Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
TritonCollegeWrstlng

Are all levels of collegiate wrestling made the same?

Recommended Posts

In recent discussion with other coaches, we were all left wondering why wrestling in not supported equally. We weren't necessarily talking about financially, though that was certainly part of the discussion, but in terms of fan support. When looking at the national championships from each division and association, the drop off after NCAA Division I of support by both the overarching organizations and the wrestling community is massive. We needn't look much further than this board to confirm that. Why is that? What is the perception of board members here of the various divisions and why or why not do you place support beyond NCAA Division I?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that is probably the same for almost any sport. Compare D1 basketball to D2 basketball - talk about a MASSIVE drop off support. Football, baseball appears to be the same. I don't think it's limited to wrestling.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The dropoff in support for wrestling is nothing compared to the dropoff in support between D1 and everything else in the revenue sports. At least some of the better non-D1 wrestlers still have fairly widespread name recognition in wrestling (e.g. Joey Davis). Not so for most sports.

 

It's a case of the big leagues versus the little leagues that is there for all sports. The talent level is higher, the level of competition much more intense, and the fan base is not only much bigger (generally larger schools with bigger student body), but disproportionately interested in D1 to boot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The dropoff in support for wrestling is nothing compared to the dropoff in support between D1 and everything else in the revenue sports. At least some of the better non-D1 wrestlers still have fairly widespread name recognition in wrestling (e.g. Joey Davis). Not so for most sports.

 

It's a case of the big leagues versus the little leagues that is there for all sports. The talent level is higher, the level of competition much more intense, and the fan base is not only much bigger (generally larger schools with bigger student body), but disproportionately interested in D1 to boot.

 

Not just a change in talent but people like to follow a winner and it matters what campuses put an emphasis to follow sports. Why wrestle at a PA D1 school in the shadow of Penn State when you can wrestle for Augsburg or Wartburg and have many more fans while having an enjoyable career. Mt Union football. Messiah soccer. Utica or Oswego State ice hockey. All of these programs draw well and the campus gets behind the sport.

 

The top D3 programs often draw well in their sports because they have built a culture around the sport in the same manner that the big schools have. This extends to a lot of different sports.

 

Community Colleges often have great talent (see baseball or basketball) but don't draw because, by their nature, they are transient. There is MUCH more to building a sports culture and following than having talent. This is something the 'pay college athletes' crowd ignores.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DIII W&L used to regularly crush DI VMI in men's lacrosse every year.

 

i think the talent has started to migrate more towards D1 in recent years but back in the 2000s and earlier the top DIII lax teams could usually hang with all the but the top tier scholarship teams.

 

but even still, most lax fans that i know are (and were) all about D1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the replies thus far, guys.

 

Staying on topic, why or why not do YOU choose to follow wrestling past the NCAA Division I level?

 

If the NJCAA, NAIA, NCWA or NCAA Division II or III championships were in your area and you had some time to kill and could attend, would you? Why or why not?

 

A question that most probably cannot answer, but why does Flowrestling cover more kids tournaments than non-D1 collegiate tournaments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for asking this question. As I've stated before, the general perception, in all sports, it seems, is that, anything less than D1 equals a failure. If you're a kid who competes in one of the "lower" levels of collegiate wrestling, you weren't/ aren't good enough to compete in D1, with the occassional exception. I find this perception to be way off base. During the whole "Save Olympic Wrestling" movement, which I was an adamant supporter of, the thought kept entering my mind. We have to change our way of thinking domestically.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the replies thus far, guys.

 

Staying on topic, why or why not do YOU choose to follow wrestling past the NCAA Division I level?

 

If the NJCAA, NAIA, NCWA or NCAA Division II or III championships were in your area and you had some time to kill and could attend, would you? Why or why not?

 

A question that most probably cannot answer, but why does Flowrestling cover more kids tournaments than non-D1 collegiate tournaments?

 

There are a limited amount of exceptions, but on average, a DI wrestler, let alone starter, is considerably better than nearly all lesser divisions. Even the exceptions are often due to DI academic requirements making them ineligible for the DI level.

