Sad Predictions

For this year’s wrestling season, it’s sad to say, Iowa isn’t going to win a dual meet and Clarion is going to go undefeated. No, that’s not a Golden Eagle fan wishing for the best. It’s just that there isn’t going to be a wrestling season so both of my predictions are correct.

And, by the start of the 2021 wrestling season, the sport will be short another 30 collegiate programs. 

Let’s see if we can wade through what I just wrote?

To begin, college football won’t be played this year either. Regardless of anyone’s individual beliefs regarding the severity of the pandemic, there isn’t one college or university who will risk the fallout should any of their players become hospitalized, or far worse, succumb to the virus.

How can any institution justify playing a full contact, get in your face sport when the general student body, if they have classes, are being forced, by the same leadership, to wear protective masks and adhere to social distancing policies?

It’s really tough listening to athletic administrators saying they remain focused on the health and safety of their student-athletes, and then talk about the possibility of a season. If they actually believed what they were saying, they would have punted on that idea a few months ago. 

Let’s say for the sake of arguing, that I’m right. Or, if I’m wrong, that each team will only play against other conference schools. Either way, I believe the word decimated comes to mind with regards to non-revenue sports.

It’s been estimated that every Top 20 football program in America will lose roughly 60 million dollars if there isn’t a season. Half that much if it’s conference play only. Either way, that would make athletic budgets tighter than a Spencer Lee headlock.

That’s why the University of Iowa won’t win a match in the Big 10’s this year and it’s how Clarion will go undefeated. That’s what happens when seasons are canceled.    

However, if football is lucky enough to have at least an abbreviated season, what do you think the odds are that basketball will follow suit? It’s probably a good bet. Even if they don’t, given that our athletes are unable to wear protective facemasks, and by the nature of the sport, are the largest offenders of social distancing, does anyone really think that wrestling is going to have a season?

Before we go further, let’s look at a chart that was recently published by the Business Insider. They listed the Top 15 collegiate sports by their average annual revenue.

1 Football                           31,900,000

2 Men’s Basketball               8,190,000

3 Men’s Ice Hockey               2,860,000

4 Women’s Basketball          1,800,000 

5 Baseball                            1,400,000

6 Track and Field                 1,300,000

7 Lacrosse                            1,000,000

8 Equestrian                           970,000

9 Women’s Ice Hockey           960,000

10 Rowing                            930,000

11 Swimming and Diving      860,000

12 Women’s Volleyball          800,000

13 Women’s Soccer               780,000

14 Women’s Lacrosse            710,000

15 Softball                       700,000

Notice the absence of any particular sport?

Revenue production for wrestling is in the toilet, and that’s exactly what the leaders in our sport should be focusing on. Leave the winning to the assistant coaches.

And for the rest of us, we need to stop crowing about wrestling being man’s oldest sport or having the greatest number of first generation students attending college. That all sounds nice, but if you can’t buy a plane ticket or a nights lodging with it, what’s the point?

A coach asked me years ago how he could tell if his program was in jeopardy? I asked him, “do you have a concession stand that’s open for your dual meets?” He asked, “why?” My response was, “if you don’t, it has to be that your spectator numbers are so low that it will cost you more to pay an employee for 3 hours of work than what you’d make through sales.”

Now, add to the pandemic the fact that wrestling programs have lost all their summer camp money and well, you see where all this is going. For most schools, camps are the life blood of programming. It doesn’t take a high school degree to realize where this is taking us, even without accounting for the current medical challenges.

Were you aware, that 74 non-revenue sports have been eliminated in just the last two months? And that took place before any decisions were made regarding this Falls sports schedules. Can you imagine what’s going to happen to non-revenue sports if football isn’t going to be played?

Adding to our challenges is something that shouldn’t be a secret, AD’s don’t enjoy having to manage non-revenue sports. They may say otherwise, but having to handle triple the number of athletes they have with the two major sports, and double the amount of paperwork that crosses their desks each day because of us, well, it all takes a toll. Then there’s always those pesky athlete indiscretions that they have to answer to the media about; and their superiors.

