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Alexander_Delarge_655321

Should the wrestling season start in January?

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Question - should the wrestling season begin in January and end in April / May?  No more cutting weight at Thanksgiving and Christmas. No more going head to head with the NCAA basketball opening weekend or that entire 3 weekend tournament. Teams could begin practicing in December but no competition until January. Thoughts? Pros/cons? I hated cutting during the holidays for sure and having tourneys over semester break was tough too. 

Edited by Alexander_Delarge_655321

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Yes and it should end in early to mid April. I think one of the reasons we see guys not initiating more offense is that the season is soooo long and they're bodies are physically unable to attack nonstop for 7 minutes each match from November through March. Add in that quite a few guys are going into nationals with over 40 matches under their belt and the grind takes its toll. Start the season with Midlands and Scuffle tournaments on Jan. 1 and work around March madness tv coverage by doing nationals in April

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I wrote about this for InterMat nine years ago... and I'm not the first to think of it. It's something J Robinson has been lobbying for, for ever. I still think it would be great to have the season start later, end in April....

 

Stop the Madness: Move the NCAAs to April
MarkPalmer.jpg

3/7/2006
Mark Palmer, InterMat Senior Writer
mark@intermatwrestle.com, Twitter: @MatWriter

 
 

In every sport, there is the time of year that is the ultimate for the athletes, coaches and fans -- where all attention is focused on that particular sport and its Big Event. In pro football, it's the Super Bowl. In major league baseball, it's the World Series. In collegiate wrestling, it's the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

Unfortunately for college wrestlers, their Big Event is largely overshadowed by an even Bigger Event: The NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Both events take place in March. But only one of the tournaments has become known as March Madness … and it isn't wrestling. Despite the macho bravado of t-shirts and posters with sayings such as "Boys play basketball. Men wrestle" and "It takes balls to wrestle," in a match-up between college basketball and wrestling, the roundballers win big … at least in terms of general public attention and media coverage.

Think about it: When was the last time somebody at work asked if you wanted to get into the office pool for NCAA wrestling? When have you seen an entire TV show devoted to the presentation of brackets for the NCAA Wrestling Championships? When did you see major car makers and snack-food companies use the college wrestling championships as a promotional gimmick to sell more Chevys and salsa?

 

 

To keep reading... http://intermatwrestle.com/articles/1204

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I wrote about this for InterMat nine years ago... and I'm not the first to think of it. It's something J Robinson has been lobbying for, for ever. I still think it would be great to have the season start later, end in April....

 

Stop the Madness: Move the NCAAs to April
MarkPalmer.jpg

3/7/2006

Mark Palmer, InterMat Senior Writer

mark@intermatwrestle.com, Twitter: @MatWriter

 
 

In every sport, there is the time of year that is the ultimate for the athletes, coaches and fans -- where all attention is focused on that particular sport and its Big Event. In pro football, it's the Super Bowl. In major league baseball, it's the World Series. In collegiate wrestling, it's the NCAA Wrestling Championships.

 

Unfortunately for college wrestlers, their Big Event is largely overshadowed by an even Bigger Event: The NCAA Basketball Tournament.

 

Both events take place in March. But only one of the tournaments has become known as March Madness … and it isn't wrestling. Despite the macho bravado of t-shirts and posters with sayings such as "Boys play basketball. Men wrestle" and "It takes balls to wrestle," in a match-up between college basketball and wrestling, the roundballers win big … at least in terms of general public attention and media coverage.

 

Think about it: When was the last time somebody at work asked if you wanted to get into the office pool for NCAA wrestling? When have you seen an entire TV show devoted to the presentation of brackets for the NCAA Wrestling Championships? When did you see major car makers and snack-food companies use the college wrestling championships as a promotional gimmick to sell more Chevys and salsa?

 

 

To keep reading... http://intermatwrestle.com/articles/1204

 

 

 

 

Do we really expect to benefit anything if our finals are not at the same time as the NCAA basketball tournament?  I mean we are not competing with their fan base for support, we have our own.   We sell out NCAAs, ESPN is giving us more coverage than ever, and ratings are up.   What exactly would change if pushed the season a month back finish in to April?

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January - April would be too long.  The season should be 2 weeks, week 1 conference tournaments, week 2 NCAA tournaments.  Nice and neat and focused.  None of the kids get hurt and we can all get back to our busy lives.

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I disagree, Cletus. I know a LOT of former wrestlers, from DI all the way down to high school, who simply just don't follow the sport anymore, but will go to a bar and watch the b-ball tournament while catching up with friends. So, yes, wrestling does fight for a fanbase with with other sports in that a lot of former wrestlers are burned out on the sport in general and spend their money on sports that are not wrestling.

 

Another thing is that college wrestling, in that vast majority of places in this country, competes for fans with high school and kids duals and tournaments on weekends. If the college season is outside of the kids and high school season, that frees up more young fans and their families who can grow with the sport.

 

What else might change is attendance in that more people might go to tournaments if the weather is better. One thing I hated as a coach was driving seven hours in blinding snow across Iowa in January. I did it because it was my job. If I was a fan, there'd be no way I'd do that.

 

Your post gives an interesting perspective when you say wrestling fans "sell out NCAAs, ESPN is giving [the sport] more coverage than ever and ratings are up." Your focus is on one weekend and one tournament for the entire year. College wrestling needs to grow  in attendance at dual meets and tournaments, not just at the big dance. 

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Do we really expect to benefit anything if our finals are not at the same time as the NCAA basketball tournament?  I mean we are not competing with their fan base for support, we have our own.   We sell out NCAAs, ESPN is giving us more coverage than ever, and ratings are up.   What exactly would change if pushed the season a month back finish in to April?

It is probably true that our hardcore fan base doesn't have march madness, and that theirs doesn't know what wrestling is.