 

DI is basically the NFL of Folkstyle wrestling. Even the average guy is a "PRO". The other divisions are Arena League. They may have a star or two scattered throughout that could do well in the "PROS" but they are a rare exception. This is proven time and time again at early season open tournaments where schools across divisions compete. It is not uncommon to see a back up, walk-on DI guy trounce a DIII AA.

 

I respect and cheer for the kids in lower divisions and will follow rankings and the National Tournament but it truly is like watching the pros vs. semi-pros in other sports. You can appreciate the sport for what it is, but watching the best of the best is simply more entertaining.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's all relative. Remember when Burroughs said that " comparing me to John Smith is like comparing Dake to me?" It's the same with comparing college divisions. Just because you are d2 or d3 doesn't mean you suck, but as a fan it's natural to want to see the best there is.

 

Is youth wrestling seriously hug business in the US? Why would someone watch a little kid they don't know personally play sports?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the replies thus far, guys.

 

Staying on topic, why or why not do YOU choose to follow wrestling past the NCAA Division I level?

 

If the NJCAA, NAIA, NCWA or NCAA Division II or III championships were in your area and you had some time to kill and could attend, would you? Why or why not?

 

A question that most probably cannot answer, but why does Flowrestling cover more kids tournaments than non-D1 collegiate tournaments?

 

I follow D1 more closely for the same reasons as others.

Outside of the highest levels of competition, a large proportion of wrestling fans have some personal connection to the athletes. For that reason, I also follow the people that I know or know of, regardless of level. I would go to a championship if I knew some folks and/or they served reasonably priced beer.

As for kids, I think they get a lot of coverage because people want to watch kids that they are connected with(relatives and teammates). There are an insane number of entries in some of those tournaments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

D-1 sports get the national media attention and the attention of casual fans but it is the responsibility of the local teams to build their fan base. Iowa wrestling has 10k people at a dual meet but go to Indiana and they may have less than a 1,000. I think one thing that is hurting our sport is that coaches do very little to build awareness of their teams with locals and then blame the sport.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it were about the skill level of the athlete, then world team trials would trounce DI's in attendance.

 

The fact is, NCAA's at the DI level puts forth the best product. They do the most advertising, they worked hard to get the tv deal, and they put in place an atmosphere that is fan friendly. Because no other division from NJCAA-World Team Trials are willing to do the same, the NCAA DI championships gets the attendance, rightly so.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMHO - The lack of support stems from the fact that wrestling fans are not a big group relatively speaking. We are passionate and will spend money and time. My theory is that you basically have an overlap in the fans that follow youth, Jr. High, HS, college and senior. We only have so much time and money we can spend on the sport to watch and support. Therefore we have to make choices. I have XX expendable money and XX vacation days that I can devote to wrestling. As an example, I can go to a HS tournament on Sat and a college match on Sunday. Do I go see a DI match or a DII match on sunday ? Chances are I would opt for the D1 match.

Somewhat related, my theory above is why I am not in favor of the national duel concept. This is another multi day event which will require fans to spend more money and time. Since those resources are limited then the attendance will suffer at the duels or other events throughout the year. I feel you get more bang for your buck at a big tournament than you will at the national duels where your favorite team could be eliminated early and you may be watching matches that you do not care as much about or even leave.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If it were about the skill level of the athlete, then world team trials would trounce DI's in attendance.

 

The fact is, NCAA's at the DI level puts forth the best product. They do the most advertising, they worked hard to get the tv deal, and they put in place an atmosphere that is fan friendly. Because no other division from NJCAA-World Team Trials are willing to do the same, the NCAA DI championships gets the attendance, rightly so.

 

Does the NCAA not share advertising revenue between the divisions? I'm asking because I don't know. It would seem to me that the NCAA is the NCAA and they are in charge of, and one might think, promoting their three brands (I, II and III) similarly for the benefit of ALL student-athletes.

 

The NJCAA does next to no promotion for anything. If I am not mistaken, they leave it up to the host city to promote the championship in their town. That's a major loss for us.

