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GDC
10/23/2005, 09:07 PM
Interesting.




Wrestling needs to quit competing with hoops
By JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
10/23/2005

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Wrestling should change its season, either moving it up or back, to avoid a conflict with the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

That is not an admission by the wrestling community that basketball is a better sport. It is simple reality that college basketball's popularity overshadows wrestling to such a degree that a date change is needed.

It is an idea that was first discussed by the National Wrestling Coaches Association in 1997.

Wrestling had other pressing issues at the time, such as weight loss regulations, but now is the time to resurrect a date change.

"Anything that helps our sport get the recognition it deserves, I'm for," said Oklahoma State coach John Smith. "Certainly, if we could get out of our current dates and away from March Madness, it would be a good thing.

"I believe the media attention would skyrocket and it would certainly be good for our fans at Oklahoma State. Right now they have to choose and there's no denying the popularity of NCAA basketball and what coach Eddie Sutton has done here."

Sutton has turned the Cowboys into national contenders, with two Final Fours in 10 years.

But what Smith is doing with OSU is of historic significance. Last year's Cowboys won a third

straight NCAA Championship and crowned five individual national champs.

Four of those champions return this year, prompting some to speculate this could be one of the greatest collegiate teams in the history of the sport. It will be shooting for a fourth straight title at Oklahoma City's Ford Center.

The problem is not attendance. The NCAA Wrestling Tournament sells out, all three days, every year. It is one of the top four events among the NCAA Championships, trailing basketball and baseball.

However, the amount of national exposure is limited by the date of the event. The wrestling tournament is the same weekend as the first and second rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Last year was a perfect example of what's wrong with the date for wrestling. While the wrestling Cowboys were making history in St. Louis, the basketball Cowboys were playing games in Oklahoma City.

Then-athletic director Harry Birdwell flew back-and-forth between Oklahoma City and St. Louis to see both. That's not possible for most fans.

It is also not possible for most media outlets. Given a choice, most media will pick the more popular of the two sports among their readership and listeners -- basketball.

Thus, wrestling doesn't get the attention it would if the tournament would be moved to February or into mid-April.

USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport, would prefer an earlier season. International events are held through the spring and summer and moving to mid-April could crowd into the schedule of wrestlers hoping to be on the national teams.

Still, Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling says whatever is best for the sport in this country is what should be done.

"It is frustrating to see our great NCAA Tournament get lost in all of the publicity about the NCAA Basketball Tournament," said Abbott.

"We just need to be realistic about what is best for our sport. We'll do whatever we can do to help our sport but we do need to remember that we don't set the international schedule."

Many coaches, including OSU's Smith, believe the collegiate season is too long. Starting the season around Thanksgiving and ending in February would be fine with Smith.

If the season is pushed back, with a national tournament in mid-April, then the start date should be moved to Jan. 1.

"If we are going to change, and I'm a believer in it, then we need to be proactive and get it done," said Smith. "We need to get that legislation done with the NCAA and get with our host cities and get something done.

"Look, the media coverage is responsible for how big March Madness has become. We need to give our sport the same chance to be successful. To do that, we have to move to a date when the media can pay attention to us."

Filling the arena is not a problem. So, some coaches believe if it's not broken then there's no need to fix it.

But this is about giving wrestling an opportunity to expand its popularity.

"This has been talked about for a long time," said Mike Moyer, executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association. "The NCAA Wrestling Tournament is our premier event. There is a feeling among many coaches that we don't give wrestling a chance to grow because we've become locked into these dates.

"There is pretty wide disagreement over what should be done if anything."

The trend of colleges dropping wrestling, a serious problem in the last 20 years, has been reversed recently with 19 programs starting or being revived in the last three years.

Issues surrounding weight loss, and the safe way to monitor it, have been addressed.

Now, it is time for wrestling to give itself a chance.

"It makes all of the sense in the world," said Lee Roy Smith, executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. "If it doesn't work then it could always be moved back.

"But trying to do something to make your sport better is something we should always be willing to try."