However, when I was at the sports bar last night (I don't have ESPN at home), there were 3 eyes on the single screen out of 20 that had wrestling on. 2 were mine, and I'm being optimistic that my girlfriend had half of her attention on it. This timing can't be helping to expand our fan base. 

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I thought I heard the the biggest problems with making a change were in the lower divisions where coaches also had other responsibilities in the athletic department and moving into the spring would be an issue as well with getting bids for hosting as there would be few venues for the championships since NHL and NBA arenas have the venues reserved for potential playoffs which are in April. (Mobile)

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Pushing the season back probably wouldn't have much of an effect on fan interest or coverage.  As others have pointed out, we're not competing for basketball fans and we have no trouble selling out the NCAA tournament.  The largest positive effect of pushing the season back is simply that it makes the season much more enjoyable and manageable for the student-athletes.  The two semester nature of wrestling is brutal because it negatively affects academic performance in both semesters.  Final exams for fall semester are in December, right around the time when the season is picking up speed.  And then the heart of the season obviously effects 2nd semester heavily.  It's true that spring semester exams aren't directly affected by the season, but for many schools that get out in early May, there is only about a month of classes left right now until the reading period before exams begins.  Needless to say, wresting affects both semesters.  If the season was pushed back, it would directly impact spring semester exams, but the effect would be limited to that semester rather than covering the entire year.  I've heard arguments go either way on which is better, but I think most students would prefer a one semester sport.  Not to mention, avoiding cutting weight during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays benefits everyone.  As much as guys like to wax nostalgic about their running in plastics on Christmas eve, nobody really likes that and it serves no positive purpose.   

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Having NCAA Tournament in March is incredibly successful.  Back in the old days we used to start the season in Dec and end with NCAA tournament late March.  Have NCAA tournament in April and we could compete more coverage with NASCAR, major league baseball, NHL, etc and filing of Fed income tax returns.  Why change very successful March tounament?  Youns want to wrestle fewer fall dates - coaches can do that now.

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I disagree, Cletus. I know a LOT of former wrestlers, from DI all the way down to high school, who simply just don't follow the sport anymore, but will go to a bar and watch the b-ball tournament while catching up with friends. So, yes, wrestling does fight for a fanbase with with other sports in that a lot of former wrestlers are burned out on the sport in general and spend their money on sports that are not wrestling.

 

Another thing is that college wrestling, in that vast majority of places in this country, competes for fans with high school and kids duals and tournaments on weekends. If the college season is outside of the kids and high school season, that frees up more young fans and their families who can grow with the sport.

 

What else might change is attendance in that more people might go to tournaments if the weather is better. One thing I hated as a coach was driving seven hours in blinding snow across Iowa in January. I did it because it was my job. If I was a fan, there'd be no way I'd do that.

 

Your post gives an interesting perspective when you say wrestling fans "sell out NCAAs, ESPN is giving [the sport] more coverage than ever and ratings are up." Your focus is on one weekend and one tournament for the entire year. College wrestling needs to grow  in attendance at dual meets and tournaments, not just at the big dance. 

 

 

Well yes, I suggested on the final tournament of the year because the OP suggested moving away from March Madness.   I agree with the other points you made about attendance the rest of the season, I just don't see any conflict with March Madness.   I brought up the ratings and attendance to support that.   

 

So just to be clear, you think we would get higher ratings for for NCAAs in April than we currently do?  I really don't believe it would change much.   Was there any basketball on yesterday?  I watched the tournament online and haven't turned my televisions on on weeks so I can't begin to tell you what else is on.   

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It is probably true that our hardcore fan base doesn't have march madness, and that theirs doesn't know what wrestling is.

However, when I was at the sports bar last night (I don't have ESPN at home), there were 3 eyes on the single screen out of 20 that had wrestling on. 2 were mine, and I'm being optimistic that my girlfriend had half of her attention on it. This timing can't be helping to expand our fan base. 

 

 

 

I don't disagree that our fan base isn't expanding despite televised NCAA finals.    My point is no matter if nothing else was on, the average person isn't going to become a wrestling fan simply because they watched a couple of hours on it on ESPN.

 

Our sport bores people to tears and especially how at least one of the most widely known and recognizable teams wrestles, We aren't exactly generating a buzz of excitement.   For wrestling to pick up fans, it isn't the lights and sound system so many speak about that's needed.   It isn't even the excitement guys like Imar and David Taylor bring, it's knowing the competitors, their back story, their teams, and the rivalries.   If you educate and inform people on why they should care, our less than exciting sport suddenly becomes compelling.   Match ups matter.   I sat through 8 matches the past 2 weeks of Iowa's senior leader 174 pounder Evans and he took a total of 3 shots.   Yes, his efforts nearly put me to sleep, but his matches were important to the team race and since I was interested in the race, I went ahead and suffered through his non viewer friendly style.   But will he attract new fans to the sport?  Will Northwestern's national champ and his style attract new fans?  It doesn't matter like i said if there was no other programming, people just wouldn't be sports fans if that's what they have to look forward to.  

 

I tolerated numerous boring matches because the team race mattered.   Once it was over, I took a nap and watched the finals off DVR later that evening.   There was little compelling drama or suspense remaining and thus i tuned in when convenient.   I just don't believe these fans don't know about us because basketball is keeping them in the dark about wrestling and if we just switched the schedule away from basket ball, they would find us and hop on board.   Our own wrestlers lose interest in following the sport.   How can we possibly expect non wrestlers to be interested?

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John Smith has also been a strong advocate of having wrestling as a second semester sport. Not being at the same time as some of the high school season would be advantagous for increasing dual meet attendance. Wouldn't impact international much since about one tenth of one percent of our college wrestlers wind up competing.

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