 

I cannot speak for NAIA or the NCWA.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
IMHO - The lack of support stems from the fact that wrestling fans are not a big group relatively speaking. We are passionate and will spend money and time. My theory is that you basically have an overlap in the fans that follow youth, Jr. High, HS, college and senior. We only have so much time and money we can spend on the sport to watch and support. Therefore we have to make choices. I have XX expendable money and XX vacation days that I can devote to wrestling. As an example, I can go to a HS tournament on Sat and a college match on Sunday. Do I go see a DI match or a DII match on sunday ? Chances are I would opt for the D1 match.

Somewhat related, my theory above is why I am not in favor of the national duel concept. This is another multi day event which will require fans to spend more money and time. Since those resources are limited then the attendance will suffer at the duels or other events throughout the year. I feel you get more bang for your buck at a big tournament than you will at the national duels where your favorite team could be eliminated early and you may be watching matches that you do not care as much about or even leave.

 

Thanks for your honesty.

 

Going off your statement of "Do I go see a DI match or a DII match on sunday ? Chances are I would opt for the D1 match." Please, let me ask you this: If you had the choice to watch that dual between a DI team that was ranked, say, 15th-20th vs. another DI team, a mid-major, who consistently struggles to remain competitive, or hit a tournament that features some of the best athletes in DII, DIII, NJCAA, et al, which would you choose and why?

 

I make no claims that all levels are the same talent-wise. That would be foolish. However, are there really more fans for DI than there are for all other levels combined? DI accounts for roughly 20% of all college teams across all levels, but likely doubles or triples the attendance of the national tournaments of DII, DIII, NAIA, NJCAA and NCWA combined.

 

For tournaments we attend, outside of the DIs that routinely hover in the top eight to 10, the depth /back ups are not all created equally. The Penn States, Iowas, Oklahoma States, et al have guys who are third on the depth chart that could reasonably start at other DIs that aren't currently as competitive.

 

I'll give you just one of countless examples we see each season. An NJCAA kid who had never qualified for his state's high school tournament goes up against a DI kid who was four-time qualifier and three-time mid- to high place winner in high school and competes for a fast rising DI program. The NJCAA kid takes down the DI kid with a high crotch, then hits him with a cross face cradle, turning the DI kid and pinning him in less than two minutes. The DI kid's workout partners are two 2014 All-Americans. The NJCAA kid's partners were a handful of guys who all placed in high school once. On paper alone, this shouldn't have been debatable as to who would win, but it happened and happens with frequency. That said, are all NJCAA kids competitive with DI guys? No, but many are. Are all NJCAA guys who beat DI guys at open tournaments DI material? No, but many are.

 

The point is that I believe that the wrestling community in this country really does the entire sport a disservice by ignoring most things outside of DI. We cheer and rah-rah for the Taylors, Dakes and Stiebers, but just as quickly poo-poo the Levasseurs, the Joey Davises and Meneeleys because they aren't wearing a DI singlet when they win their multiple titles. I understand most people have limited time and resources, but supporting wrestling--not just one level--should be more than saying, "I support college wrestling."

 

Heck, Council Bluffs, Iowa will be the home to the NJCAA Championships the next three seasons. Omaha, while not New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, has nearly 1,000,000 people in its metropolitan area. Will the community, if notified of the event, respond or will it simply wave off the hard work and dedication of these young men because they're not Cornhuskers, Hawkeyes, Cyclones or Panthers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Is youth wrestling seriously hug business in the US? Why would someone watch a little kid they don't know personally play sports?

 

1) Yes.

 

2) Because sports dads are insane.

 

Let me elaborate:

 

Sports dads in generaly, but especially wrestling dads living vicariously through their son, will spend enormous amounts of time and money to give their children "the opportunities that I never had." Last weekend, I personally spoke to a dad who drove from Seattle to Reno (700 miles), booked 3 nights of hotel rooms for his family and paid $100s in entry fees and tickets for his son to go 0-2 in Reno World of Wrestling 12 & under. Roughly, that's more than $1k for one boy to wrestle in a single tournament.

 

Reno Worlds specifically drew 2700 (!) pre-paid entries at $50 per. That's $135,000 in entry fees. Add the $20 per session for parents and that's another $54,000 if each wrestler brings one parent who attends a single session. Almost $200,000 (low balling the ticket sales, excluding the more expensive "floor passes") before merchandise.

