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Should the wrestling season start in January?

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The California Junior Colleges have wrestling in the Fall Semester only (Sept - Dec).  Maybe someone who wrestled their schedule could pipe up and give us their perspective on a one semester wrestling season.  

No, I'm not saying that this is an exact analogy for the same situation.  Only that they may have noticed some less than obvious benefits and/or downsides to making wrestling a 1 semester sport.  

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Big 12 Commissioner, Bob Bowlsby spoke to a large group at a WIBN event at The NCAA's. He mentioned several issues and challenges. The topic of changing the season to one semester was raised and spoke in detail. He absolutely advocates for a change in seasons. Competing with Basketball is absurd. Interesting enough, the Washington Post had an article about the women's basketball tourney changing the date of their tourney as not to compete with the men's tourney.

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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.

 

Not changing it because of conflicts with other sports is a copout of an excuse to me. Wrestling already competes with the NBA, NHL, high school basketball, MLB spring training and the lead up to the NFL draft BEFORE NCAA basketball. Heck, I went and looked at the Chicago Tribune this morning and the sports section is 18 pages long. You want to know how much press wrestling received? One column, four inches long of the top 10 teams and top three at each weight. The new head of the Pro Tennis Association received a page-and-a-half story. High school basketball finals received two pages. The NCAA bball tournament received four pages. Even a story about international received a quarter page. What about Logan Stieber and his fourth title? Hell, what about IMar winning a national title? This is Illinois, by the way. In both cases, nada. Not changing it because of media coverage would be ridiculous. Changing it for the benefit of the student-athletes makes most sense.

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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.   

 

I'm not saying the ratings would be higher or not. I can't predict that sort of thing. What I am suggesting is that dual meet attendance would grow without having to battle it out with high school and kids tournaments every weekend. THAT is great for the health of our sport, especially in the eyes of administrators. 

 

Basketball was on yesterday... all day.

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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.   

 

Moving away from March Madness is one point I brought up. Not having to cut weight over the holidays and semester break is the other and bigger reason for me personally as I hated cutting weight in college over the holidays and break. 

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College wrestling 4444

 

Bowlsby gave several recommendations that he felt should be considered sooner than later. (Before it is too late)

 

The WIBN recorded his speech. It will be posted in the coming days. 

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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.   

In regards to the academic aspect, currently if a school is on the quarter system most likely their finals are now occurring the week of nationals. 

For example, Cal Poly is on the quarter system and their finals were March 16-20. 

 

I think it would be better if the season was shortened, even if it is just the first competitions starting in the weeks of December as opposed to November.  I do think the winter break is a good opportunity for tournaments and wouldn't like to see that disappear.

 

Another thing about the current season is it seems several schools have significant gaps in competition, I don't know if that is because of budget or what but maybe a revised schedule could change that?

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Guest ShannonSofield

Open Tournament season in the Fall.

Dual meet season in the Spring.

 

Many schools already do this, but they tend to get one dual in December.

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it seems like most (not all) on here agree that one semester makes sense. Are there any other NCAA winter sports that are one semester? any that run Jan-April?

 

guess where I'm going with this is will the NCAA do anything specific to appease the wrestling community? or is there precedent with another sport?

 

and...what's 'the sales pitch' to the NCAA to make a change? yes, well being of student athletes fits somewhere in their mission statement I'm sure, but arguments like >

 

'we'll get more viewers' ---'actually viewership and attendance at the tourney are good so we (NCAA) are not moved to make a change'

 

'kids won't have to cut weight over the holidays' ---- 'if weight cutting is still that much of a problem in your sport then we have more to discuss. otherwise boo hoo'

 

ok smart ass commenraty for effect but otherwise, really what is the pitch to the decision makers?

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I'm not saying the ratings would be higher or not. I can't predict that sort of thing. What I am suggesting is that dual meet attendance would grow without having to battle it out with high school and kids tournaments every weekend. THAT is great for the health of our sport, especially in the eyes of administrators. 

 

Basketball was on yesterday... all day.

I don't know.  

