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Tofurky

Wrestling as a one semester sport

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I was thinking today about wrestling as a one semester sport and the pros and cons, specifically weather. One thing it had me thinking about was the Community Colleges of California and that their start date this season is August 15, with a state finals date of December 12. In such a drought stricken and sometimes-unforigavbly-hot region, do the CCCAA wrestling teams see more people attending their events as the temps cool down or do the attendance numbers generally remain flat through out the season? Fans of California wrestling and the CCCAA teams, what are your thoughts on the general state of CCC wrestling in your state in relation to a one semester schedule?

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For what it's worth, the only scheme I've ever heard/read about would be a January-April schedule, not moving wrestling to fall. One of the reasons: to get the NCAA wrestling championships out from under the 800-pound gorilla that is basketball championships, with the hope that, once b-ball is over, sports media can focus on the oldest-and-greatest sport.

 

I remember writing about this topic a decade ago -- J Robinson really pushed for it in a number of interviews he gave in the mid 2000s. I can imagine it had been discussed long before that. It's one of those perpetual issues, like stalling. We talk, but nothing much changes.

 

Mark

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^^As I recall, back in the 1950's/early 1960's college wrestling basically was mid Dec thru last weekend in March.  Concerning media coverage, in April there is NASCAR racing, major league and local baseball, soccer, on and on.  We already have excellent coverage of the NCAA tournament - unnecessary to move it out of March, when we have large crowds and excellent coverage.

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If it becomes a one semester sport, wouldn't the plan be to put it to the spring semester and not at the same time as football?

 

That's my thought. However, I remember some one some months back when this topic was being discussed mentioning improving weather and being indoors. My question then is how does this play into attendance for the California teams who wrestle from August to December, when the season starts of hot as blazes? 

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^^As I recall, back in the 1950's/early 1960's college wrestling basically was mid Dec thru last weekend in March.  Concerning media coverage, in April there is NASCAR racing, major league and local baseball, soccer, on and on.  We already have excellent coverage of the NCAA tournament - unnecessary to move it out of March, when we have large crowds and excellent coverage.

 

What "excellent coverage"? I am assuming this is a very regional thing. Even here in Chicagoland Illinois, the third largest city and the second largest wrestling state in the U.S., with cadet and junior teams who have routinely been among the top two teams in the country at the level for the past decade, we don't receive much coverage beyond online newspapers. That wouldn't change anything where I am because we already don't have much of it. I cannot speak for other areas of the country. Is wrestling celebrated as a major sport in any part of this country?

 

If you're talking about ESPN, four of the six sessions were on on ESPNU, which is not showing baseball, basketball, NASCAR, et al. (not soccer and we have an MSL team) That said, The contract with the NCAA has the main event on ESPN anyhow, but it gets you away from March Madness, which is a big win. 

 

Finally, when you talk about large crowds, I feel as though those folks will attend the event anyway because of their love of the sport. For those who do regularly attend, if NCAAs were held six to seven weeks later in the year than they are now, would warmer weather keep you from going or enhance your experience? Maybe I am wrong, but I suspect it would be the latter.

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Yes, ESPN coverage of our Div I NCAA tournament, imo, is excellent.  Yes, there are tons of sports going on in April that get media coverage, and I doubt that the Div I NCAA tournament is going to get much more coverage by being moved away from the Div I B'ball tournament.

 

What, the Washington Post is going to start covering college wrestling, because its Div I NCAA tournament is in April?  Charlotte Observer cuts back on its April coverage of NASCAR because its covering April college wrestling?

 

Right, the weather is warmer in April than in March.

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^^Bruce Closson and I (back when we were younger) sometimes used to go to Div I wrestling events and stream them over WR.com.  Free coverage aimed at showing amateur wrestling, and we got rather good results.  You know, more Div I programs could stream their home events and get amateur wrestling coverage out to the whole country.  SELF HELP AIMED AT INCREASING OUR GREAT SPORT's POPULARITY.

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Is college basketball really a problem for wrestling? One of the reasons wrestling gets so much coverage of the NCAA tournament is because ESPN has no rights to the basketball tournament. If the championships was moved to April, wrestling would have to contend with the NBA playoffs, which ESPN does televise. 

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For me, the issue of "coverage" for the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships is NOT about "more TV/streaming coverage" -- I agree, that's all we can ask for, and more.*

 

What I mean is -- getting USA Today and major local newspapers -- along with Sports Illustrated, ESPN, and other national sports media -- to even MENTION the event, let alone provide anything remotely appearing to be ongoing reporting coverage. I've always figured this was a problem in large part because of March Madness basketball.

 

Mark

 

* To think that a bit more than a decade ago, we were still stuck with limited, tape-delayed coverage of the NCAA finals. (Remember when ESPN interrupted whatever they were showing, to show Cael Sanderson's last college match LIVE?) We've come a long way, baby.

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One Semester or not - wrestling is a minor to non-existent sport in many States after High School. Almost non-existent in High School in some States.

Want more time devoted to it on TV and Radio? Start with the sports broadcasters and reporters. A few dozen subscribers and callers asking about Wrestling will get their attention. Two or three will not. A concerted and planned calling program to sports shows where they get a half dozen or more calls every show will raise their level of awareness.

