Two of the issues I remember coming up with them-
1. Travel. Too few opponents within a reasonable distance. I realize the PAC-10 is worse but that's what I heard.
2. Recruiting. The fact that they could only be successful by recruiting out of state (and generally far out of state). I don't know what the relevant stats are for football/bball to note possible hypocrisy but again these were points discussed way back when.
2 was a problem then. It is NOT a problem today.
The SEC sponsored wrestling for 12 seasons 1969-1970 through 1980-1981.
There was never more than 7 teams that had wrestling.
Louisiana State, Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida with Kentucky adding wrestling in the 1974-1975 season.
1974-1975 through 1979-1980 the SEC had all seven teams. It wasn't until the SEC's final season, 1980-1981 that Florida and Alabama dropped, thus making SEC only 5 teams. When Auburn announced that they would be dropping wrestling after winning the 1981 SEC tournament, that was the end of SEC wrestling.
So let's look at it from a logical standpoint.
I already pointed out about Georgia. There's absolutely no reason why Georgia couldn't form a decent wrestling team with mainly wrestlers from Georgia on that team.
Florida is no different. There are currently 40 Division I wrestlers among 28 teams in Division I wrestling, competing today.
As of Intermatwrestle's November rankings two of them were ranked
#9 Jared Prince Navy 141 lbs
#13 Yoanse Meijas 174 lbs
So, statistically there are two teams in the SEC, Florida and Georgia, that could field teams with local talent without much problem.
I'll add a third in Tennessee.
Chattanooga has fielded a decent team, one that competes strong (often wins) the Southern Conference tournament year in and year out. These teams are often made up with local Tennessee talent, and often have kids from the surrounding Southern States as well. 22 members of the current Moc team are from the south with 10 from Georgia, 7 from Tennessee, 2 from Kentucky, and 1 from Alabama and Louisiana.
Georgia, Florida, Tennessee - Three SEC teams that could sponsor wrestling and easily field teams with local talent.
Now lets look at the other teams in the SEC
Missouri is already a shoe-in. So we're done discussing them.
I'll eliminate Mississippi and Mississippi State. We've yet to get wrestling sanctioned in their high schools. No use of even remotely dreaming about collegiate wrestling in Mississippi until we can get it their at the youth, junior high and high school level.
Texas A&M I might as well add as a fourth team that could field their team with local talent. 35 current Division I wrestlers among 24 teams in the 2017-2018 season. No reason the school couldn't field a team full of kids who graduated high school in the lone star state. Also have nearby Oklahoma to recruit from as well. Not everyone can be an OSU Cowboy or Oklahoma Sooner.
South Carolina, I'll have to have someone else make an analysis here. I don't know much about South Carolina, but obviously Presbyterian College must feel confident enough in the high school wrestling that the state produces to field a wrestling program next season.
Arkansas is a funny one to think about it. Wrestling in the state at the high school level is less than 10 years old. Yet, today there are 3 wrestlers in Division I that graduated from an Arkansas high school and their have been wrestlers in the past as well. Forming a team with strictly kids from Arkansas would be a challenge. I'll admit.
Louisiana State is pretty much a lot like Arkansas. Although high school wrestling has been in the state much longer, results are about the same. State has produced some outstanding talent. Daniel Cormier and David Bonin being among two of them. However, it isn't consistent. Only 4 wrestlers at the Division I level this season graduated from a Louisiana high school.
Kentucky has 7 wrestlers currently wrestling Division I in the 2017-2018 season. Not as good as Florida, Georgia, Tennessee or Texas, but better than Louisiana and Arkansas.
That leaves Alabama and Auburn. 9 wrestlers in Division I right now are from Alabama. While not near as strong as Georgia, Florida, and Texas, what Alabama has going for it is that Georgia and Florida both produce a ton of talent. Nearby state recruiting for the gaps that in state talent might leave.
So let's take what we have
Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Texas A&M, South Carolina, Missouri - Logically, statistically, realistically could produce competitive wrestling teams with talent from their own states or nearby states. I'd say 75% or higher of rosters could be local talent. 100% in Georgia and Florida. Kids who graduated from the same state.
Alabama, Auburn - Would have to recruit heavier from nearby states, but could still field decent wrestling teams with nearby talent.
Louisiana State, Arkansas and Kentucky - More challenging. Making up teams full of kids from in state here would be more difficult. Here is where out of state recruiting would come more into play.
Ole Miss and Mississippi State - Forget about it.
I feel very confident in a 6 out of 13 teams have wrestling SEC conference. With Missouri leading the way at first, it'd only be a matter of time before Georgia and Florida, with their own local talent were both consistently top 20 teams year in and year out if not better. Talking multiple NCAA qualifiers with each team producing 1-3 All Americans per year.
An 8 out of 13 teams have SEC conference I feel is also realistic, adding in Alabama and Auburn.
11 out of 13 is realistically the best I think we could hope for. 6 out of 13 the most realistic, 8 out of 13 doable.
13/13 not happening anytime soon. The state of Mississippi has been anti-wrestling for a very long time. When the SEC decided to do wrestling back in the 1969-1970 season, the athletic directors at both schools responded, "No, never." Looks like they meant it.
But yeah, I'll say it one more time. No reason why for the talent that Georgia and Florida produces at the high school level that the state can't provide at least one Division I opportunity for its athletes. Starting with the Bulldogs and the Gators would be a fantastic idea.
My two cents, for what they're apparently not worth.
Edited by JohnnyThompsonnum1, 10 January 2018 - 09:28 AM.
"Gable said something in the newspapers to the effect that he had to show up on the podium and accept defeat like he accepted winning. Personally, I think that's the mark of a true sportsman. Such antics as having to be called repeatedly to the awards podium, hopping down prematurely, trashing one's medal at the venue, etc., don't show how much a guy hates to lose, etc. Taking a loss like a man, then coming back to compete harder (again like Gable did) does." Hurricanewrestling