 

Some people go to 4 or 5 of these deals a year.

 

Why do people watch streams of kids matches? To scout, mimic technique, to generally speculate on who is the next up-and-comer for high school or even junior high. On the local CA board, you can find dozens of posts speculating exactly how much a single youth wrestler weighs and guessing what weight he'll wrestle next year, and hundreds more speculating on where he'll go to high school. I'm sure the other top 10 states have similar situations.

 

Compare youth to D2 wrestling, and you'll find that youth wrestling has a larger pool of competitors, more money floating around, and more "at stake." Once your son is already enrolled and wrestling in a D2 program, you know that he probably won't get a D1 full ride. A lot of youth wrestling dads, on the other hand, must give his wrestler every advantage to get one of those elusive full rides.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i only have so much bandwidth to devout to wrestling. so i try follow the best wrestlers and the teams to which i have an affiliation or affinity to. i have no affiliation or affinity for teams outside of D1 and D3 (no offense), but i'll pay attention to some quality wrestling in the other leagues if i can find coverage on it.

 

personal attendance at any wrestling events is going to be rare. i try to go to one or two events a year but often dont even make that. easier to follow along along the innerwebz.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The interest is tied more to programs than to an athlete's ability. Just look at the Dake vs Taylor debate and it was divided mainly between the Penn State and Penn State rival camps. Yes, there are people that just casually follow wrestling and like to watch the best athletes but your comparison to top D2 athletes like Davis is not abt because Davis is not on par with the athletes you cited. He is not a Dake or Taylor. He very well could be a Sponseller, Ian Miller, Monk, Sulzer type of guy and I think he is getting an equal, if not greater, amount of mention and press as a result of being the best in D2.

 

The fans continue to follow programs first and athletes second. The school following is the gateway to get people informed about the individuals.

 

I follow a lot of sports at a lot of levels. And I know you want to make an argument for NJCAA but despite them being designed for the community there is very little 'Gown and Town' relations. I do advocate for kids to use the NJCAA schools as a platform to better opportunities and as I have cited baseball and basketball have a very high talent level at the NJCAA level. But there is no fan support. You can watch the top

 

I like to attend college sports at all levels. This past weekend it was a nice day so I searched area colleges for baseball and softball schedules and there was only one team not on the road. So I went to a softball game and enjoyed the nice day watching some free entertainment in the sunshine. The play was good but they were teams outside of the top 150 RPI (not the best D1 softball teams).

 

While I am a lot more likely to attend any college sporting event outside. If I am going to be indoors, there are a lot of other options on things to be doing. I am a fan of D3 wrestling and I follow the results from the NJCAA ranks but the cost of education is too high. It takes too much of my time to become informed. Most people want to feel an attachment. It is easy to be a PA resident and feel an attachment to Penn State despite you having no real connection (and actually they have more of a connection and control over a program like Edinboro). The same with Minnesota and Iowa. I take the time to learn about athletes outside D1 but I wouldn't say I am informed well about the athletes or teams. There is just too much information to sift through and the programs doing the marketing to educate are D1 programs.

 

The best programs make their community care and this is why you see Wartburg and Augsburg with fans. They built their brand locally on campus. On campus is the easiest way to build your following and from there it is the local community. (Yes, winning helps) But the NJCAAs have very little campus community. They are transient commuter schools by nature. And as a result, the best NJCAA schools at building community and following that I have come across are the ones that develop the student athlete and get their athletes to continue on to the next level where they succeed which often means getting them to enjoy the sport and being willing to compete at a level lower than their ego makes them think they deserve.

 

The best source for education, I have found, is TheOpenMat. They seem to be one of the few that does cover what goes on in other divisions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the replies thus far, guys.

 

Staying on topic, why or why not do YOU choose to follow wrestling past the NCAA Division I level?

 

If the NJCAA, NAIA, NCWA or NCAA Division II or III championships were in your area and you had some time to kill and could attend, would you? Why or why not?

 

A question that most probably cannot answer, but why does Flowrestling cover more kids tournaments than non-D1 collegiate tournaments?

 

There are a limited amount of exceptions, but on average, a DI wrestler, let alone starter, is considerably better than nearly all lesser divisions. Even the exceptions are often due to DI academic requirements making them ineligible for the DI level.

