,” he said. “I hope, at some point, the NCAA puts their name on it and it’s another NCAA championship. But I really believe that we’ve got to get back to exciting, meaningful dual meets.”
    Moyer points to flat-line dual attendance across the country during the past decade. He said he doesn’t know how wrestling can increase its regular-season crowds until the outcome of every dual meet carries weight toward determining a national dual meet champion.
    Some coaches at some of the sport’s powerhouse programs, on the other hand, aren’t sure Mat Mayhem is the answer.
    “We’ve been trying to get this thing done for 25 years,” Minnesota coach J Robinson said. “You need to pack (arenas), you need to make half a million dollars and then the NCAA is going to want it, and then you can bargain with the NCAA to get the things wrestling needs to grow. If we don’t do that, we won’t grow. Those things are very, very important. Dual meets play a big role in it.”
    The teams in this year’s field accepted invitations prior to the season, but Moyer hopes to implement an in-season qualification system.
    Thirteen of the top 16 teams in the national rankings are in the field, but one program is noticeably absent. Sanderson’s second-ranked Nittany Lions, the defending NCAA champions, opted to wrestle Saturday night at Utah Valley.
    Robinson said Penn State’s decision not to compete in Mat Mayhem is “shortsighted.”
    Sanderson defended the decision and said the event seemed hastily assembled. He questions whether showcasing the sport in February on four campuses where wrestling is healthy is the answer while numerous other programs go through the month without a home dual.
    “You’ve got the guys who are out there crying, ‘Save wrestling, this is how you save wrestling,’ ” Sanderson told reporters at Penn State this week. “I totally disagree with that. You shouldn’t be saying ‘save wrestling’ in the first place. If you want to save wrestling, you talk about growing wrestling. Anybody hears ‘save wrestling’ and they think it’s the Titanic. That’s the mentality I think we need to get away from as a sport. You’ve got to grow wrestling and that’s what we’re doing. We’re going out to an area that needs help.”
    Brands, whose program drew criticism last year when it skipped the National Duals, said he doesn’t fault Sanderson. He said the Nittany Lions are “doing their part” for wrestling by packing the stands for their home arenas and creating a buzz for wrestling out East.
    “I don’t know how important this is to saving wrestling. I tend to be in Sanderson’s camp a little bit,” he said. “There needs to be a better model.You can’t just chop two weeks off the season and jam (everything into) 16 dates. … It just doesn’t work. We’re willing to do it, to give it a try, but somebody’s going to have to figure out a lot better model.”
    "It's not the six minutes, it's what happens in those six minutes"

  • #2
    Interesting comments from Sanderson, but I think it's semantics. Look at what J. Robinson had to say...he's also talking about growing the sport. In my opinion, growing the sport IS the way you save it, which is the goal of this event. I'm not sure whether mat mayhem is the answer, but I think it's a start. I know the Illini coaches like the new format better than the old one. Brands is right that this year's event seems rather "thrown together," but that's not uncommon when you completely revamp an event like this. Like anything else, the second year should run more smoothly than the first.

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