In one way, AD’s hate what they’re having to go through, but in another way, they’re excited about the opportunity they have to be able to dump a bunch of their non-revenue sports without getting hit over the head politically.

Now, before anyone gets upset at our administrators over any of this; is it really their fault? Probably not. In wrestling’s case, it’s our leadership’s fault, past and present. They have failed us on so many fronts, none of which has to do with mentoring athletes. They’ve been so busy protecting their jobs that they forgot to do their jobs.

Even with a complete change of attitude from our Rules Committees, which is impossible to believe that something like that might happen, it would take us at least 5 years for wrestling to see a noticeable difference in income production. That would be way too late.

No one cares, outside of wrestling fans, that more Presidents of the United States wrestled that participated in any other sport or that Chief Justice Roberts or John Irving wrestled. None of that matters, or adds to our bottom line. We’re just not a fan friendly sport, but we should be! Again, that’s the main issue I have with leadership.

A sports popularity is what develops revenue and political clout. Popularity is what we’ve been ignoring for decades. The pride we have in wrestling regarding it building character is certainly notable, but again, you can’t buy a hamburger with it, or a plane ticket to the Midlands.

Survival means becoming popular. Not with the 500,000 fans we do have, but with the 20 million fans we don’t have.

For those who disagree; if we have so many great men who wrestled doing exceptional things in life; from the founder of Chick-fil-A and Blockbuster, to hundreds of NFL players and several Nobel Prize winners, how come you never see them at meets? But they do go out at least one night a week for any number of entertainment options.

My point is . . . in the UFC someone is throwing a punch every 2.4 seconds. In wrestling, our athletes have to be prodded into taking a shot every 2.4 minutes. That’s the fault of our rules, and as a result, the Rules Committees and the sports leadership.

So everyone understands who I consider to be leadership,  it’s everyone with a position of power, or influence in the sport. From people who own businesses who reap a benefit from the sport, to organizational leaders, to those D-I coaches who everyone listens to when they speak, to specifically, the NCAA Rules Committee.

And even if I’m half right in what I’m writing, and the 2020-2021 sports seasons becomes conference play only, what does that mean?       

Well, in the Pac 12, with only Oregon State and Arizona State having a wrestling program, wow, they get to have two dual meets this year. One home and one away, assuming their administrators will allow the extra expenditure of two sets of flights?

The Big 12 is also in trouble with only Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma having the sport. And I doubt if the AD’s will allow their schools to travel to say South Dakota State for a match because in the past, they allowed the Jack Rabbits to be part of their conference tournament. The CPBW (cost per bout wrestled) is something they can’t afford.

The Big 10 is golden though, given every one of their institutions have wrestling, and the conference actually has 14 teams. But in the Southeastern Conference; oh, I forgot, we don’t have any teams in the SEC. It wouldn’t be that way if we were popular.

The Pennsylvania Conference and Ivy league won’t be doing much wrestling either given the number of schools they don’t have that wrestle. Forget the Midlands, Navy Classic, Wilkes, Southern Scuffle, and the Cliff Keen Invitational. No one will be allowed to attend those because they’re not conference events and they’re just another coronavirus exposure opportunity.

As to the NCAA Championships, what might they look like? Probably a paired down, one-day version of what we’re used to seeing. Maybe just the various conference champions attending in each weight class. Wouldn’t that have people howling.

A better solution would be to take the Top 8 wrestlers in each weight based on WIN’s, or InterMat’s season ending rankings. Can you imagine how that would change the dynamics of recruiting?

If there are wild cards in all this, it’s the arrival time of a functioning vaccine, or moving every sport to the Spring. Regarding the medical community, they’re getting close; but even if they have several viable candidates, the trial periods for those could easily take us well into the new year. Springtime makes sense but athletic facilities are going to be really, really busy if this is the way America goes.  