 

On a nice spring day people will sit in a gym to watch college wrestling because it doesn't conflict with their wrestling schedule or college basketball?  

 

I also think HS and youth kids are more interested in college events when they are busy wrestling themselves and people want to be outside when the spring hits

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I don't know.  

 

On a nice spring day people will sit in a gym to watch college wrestling because it doesn't conflict with their wrestling schedule or college basketball?  

 

I also think HS and youth kids are more interested in college events when they are busy wrestling themselves and people want to be outside when the spring hits

 

I don't know either. What I do know is that people aren't packing Northwestern's gym in early February when it's five degrees outside and there's 18 inches of snow on the ground. I admit that I pick and choose based on that because NU is 50 minutes from my house with minimal traffic. (there's just no good way to get to Evanston from the west side of Chicago) Heck, just last week we had a few dry days in a row in the 60s and then we get nailed with four inches of snow this last Sunday night. I don't know about New Jersey, but weather in the upper Midwest can be a crap shoot through the middle to the end of May.

 

As to high school and youth kids, HS meets and tournaments are Friday and Saturdays with homework on Sundays and youth is all day Sunday. M-Th are school nights for everybody. As fewer and fewer kids are multi-sport athletes, this could be a benefit for the sport. Again, I don't know and am only guessing.

 

I understand what you're saying, SK. However, as I mentioned before, I think there will always be an excuse not to go. I can tell you that the folks attending the NCAAs would probably like St. Louis a whole lot better at the end of April as opposed to the third weekend in March for the reason you cited.

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but any other 'winter sports'?

but any other 'winter sports'?

Men's volleyball seems to be holding its final 4 the first weekend of May, I presume their season sstarts in Mid January.

 

M+W Lacrosse competition starts mid February (artificial turf is popular because it makes it easier to shovel snow from the field)) ends Memorial Day

 

---??

Hold the NCAA D1 wrestling finals 19 days after M-BsktB finals (a Monday) opening day of MLB is the weekend of or before BB final 4. So conference tourneys are after BsktB. Make first day of wrestling 22 days after Thanksgiving Day. In reality, it would be a little later for many because of finals. Wrestling competition season shortened by 2-3 weeks. Can we end D1 wrestling six weeks after D3

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Can we end D1 wrestling six weeks after D3

 

Personally, I'd like to see a stepped/graduated approach to the championships at each level. Using this year's calendar:

 

Open tournaments begin as soon as the first semester/quarter ends (only four DI schools on this schedule, I believe, but more in DII and DIII?), depending on the school.

Semester schools: As early as December 13

Quarter schools: As early as December 13

 

NJCAA and NWCA championships: April 16-18

DIII and NAIA championships: April 23-25

DII Championships: April 30-May 2

Di: Championships: May 7-9

 

The only collegiate championship that conflicts with DI being that weekend is men's volleyball, which, I believe, is less a media draw than wrestling.

 

As I go through the calendar, what comes into play with moving to a plan like this are finals and graduation ceremonies. I know those can be adjusted as necessary and the reality is that these young men should have their acts together to minimize any sort of issues.

 

Just some more ideas on the topic.

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Tofurky, the reason I said D1 six weeks after D3 is that (I am told) a significant number of D3 Wrestlers and coaches are involved in spring sports, or other spring activities. Some of that also in D2, and I presume the other 3 tournaments you mentioned. Were that not the case, there would be nothing wrong with the "lesser" tournaments the Weekend after BskB or the next.

 

Your season Dec 13, 2015 to May 9,2016 is actually 2 weeks longer than the current season. And frankly, I would hope the extra duals after spring has begun, are at night because folks would like to be outside if you get a 65F day

 

In other words, I would like the conference and national tournaments to be after the basketball tournament, but as soon after as practical.

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Tofurky, the reason I said D1 six weeks after D3 is that (I am told) a significant number of D3 Wrestlers and coaches are involved in spring sports, or other spring activities. Some of that also in D2, and I presume the other 3 tournaments you mentioned. Were that not the case, there would be nothing wrong with the "lesser" tournaments the Weekend after BskB or the next.

