I have not read each of the comments so I apologize if I am borrowing or stealing people's opinions. First I am a graduate if the University of Missouri. I was fortunate enough to qualify for NCAAs my freshman year before I was injured and could not continue wrestling. I am currently a high school coach who travels to a lot of the large tournaments throughout the spring and summer. Enough of my background. Now my opinion.
In order to grow our sport I believe that we need to help sell the second tier and lower programs to the public. We have help those programs create a brand. Right now in my opinion, we value the individual over the program in 95% of division 1 wrestling. The only exceptions being Oklahoma State, Iowa, Penn State, and Minnesota and one or two others every couple of years. Individuals in the next set of programs are viewed as more important than the overall team. The issue is, if Ben Askren were my favorite wrestler then I followed Mizzou wrestling for the years he was there and then moved on to a new wrestler, possibly in a new program. If I am a fan of Mizzou wrestling then I follow the program even when he is gone. It is easier to sell an individual exciting wrestler than it is to generate fans of an overall program. However, it is only a short lived gain, especially for the programs that are not in the top 5 every year. We have got to figure out ways to sell all of our college programs to people who are not wrestling fans or people who would ever be on this forum. Getting people to support the teams will create a longer lasting and stronger relationship.
Not sure if the national duals are the answer or not but we do not have much to lose. The individual national championship will always appeal to the die hards because of the certainty of the elite matches. I know my group travels to the NCAAs because of that and we like to get together and talk about how good we were (more imagination than reality).
Lastly, and possibly off topic. We have got to use our own youth to create a fan base. I go to the local youth tournaments and see hundreds of possible fans that do not even know that about an hour away is a top 10 division 1 wrestling program. The day after the Olympic announcement I spoke to my team about the sport we all love being in serious danger. I then asked them how many had traveled down to Mizzou to watch the Mizzou vs. Oklahoma State dual meet a couple weeks prior. (I knew the answer was zero because I had talked to them all about going and went myself but none of them went). Then I asked how many of our football players would have gone to a football game between two top 10 teams. The answer revealed a cold hard truth. We love wrestling but are not fans of the sport. We all love to compete and wrestle but not many of the youth and high school wrestlers like to go watch. Until that changes wrestling will continue to die a slow death.
Enough of my rant. Time for another beer.