With or without a pandemic, our problems started a long time ago with leadership. I get it, they may be masters at preparing athletes for competition, and attending meetings, but developing autonomous independence, not so much. It’s easier to live off of the generosity of others than it is to make directional changes and risk upsetting those who’s opinions really don’t matter, or have a clue about building a brand.

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12 thoughts on “Sad Predictions

  1. Care to weigh in on the Stanford issue?

  2. REMEMBER ME WADE ? WALLY MORRELL I WRESTLED AT INDIANA HIGH SCHOOL IN THE 60’S. YOU AND I WERE HOLLIDAYSBURG TOURNAMENT CHAMPS IN DEC.,1968. I WON DISTRICT 6 IN 1970. WRESTLED 167 FOR PITT AND YOU DECKED ME IN JAN. OF 1974. I NOW HAVE TERMINAL MS AND LIVE IN TUCSON. AZ WHERE CAN I FIND VIDEOS OF YOU WRESTLING IN NCAAS ?

    THANKS WALLY

  3. I’d like to add that after reading another post, I agree a vital move to help our wrestling would be to drop the “amateur” title, for all the reasons stated by Wade. All other professional sports have iconic lettering and symbols: (1.) Baseball – MLB (2.) Football – NFL (3.) Soccer – MLS (4.) Wresting – “Amateur Wrestling.”

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to figure out how stupid that is. That needs to be changed. NOW.

    • Jay . . . so wonderful that you thought enough to write. I had Jake read your words and if it was possible for him to blush, which it isn’t, he would have. As to Jake, he’s a naval flight officer now, after graduating from the Naval Academy in 2013. He’s currently at the Test Pilot’s School in MD, where 95 of America’s astronauts graduated before going aloft. I guess you could say he looking to do elevated things. :>) Please send me your email address via mine at wschalles@cfl.rr.com. We can talk more off line.

      Coach

  4. Dear Mr. Schalles,

    Bear with me sir, I write this letter with a scattered brain. For there are many things I wish to say, but I seem to be having difficulty constructing the sentences the way I would like.

    Let me begin by saying that I hope all is well with you and your family during these crazy times. And if you would please, tell your son Jake I said hello (if he remembers me) – I considered Jake a friend of mine in high school. We had several classes together at Bishop Moore and the kid was just hilarious. I have fond memories of Jake and I goofing off in our science class together with Ms. Leinheiser, (who I may add, was not the biggest fan of Jake!) Hahahahah! I would love to know if Jake remembers her and her distaste for him. I’m sure he would think it was funny.

    Anyway, I would like you, Jake and any other wrestling fans to know the impact you have had on my life. This is not to say the Schalles’ saved my life or anything crazy, but bear with me as I tell you a small tale of a naive teenager…

    I grew up very interested in athletics. From the age of 5 up until 14, my freshman year of high school, I played sports year round, non-stop. I played football, baseball, basketball, and karate. I discontinued karate after my Kick USA state championship in 1998, for the daily rigors of practicing karate on top of other sports after school was too daunting for a young man. I lost my love of the sport, and asked my parents if I could stop karate and focus on other athletics. By the time I was a freshman in high school, I had decided that I would just focus on football and baseball.

    I honestly cannot remember how or when it happened, but I was convinced my freshman year to try out for wrestling. I knew literally nothing of the sport. I thought that since I was good at football and baseball, I could learn the ins and outs of wrestling. Looking at the sport from the outside, it appeared to me to generally be a sport of out muscling your opponent to submit to your will.

    Coming from the background I was: I was always the strongest and fastest kid in my class growing up, I was a natural at football, starting as a running back on offense and linebacker on defense, a state champion in karate point fighting, and a standout baseball and soccer player…..if you couple these items with the fact I was 14 years old, stupid, and naive, I believe you can discern why I was so confident in my athletic ability, and why I felt I would turn into a decent wrestler.