I agree.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


John Klein 581-8368
john.klein@tulsaworld.com

critical_phil
10/24/2005, 12:23 AM
it's a shame that college wrestling has almost been killed by title IX. something does need to be done to get whatever exposure that can be given, and moving the national tournament up/back by about 3 weeks would help.

also, it's somewhat hard to believe that espn or fox wouldn't pick up at least the national tourney (i know espn did show the finals last year). for cryin out load, they'll show poker, fishing, and darts - but no wrestling. it'd be great to have a duel of the week on TV or something.

on a related subject, it's sad to see the decline of wrestling here in oklahoma at the jr high and high school level. when i go to a high school football game, i can't believe how much bigger and faster the kids are than when i played. not so with wrestling. outside of a few places (namely el reno and ponca city), the quality of wrestling/coaching has really dropped off.


and P.S., gdc:

got it!

\m/

soonerjoker
10/24/2005, 10:36 AM
espn even has dog shows & spelling bee's.

yermom
10/24/2005, 11:35 AM
it's a shame that college wrestling has almost been killed by title IX. something does need to be done to get whatever exposure that can be given, and moving the national tournament up/back by about 3 weeks would help.

also, it's somewhat hard to believe that espn or fox wouldn't pick up at least the national tourney (i know espn did show the finals last year). for cryin out load, they'll show poker, fishing, and darts - but no wrestling. it'd be great to have a duel of the week on TV or something.

on a related subject, it's sad to see the decline of wrestling here in oklahoma at the jr high and high school level. when i go to a high school football game, i can't believe how much bigger and faster the kids are than when i played. not so with wrestling. outside of a few places (namely el reno and ponca city), the quality of wrestling/coaching has really dropped off.


and P.S., gdc:

got it!

\m/


we need a women's wrestling team :texan:

i knew a girl that tried to wrestle in HS... i can't remember if they actually let her or not

critical_phil
10/24/2005, 11:54 AM
we need a women's wrestling team :texan:

i knew a girl that tried to wrestle in HS... i can't remember if they actually let her or not

women's collegiate wrestling is big in canada. it's now an olympic medal sport.


i've seen a few girls at the jr. high level, but most give it up in high school (wrestling, that is..) i'm sure it's happened before, but i've still never seen a female win against a male - though i did see a girl from moore west jr. high come really close last year, losing by a questionable call in the last second.

soonerjoker
10/25/2005, 10:09 AM
some of the "legal holds" could not be performed by a male on a
female; in public.

also, a coach couldn't use a "hands-on approach" on females, like he could
their male counterparts.

soonerjoker
10/25/2005, 10:10 AM
on the other hand, it works well in mud or jello.

critical_phil
2/6/2006, 12:04 PM
... i'm sure it's happened before, but i've still never seen a female win against a male - though i did see a girl from moore west jr. high come really close last year, losing by a questionable call in the last second.


disclaimer: i don't get to many matches in alaska.


http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=2320537


Sunday, February 5, 2006
Girl first to win state prep wrestling title over boys

Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Michaela Hutchison became the first girl in the nation to win a state high school wrestling title while competing against boys.

Hutchison won the final of the 103-pound weight class during Alaska's big school wrestling championships. The Skyview High sophomore entered the state tournament ranked No. 1 in her weight class.

Amid chants of "C'mon, Michaela" and "Girl power," Hutchison earned a 1-0 victory Saturday over Colony High School's Aaron Boss.

She scored an escape with 16 seconds left to beat Boss for the second time in two weeks. Family and friends mobbed Hutchison as she walked away from the mat with a bloody nose, while the crowd rose in a standing ovation.

"They were helping me," Hutchison told the Anchorage Daily News.

She finished the season with a 45-4 record that included 33 pins, one shy of the state single-season record. Hutchison is the third in her family of 10 children to win a state title, joining brothers Zeb and Eli.


even though it's the 103 lb class and it's in alaska, 45-4 w/ a state title is pretty damned impressive - and she's just a sophomore.

yermom
2/6/2006, 12:11 PM
i'm sure having to wrestle with 2 older brothers didn't hurt her chances :eek: