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Thread: College Wrestling poised to for a comeback (Article)

  1. #1
    Olympic Champ kr1963's Avatar
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    Star College Wrestling poised to for a comeback (Article)

    John Klein: College wrestling poised for a comeback | Tulsa World

    STILLWATER - Former Iowa coach Dan Gable believes wrestling, encouraged by better than expected television ratings in recent years, has a chance to regain its position as one of the most popular collegiate sports.

    Gable was among the top wrestling officials at the recent National Wrestling Hall of Fame induction ceremony and believes the sport is poised for a comeback in both participation and fans.

    "I think what we've done with the Big Ten Network has opened a lot of eyes," said Gable, who led the Hawkeyes to 15 national championships. "The exposure and positives for our sport have been great.

    "There were a lot of people that were surprised when we found out that wrestling was the third most-watched sport on the Big Ten Network. It is certainly something to build on."

    The three leading organizations for amateur wrestling in the country announced a "Wrestling Alliance" agreement to work together to promote the sport during the recent Honors Week at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

    Rich Bender, executive director of USA Wrestling, Mike Moyer, executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association, and Lee Roy Smith, executive director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, announced the agreement.

    Wrestling suffered a decline in popularity, participation and in fan interest during the 1990s and early 2000s. That dip has been blamed on a wide variety of factors from Title IX regulations, lack of television exposure and new rules that some believe made the sport more boring.

    The Wrestling Alliance is being formed to reverse the trend, something that many believe has already happened.

    Gable, one of the legends in the sport, has high hopes that what is happening in the Big Ten, where the sport seems to be enjoying a rebirth and growth, will spread around the country.

    "The very nature of the sport is about the competitive nature of the sport," said Gable. "I want John Smith (OSU coach) and Cael Sanderson (Penn State coach) and Tom Brands (Iowa coach) to be very competitive on the mat. That is part of the beauty of our sport.

    "That does not mean we can't all work together to build our sport. We have to do that. We can do that. This is not about Iowa vs. Oklahoma or Gable vs. Smith. This is about doing what is right for our sport."

    What is right is looking for ways to bring wrestling back to the attention of fans.

    The success of wrestling on the Big Ten Network has certainly given a boost to high hopes for what is possible in the Big 12's new television contract.

    "I think what has happened on the Big Ten Network is something that we want to look at here in the Big 12," said OSU coach John Smith. "I would like to see the types of things that have happened in the Big Ten be expanded into our own television contract.

    "Actually, the new television opportunities in the Big 12 is a great thing for all of our sports. Hopefully, we can maintain the exposure our sport currently gets and expand on it."

    The NCAA Tournament got new expanded coverage this spring but there are hopes among some in the wrestling community that it can be a starting point.

    The Big Ten Network has been partially successful with wrestling because of the popularity of the sport stretching from Penn State in the east to Iowa in the west.

    The Big 12 will admittedly be in a different situation.

    Big 12 wrestling would likely be a popular televised event in Oklahoma, Iowa and Missouri.

    However, in Texas, the largest television footprint by far in the Big 12, wrestling isn't likely to be much of a factor.

    Still, Smith believes "we can do a lot with what we have in the Big 12".

    The Big 12 will have four of the top schools in NCAA wrestling. It could be argued that all four wrestling schools (OSU, Oklahoma, Iowa State and Missouri) are among the perennial top 10 in the country.

    Zeke Jones, coach of the U.S. Freestyle team, said gaining popularity for the sport can be as simple as Olympic success.

    "Americans love winning," said Jones. "If we can win medals and have success that is the greatest thing we could do for our sport.

    "To be honest, there are a lot of things that could help our sport. But, if we win medals and have a good showing that will do as much as anything."

    The Wrestling Alliance, formed to coordinate the efforts for expanded interest in wrestling, will look at everything.

    "There has never been a more important time in the history of wrestling in the United States," said Moyer. "We have to work toward common goals."

    In other words, working like heck to beat Iowa or Penn State is great inspiration. But when it is over, Cowboys and Hawkeyes and Sooners and Nittany Lions better be willing to work together.

    John Klein: College wrestling poised for a comeback | Tulsa World

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    World Champ ODH's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Wrestling poised to for a comeback (Article)

    Quote Originally Posted by kr1963;413199
    Wrestling suffered a decline in popularity, participation and in fan interest during the 1990s and early 2000s. That dip has been blamed on a wide variety of factors from Title IX regulations, lack of television exposure and new rules that some believe made the sport more boring.

    The [URL="http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/article.aspx?subjectid=203&articleid=20110617_203_ B1_SILAEo553622"
    John Klein: College wrestling poised for a comeback | Tulsa World[/URL]
    Isn't this true only for Collegiate wrestling? I had heard that scholastic wrestling has had a steady increase in participation.

  3. #3

    Default Re: College Wrestling poised to for a comeback (Article)

    Quote Originally Posted by ODH View Post
    Isn't this true only for Collegiate wrestling? I had heard that scholastic wrestling has had a steady increase in participation.
    HS has been climbing very fast since '01-'02

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    National Finalist FalconWrestlingKY's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Wrestling poised to for a comeback (Article)

    Kentucky has been gaining 1-2 programs a year since about 2002, not sure about other states.
    "I looked up at the scoreboard and I was like, I can't do math that fast!" - Ed Ruth

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    Olympic Champ RYou's Avatar
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    Default Re: College Wrestling poised to for a comeback (Article)

    "I think what we've done with the Big Ten Network has opened a lot of eyes,"

    ...and the BTN still offers minimal wrestling coverage as compared to the other sports.
    Life's not the breaths you take, the breathing in and out that gets you through the day ain't what it's all about. It's the moments that take your breath away.

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