    Fast forward to the first day of wrestling practice. When I walked into our wrestling facility, the first thing I saw was Jake holding another new wrestler in a hold I was unfamiliar with. Jake smiled and laughed, as did the other wrestlers, as Jake’s opponent struggled to wriggle free of his hold. I would later find out that Jake was holding him in a “splade” maneuver, a signature move of the Schalles’ and arguably one if not the most indefensible positions in wrestling once executed. This confused me, because since I’ve known Jake, I never thought of him as an athlete. He was skinny, wiry, and was not physically imposing. He had tried out for the football team but it did not work out for him, which lead me to foolishly believe, that Jake could not be a great athlete.

    How wrong I was! Long story short, once I figured out some of the basics of wrestling, and how the scoring system works, I started to wrestle Jake myself. And…..he kicked my ass. Over, and over, and over again. I was so embarrassed and ashamed of myself. I had never lost a fight in my life, or any kind of 1 on 1 physical competition. What made matters even more embarrassing, was that Jake weighed 40 LBS less than I did, and while there was no doubt in my mind I could beat Jake in a real physical fight, on the wrestling mat, he was king, and I was just an inexperienced rookie.

    My first encounters with Wade Schalles was during our practices. A senior wrestler whispered in my ear, “Jay, you see that bald man over there. Listen to everything he says.” It wasn’t long after that day that I became aware of the legendary status Wade has in the wrestling community. Instead of listing accolades, I think it is safe to say that he is a living legend in the sport of wrestling.

    I found this so thrilling. To me, this was the equivalent of Kareem Abdul Jabbar being your basketball coach, or Ken Griffey Jr being your baseball coach if you will. How lucky could I be that a living legend helps coach a sport that I’m learning; it couldn’t get any better than that for an athlete. This also made me feel better about getting my ass kicked by Jake all the time, for his technique and experience is as thick as the bible, while my wrestling book did not even have a title page yet.

    Fast forward through my freshman wrestling season. I was on the varsity wrestling team because I was literally the only kid on the team for the 160 pound weight class. The rest of the team was full of experienced and capable wrestlers, Bishop Moore at that time had a great wrestling team. I lost almost every match that season, getting pinned most of the time. It was miserable. I felt like a loser..like a failure…and it grounded me. There were several dual meets where I cost our team the match, because we lost due to me getting pinned. Before these pivotal matches, Wade would often come to talk to me and strategize, but in the end…he would say something each time that still sticks to me to this day, “You know what your job is, right?” Without hesitation, I knew what he was implying, “Not to get pinned,” I answered. Knowing that the only thing that is expected of you to help your team is to not get pinned, and then in return, to be pinned over and over again, was one of the most devastating times of my athletic career. I take sports seriously, I hate to lose, and there were many times I felt sorry for myself, and cried.

    There was a time after practice this same year, when our team ended practice early and decided to have a soccer match instead of the standard cardio we would do. Being an extremely experienced soccer player, I was at home and played very well during the game. After the match, I felt a hand clap my back, I turned to see Wade beaming at me with a smile, “And all of this time I did not think you were an athlete!” There are many things I have to say about this moment, but to put it plainly, as an aspiring athlete, looking to play a sport at the collegiate level, for a living legend of athletics to tell you that from their experienced athletic vision, that you did not come across as a good athlete to them, made me truly sad and down on myself.

    I worked very hard at wrestling. I attended camps that summer to try and improve, and I returned next season. The prior season was so devastating to my wrestling confidence that I almost did not return, but my father raised me not to be a quitter, and I was not going to start being a quitter now. I returned and found much more success my sophmore year, winning roughly half of my matches. In the end though, it was my love of football that ended my wrestling career. By the time I was a junior, I was getting attention from smaller colleges for football scholarships, and after thinking it over internally and with my family, I decided to solely focus on football training year round.

