I like the idea of boosting fan involvement -- and the prize is really cool -- but I have a bunch of questions after reading this story:
> Has the NCAA cleared this "bending of the rules"? (Am I right in remembering some schools have been penalized in the past for NOT having a random draw for the starting weight, ie, the host school starting with its strongest weight?)
> How do the fans communicate to their coaches? Is it where coach Stroebel says, "OK, Lehigh fans, who do want to see next?" and the fans yell out a name/weight? Or do the coaches see voting online?
> Based on my reading of this, I really don't understand how this really benefits a particular team, seeing that a coach has to give as much "advance notice" as he must I mean, if it were literally a case of, say, 141 is completed, then a coach says, "Bring on the heavyweights!" and the big guys have to come out with NO notice... that would seem to involve strategy in terms of "this is the match we think we can win to build some momentum" and "the element of surprise" (ie, "I saw Penn State's big man napping -- he's not adequately warmed up." But with all the notice, neither of these elements would seem to be much of a factor...
Or am I totally overthinking this!?
Penn State, Lehigh to be pilot schools for NWCA?s Fan Interaction Night December 7
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DATE: 11/16/2007 6:26:00 PM
By National Wrestling Coaches Association
Second-guessing coaches has become a part of sports lore. The Monday morning quarterbacks wondering why coach ran on fourth and goal when a flare to the wideout would have been perfect. Or in cases like wrestling, ?if we could have matched up here, and bumped away there, we could have had it.?
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, in cooperation with the NCAA wrestling competition committee, Lehigh University and Penn State University, are piloting a dual meet that will wrestle weights in a non-traditional order based on each coach?s decision following a completed bout.
Then there?s the kicker, fans will have the ability to talk their coach into putting a set weight out to a mat.
?We think this is going to be innovative and really engage the wrestling fan,? said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer. ?In a way, it?s letting the fan be the coach. If the fans think they should go to 174 because of a matchup after wrestling 141, they can voice it.?
The match is set to take place on December 7 at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem in the annual dual between Pennsylvania powers.
There?s also a kicker for the fan interaction.
?We?ll be running an online contest for fans to pick the exact weight classes in the order of how they?re wrestled. The winner gets two tickets and hotel accommodations to the 2008 NCAA Championships in St. Louis,? explained Moyer. ?In case of a tie, the final score will be used as a tie-breaker.?
While the NCAA rules modified the starting weights in 1998-99 with a random draw for the first weight, but only in extreme circumstances (i.e. travel) have college wrestling duals been wrestled out of order from a set weight.
?We?re really envisioning this to energize the fans from both teams,? said Moyer. ?If Penn State fans know that they?re going to need big points in the next match, they may voice the need for one of their best guys to hit the mat now rather than later.?
The format will be as follows:
At weigh-ins, there will be a coin toss and the winning coach will have the first choice in which weight will be wrestled. The coach losing the toss will then choose a weight.
In order to ensure each weight has ample warm-up time, the third weight will be chosen by the first coach after the completion of the first match; the fourth weight after the second match and so on.
?We?re looking for alternatives that can stimulate fan support and get people coming to the match because of the excitement generated,? said Moyer.
?Penn State and Lehigh seem like natural fits because they have some of the most involved wrestling fans anywhere in the country,? he said. ?We appreciate Coach Troy Sunderland and Coach Greg Strobel for allowing us and the NCAA wrestling competition committee to run this pilot event with their annual dual meet.?
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