Starting a New Wrestling Program?
Since 2001, the NWCA has helped to establish/reinstate over 240 college wrestling programs. It is important to know that this success comes on the heels of having lost over 500 college teams in the previous 25 years. This trend is not just a wrestling specific challenge. Many of the men’s Olympic sports on college campuses have suffered huge losses over the years (i.e. there are only 16 intercollegiate men’s gymnastics teams remaining until it is extinct).
We are here to help in your quest to establish a new program at your school. You will find all the resources you need to take to your administration.
Why a New Program?
The loss of so many collegiate programs has adversely impacted our sport in many ways. Perhaps the most significant consequence is the severe shortage of high school and middle school teachers and coaches that has resulted. Historically, our intercollegiate wrestling teams have been the vital training grounds for developing future generations of teachers and coaches.
- The great news is that most of the new intercollegiate wrestling teams that have been established since 2001 are located at small, enrollment driven colleges that have strong teacher-coaching undergraduate/graduate degree programs. With student loan debt escalating across the nation and the emergence of more online universities, the establishment of varsity wrestling is attractive to many college/university administrations due to the following:
- It has a relatively low cost/student-athlete.
- Wrestling is hugely popular at the high school level (250,000 participants) and it is hugely underserved at the college level
- It is not unusual for a new start-up college wrestling teams to have 30 students paying tuition, room, and board in the first year.
- A new varsity wrestling can be nationally competitive in a short 3-4 years.
- Women’s wrestling is one of the fastest-growing high school “girls” sports in America with over 23,000 participants and state championships offered in 21 states (Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Washington)
- We now have over 70-plus intercollegiate women’s teams (in all collegiate divisions) and more are being added almost every month.
- Women’s wrestling has been granted emerging sports status for NCAA Division II and III. A vote for Division I will be held in April.
We are counting on our wrestling community across the nation to help us identify colleges and universities that meet a specific profile and are therefore great prospects for adding varsity wrestling. The criteria are as follows:
- Enrollment driven college/university (at any collegiate division level – NCAA DI, II, III, NAIA, NJCAA, women’s).
- “Non” NCAA Division I schools are much easier to start as opposed to Division I programs due to the cost.
- Colleges that have existing men’s teams are prime candidates to add women’s wrestling programs.
- Colleges located in geographic regions with few or no collegiate wrestling teams (i.e. WA, HI, AK, NV, and DE, do not currently have any college wrestling teams despite having strong high school wrestling).
- Division I schools that do not have football and/or do not have any Title IX compliance challenges (call the NWCA office for a quick review if you are unsure). Most of these schools will be private.
- Historically All Black Colleges & Universities are NCAA Division I members.