 

Your season Dec 13, 2015 to May 9,2016 is actually 2 weeks longer than the current season. And frankly, I would hope the extra duals after spring has begun, are at night because folks would like to be outside if you get a 65F day

 

In other words, I would like the conference and national tournaments to be after the basketball tournament, but as soon after as practical.

 

Rich,

 

Great points. Here's where my mind was on that.

 

I don't know what the stipulations are with calling a sport a winter sport vs. a spring sport, so I erred on the side of caution and threw in it in December. To me, I think the second Saturday in January as a start date would work even better. That was you've cleared the holidays and can focus on wrestling, not starving.

 

The calendar I was using was December 2014-May 2015. I think if you do it that way, the season ends up being 18 weeks long For DI, 17 for DII, 16 for DIII and NAIA and 15 for NCWA and NJCAA.

 

I've heard those same things about coaches at non-DI schools. Is there anyway to verify this one way or another because I have no answer?

 

I hear you on the improving weather. For us in the upper Midwest, late April can be 70 and sunny one day and two days later it can be 25 and sleeting. The National Championships are really what is taking place in April and May in my scheme, so duals are pretty much over with come the improving weather for most of us.

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An April finish for the NCAA championships would probably result in less TV coverage. Part of the reason that there is so much on television is because ESPN has no rights to March Madness, baseball hasn't started yet, and the NBA is in the middle of their season. Move it to April, and there is all of the sudden a lot of sports going on that ESPN can televise rather than wrestling.

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An April finish for the NCAA championships would probably result in less TV coverage. Part of the reason that there is so much on television is because ESPN has no rights to March Madness, baseball hasn't started yet, and the NBA is in the middle of their season. Move it to April, and there is all of the sudden a lot of sports going on that ESPN can televise rather than wrestling.

 

I don't think ESPN makes the call on if they're going to cover it vs. the contract with the NCAA TELLING ESPN they're going to cover it. Really, wrestling airs on ESPN television once a year for less than three hours, so they don't have to do anymore than they are already doing.

 

As for their online coverage, TV demands won't change that because MLB owns all the rights to online content.

 

With the NBA, that is when they're in playoff mode. Those games are split between ABC and ESPN for up to 44 playoff games total. That's a pretty easy fix to accommodate the finals and really is no different than what's happening now. For the online content, they don't need to expend much more than they already do with March Madness going on at the same time.

 

Also, people in this thread have brought up not wanting to be in a gym when the weather improves. How does gymnastics make it work? Their competition season begins the second Saturday in January and ends the third weekend in April. that article has been here before and it does go to show that even in Alabama, one of the top collegiate programs for women (I learned in this article), they're packing in more than 10,000 fans a meet when the average temperature outside is 69 degrees in March.

 

Men's volleyball begins the first Saturday in January and runs through the first full week in May. BYU averages 3,500 attendees per home game and Hawaii averages 3,000 per home game.

 

The point is that fans of the sport will take a couple of hours out of their week to attend a dual meet. If Hawaii volleyball can pull in 3,000 people for a home volleyball match when the average high is between 80 and 83 degrees from January through April and sunny almost all year round, wrestling shouldn't be any different. Again, there will always be an excuse and nothing will be perfect. 

 

At the end of the day, what's in the best interest of the student-wrestlers and the sport in general? Speaking for myself alone, I think a one semester model is a better fit than the current two semester model.

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My suggested finals weekend, Saturday being 19 days after BskBall championship is 2 weeks after men's Gymnand Hockey, 1 week after Women's Gymn, and 1 week before men's volleyball. Seems perfect.

 

Also, if there is a national duals, it can be held Presidents day weekend, with enough time to recover for conferences, and it would not conflict with any major state HS tournament.

 

I suspect those folks in Alabama are shivering at 69F

 

Really, the important thing to me is that about the third weekend of April it shortens the season not lengthening it.

 

But really, we are on the same page, just a different paragraph.The main thing is to get the Nationals, and maybe the conferences to after BsktBall

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