    After I was done wrestling, it has always bothered me that I could not reach my full potential in the sport. The sad reality is that it was not meant to be. I had already decided I was going to focus on my football career, and to be the caliber of wrestler I wished to be, to equal my skill in other athletics, I would need to wrestle year round, which unfortunately was not in the cards for me.

    I did end up playing division 1 football in college, and my life has worked out well. I’m happily married with a baby on the way. So what is the point of this post? What is the moral of the story?

    I suppose the points I am trying to make are these:

    (1.) Wrestling is a wonderful sport. My initial idea of the sport could not be further from the truth. This is not a brute strength sport, this is not a weightlift until you can overpower your opponent sport. This is a technical sport, a sport where you do not need to be stronger of faster than your opponent, but more practiced, technically sound, and finessed. This is a thinking sport, and a sport of will and heart.

    (2.) Check your ego, and never underestimate your opponent. When your ego and life experiences tell you that you are special and/or better than those around you, do not fall into the trap of arrogance. You must work to improve, and hard work conquers all. You are not better than your neighbor. Nothing worth having comes easy in life.

    (3.) Losing can be good for you. Getting your ass kicked and realizing you don’t have all the answers as a teenager will humble you. Wrestling taught me that I am not some special god like athlete that can just walk into a sport and expect to be good. This can be translated into life, don’t enter any field or scenario thinking that you have it all figured out. Have humility.

    (4.) In the 21st century, wrestling is a misunderstood sport to the American public, with many citizens having the initial reaction as I did. My friends in high school could not comprehend how I could lose a wrestling match against athletes of smaller stature or fewer physical gifts. They could not comprehend how I could run over a 300 pound lineman in football, or tackle anyone in my sight, but I could not defeat a smaller opponent in a wrestling match. Let me say from a former college football player, that wrestling is a tougher sport, mentally and physically, than football. My short experience with wrestling has stayed with me all of this time, and there is something to be said about that. This sport deserves to be given the utmost recognition, for not only is it the oldest and most classic sport in human history, but it is a sport bringing all the character and team building you would want for your children.

    So, it just so happened today that I remembered wrestling again, and found myself googling Mr. Schalles, along with the current situations, champions, and climate wrestling now emits. And I have to say that after reading through your posts, that it saddens me to see the current state of wrestling.

    I want to help. I wish I knew a magic formula, or some spice advice I could give to turn this ship around, but the severity of the situation leaves much to discuss and consider, with no guarantees.

    I know I will continue to follow wrestling when I can, and will introduce it to my children one day, but to initiate a cultural shift in wrestling appreciation, this is a tall task, but worth fighting for.

    I will say this, from my perspective, what could turn the tide for wrestling in America would be a bonafide superstar. I am familiar with the many undefeated high school and NCAA champions over the years, I am certainly not saying that American wrestling has had any lack of stars and gold medalists. But, if you can think about the history of American boxing, the last time boxing was very popular in our country and was something commonly discussed was when Mike Tyson ruled the world. Having an American world champion with such a reputation and presence made every Tyson fight must see TV (even his post retirement fight with Roy Jones Jr. will get attention), because people do not want to let go of their days watching Tyson. After Tyson left boxing, the popularity has not been the same and there are statistical charts showing this.

    Now, how to elevate an American wrestler to must see TV is a riddle I don’t have an answer for. But I will say that I am confident that if an American wrestler captured the attention of the public, and of children, this would be a HUGE step towards the future of wrestling. There needs to be American stars who kids look at and say “Dad, Mom, I want to do that, I want to be a wrestler like _____.” But how to give the standout wrestlers that platform, that is something I don’t know and am curious as to what would be the best course of action.

    Keep fighting the good fight Mr. Schalles, your dedication and love of wrestling is inspiring to myself and many others who go through life looking for something to be passionate about. I wish nothing but the best for you, your family, and the future of wrestling. Have a great day. And I hope to see you and Jake again one day.