 

DI is basically the NFL of Folkstyle wrestling. Even the average guy is a "PRO". The other divisions are Arena League. They may have a star or two scattered throughout that could do well in the "PROS" but they are a rare exception. This is proven time and time again at early season open tournaments where schools across divisions compete. It is not uncommon to see a back up, walk-on DI guy trounce a DIII AA.

 

I respect and cheer for the kids in lower divisions and will follow rankings and the National Tournament but it truly is like watching the pros vs. semi-pros in other sports. You can appreciate the sport for what it is, but watching the best of the best is simply more entertaining.

 

 

Wow... Said that perfectly... Completely agree

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the replies thus far, guys.

 

Staying on topic, why or why not do YOU choose to follow wrestling past the NCAA Division I level?

 

If the NJCAA, NAIA, NCWA or NCAA Division II or III championships were in your area and you had some time to kill and could attend, would you? Why or why not?

 

A question that most probably cannot answer, but why does Flowrestling cover more kids tournaments than non-D1 collegiate tournaments?

 

There are a limited amount of exceptions, but on average, a DI wrestler, let alone starter, is considerably better than nearly all lesser divisions. Even the exceptions are often due to DI academic requirements making them ineligible for the DI level.

 

DI is basically the NFL of Folkstyle wrestling. Even the average guy is a "PRO". The other divisions are Arena League. They may have a star or two scattered throughout that could do well in the "PROS" but they are a rare exception. This is proven time and time again at early season open tournaments where schools across divisions compete. It is not uncommon to see a back up, walk-on DI guy trounce a DIII AA.

 

I respect and cheer for the kids in lower divisions and will follow rankings and the National Tournament but it truly is like watching the pros vs. semi-pros in other sports. You can appreciate the sport for what it is, but watching the best of the best is simply more entertaining.

 

 

Wow... Said that perfectly... Completely agree

 

Does this mean that all other levels should be given the cold shoulder they regularly receive? Should all other levels simply fold so the sport can focus upon DI?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tofurky - The NJCAA serves a purpose. Just as NJCAA baseball, basketball, soccer, football, etc, don't draw much fan interest, wrestling at that level does not draw much fan interest. The purpose is not to draw fans but to provide kids an opportunity while to compete while they develop in their academics (or trades).

 

As I have said, I think it is best for coaches to understand what the purpose of their program (and association) is, or maybe more importantly, what it is not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tofurky - The NJCAA serves a purpose. Just as NJCAA baseball, basketball, soccer, football, etc, don't draw much fan interest, wrestling at that level does not draw much fan interest. The purpose is not to draw fans but to provide kids an opportunity while to compete while they develop in their academics (or trades).

 

As I have said, I think it is best for coaches to understand what the purpose of their program (and association) is, or maybe more importantly, what it is not.

 

Isn't the purpose of any athletic program linked to a college or university to timely graduate students first and foremost? What is the purpose of any collegiate program, regardless of level, since you cannot major in wrestling? I can't imagine that there is a single university out there who heavily relies on income from the wrestling team, even Iowa, and places athletics as a higher priority that academics.

 

We always tell our guys--multiple times each and every week, in fact--"Use wrestling as a vehicle to obtain your education. There's a whole lot of life to live after your wrestling days are over." We know what it means to be a team in the NJCAA and make sure that our guys do, too.

 

This thread isn't just about fans and (financial) support at the JuCo level. This is about all collegiate levels outside of DI. Are the other levels any less important to the sport as a whole? At its core, is St. Cloud State's purpose all that different from Penn State, Wartburg or Grand View?

 

People throw around the term "I support wrestling" all the time, but what really does that mean? It's not as if it's a trickle down effect similar to professional baseball where Oklahoma State shares revenue with Oklahoma City and NE Oklahoma, as if they were farm systems under one umbrella. Each is independent of the other and requires fan support to be sustained on a long-term basis.

 

I guess the point is if the sport of collegiate wrestling, it's health and those who choose to participate in it are as important as people claim, why not support collegiate wrestling as a whole and not just a specific team, conference or division?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...