 

I know a few national sports talk hosts and they all say they can count on one hand  the callers who want to talk wrestling - and it seems to be the same callers to more than one talk show host. If they got calls from a few dozen different listeners most days into a week we would get more coverage.

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Personally, as I've mentioned before, college wrestling needs to shift its season away from the high school season; that's the first step in growing dual meet attendance.  Too many coaches, athletes, and family who would likely go to college duals aren't because they have high school commitments that come first.  Shift away from the overlap in seasons, and we won't be cannibalizing our fan base.  

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Personally, as I've mentioned before, college wrestling needs to shift its season away from the high school season; that's the first step in growing dual meet attendance.  Too many coaches, athletes, and family who would likely go to college duals aren't because they have high school commitments that come first.  Shift away from the overlap in seasons, and we won't be cannibalizing our fan base.  

rather keep the seasons overlapping and have the middle and high school kids DVR and stream the matches they want to see. pre middle school they can skip practice and meets and go to the college and UWW events. 

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Yes, ESPN coverage of our Div I NCAA tournament, imo, is excellent.  Yes, there are tons of sports going on in April that get media coverage, and I doubt that the Div I NCAA tournament is going to get much more coverage by being moved away from the Div I B'ball tournament.

 

What, the Washington Post is going to start covering college wrestling, because its Div I NCAA tournament is in April?  Charlotte Observer cuts back on its April coverage of NASCAR because its covering April college wrestling?

 

Right, the weather is warmer in April than in March.

 

Something tells me you're making effort to be incredibly condescending here, Mr. Pipe, but I'll continue ignoring that ridiculous notion.

 

Why is the debate always around television coverage? Do the fans who attend nationals or watch it online think, "Well, thankfully NCAAs is in March, because if I had to choose between watching live or streaming NCAAs or a NASCAR event, NASCAR wins 10 out of 10 times if it's after April 1"? I don't think so. The NCAA/ESPN contract is the contract, no matter when that happens, so the coverage is going to continue because it already receives ratings and the die hards, as I assume everyone who watches NCAA wrestling in March to be, is not going to change.

 

There are tons of sports in March too. Spring baseball for the MLB with the run up to the start of the season, for one. NBA basketball and NHL hockey are both closing in on the ends of their seasons and their run up to the post-season. The NFL Draft is a massive television time suck and doesn't only happen in April. Then there is March Madness. Show me one ideal time when you believe that wrestling will truly command television ratings, which is really non-existent at what you consider to be optimal.

 

The true meaning behind the original post is to think about what's in the best interest of the student-athletes first, the length of the season, second and then how weather would potentially compliment attendance to wrestling events after that. 

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Is college basketball really a problem for wrestling? One of the reasons wrestling gets so much coverage of the NCAA tournament is because ESPN has no rights to the basketball tournament. If the championships was moved to April, wrestling would have to contend with the NBA playoffs, which ESPN does televise. 

 

ABC also owns rights to many weekend games in the first and second round of the playoffs. That's a relatively easy fix for one night out of the year.

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rather keep the seasons overlapping and have the middle and high school kids DVR and stream the matches they want to see. pre middle school they can skip practice and meets and go to the college and UWW events. 

 

Why?

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1. Getting the sport away from Thanksgiving/hunting and Christmas is one area to keep kids out for the sport.

2. Going to one semester in the spring will help incoming freshmen adjust more easily balancing college life, academics and wrestling.

3. Going into April or even early May potentially releases the biggest fan base wrestling could have. Wrestlers aged 5-18 years of age, their parents and siblings included. Right now they do not have the time to follow college wrestling.

 

It's a no brainer but alas, our sport is run by coaches who may do a fine job recruiting and running a team of 40 wrestlers but have zero expertise in calling the shots on how the sport is run. The sooner the NCAA and a network starts making all the decisions for wrestling, the better.

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1. Getting the sport away from Thanksgiving/hunting and Christmas is one area to keep kids out for the sport.

2. Going to one semester in the spring will help incoming freshmen adjust more easily balancing college life, academics and wrestling.

3. Going into April or even early May potentially releases the biggest fan base wrestling could have. Wrestlers aged 5-18 years of age, their parents and siblings included. Right now they do not have the time to follow college wrestling.

 

It's a no brainer but alas, our sport is run by coaches who may do a fine job recruiting and running a team of 40 wrestlers but have zero expertise in calling the shots on how the sport is run. The sooner the NCAA and a network starts making all the decisions for wrestling, the better.

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3. Going into April or even early May potentially releases the biggest fan base wrestling could have. Wrestlers aged 5-18 years of age, their parents and siblings included. Right now they do not have the time to follow college wrestling.

 

I've not ever had the fortune of attending the NCAAs, but how many children and families are in the stands?

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As a former college wrestler, it would be great if wrestlers did not have to cut weight over the course of two semesters,. Cutting weight over Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years was never pleasant. Starting in the second semester would be ideal. 

 

These were issues for our guys too, even though we weren't DI. Hell, as a coach I wish we could have moved to one semester to get away from the glut of holidays.

 

Back to some original thoughts, does California support wrestling at the CCC level by attending events or is it an after thought? Due to football season coinciding with the start of CCC wrestling season, does community college wrestling see very little to no interest?

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