    Sincerely,
    -Jay Comas

  5. You must have a clear definition what product you are trying to sell.

    I’ve spoken before about the need to separate your sport into actual wrestling vs. KATA.

    I’m probably very wrong, but to me, KATA is showing your ability to execute a move and is judged by your speed, skill, confidence. When I see the take down, let them up style of wrestling, I think KATA. I see people demonstrating their ability to do certain moves and getting graded accordingly earning points.

    To me, fighting is … fighting. You have a definite goal to knock out your opponent or make your opponent submit or pin your opponent down forcefully. Scoring KATA points is not on the agenda. It’s putting a small number of moves together to accomplish a “kill”. In the case of wrestling, you need to pin. Have the scoring system for “fighting” worry about the pin. Anything but the pin is a draw. It’s pin, get pinned, or draw. (Please let me ignore forfeits and disqualifications.)

    If I watch a wrestling match, what do I see? The referee and the coach and the wrestlers are concerned, first with scoring points, and only “after you get your points”, your coach might tell you to go for the pin or let your opponent up. This attitude … is unfortunate.

    I’ve spoken before about the need for belts indicating skill level. A black belt plays rough. You don’t put a white belt in with a black belt and say go at it hard. The black belt would kill the white belt. The white belt lacks the skill and experience. When two black belts play, they can play rough because they know their opponent can take it. This is not the case with wrestling. Your rules and referee act like every wrestler is a beginner. Maybe at the Olympic level or when you know your opponent from before, you can play rougher, take more chances, really make it a fight. Since that may not be the case, please implement a belt system.

    I looked at the history of your sport from the late 1800s onward. I fear the death of your sport started when you didn’t want draws and didn’t want wrestling matches lasting twelve hours. In individual competition, I can understand the desire not to have draws. In team competition, allow draws. Make a wrestling match last long enough so a draw is less likely.

    If I could design your dual meat competitions, this is what I would recommend.

    1) you set up three mats for the competition with wrestling to commence on all three mats simultaneously.

    2) a match at a weight class should last twenty minutes for high school and twenty-five minutes for college. Before you say this is too long, your wrestling practices should go hard this long.

    3) you can have 15 high school weight classes and 12 college weight classes. The number of weight classes may be wrong, but you will see why I want three mats wrestled simultaneously.

    For high school with 15 weight classes, lasting 20 minutes, on 3 mats, the amount of wall clock time for the dual meet is 15*20/3, or 100 minutes plus whatever time is needed for injuries and whatnot. For college the wall clock time would be, 12*25/3, or 100 minutes plus extra.

    A high school wrestler should have a good chance to pin an opponent in 20 minutes. A college wrestler should have a good chance to pin an opponent in 25 minutes.

    4) Since the pin is so important, if a pinning situation is in progress when time for the match runs out, let wrestling continue until either a pin is registered or the defensive wrestler works out of the pin.

    5) To make the wrestling even more interesting, if a wrestler successfully pins his opponent and there is time remaining for that weight class, have the opposing time put in a fresh wrestler or the same wrestler and let them wrestle another match at that weight class. This means a wrestler could score more than one pin for his team, or he could score a pin and then get pinned. I would not have the winning wrestler be substituted.

    6) Teach your wrestlers how to ride. Don’t force a wrestler to immediately go for a pin. With matches lasting 20-25 minutes, a wrestler has more than enough time to ride his opponent hard, to weaken his opponent, so his opponent is easier to pin.

    7) Get rid of the referee calling stalling. You’ve tried to have the referee deal with stalling for eighty years without success. Motivate the offensive wrestler to do what he can, including riding his opponent hard, to get a pin. Give the offensive wrestler the tools to make the defensive wrestler not want to stall; one of those tools is letting the offensive wrestler ride the defensive wrestler hard.

    If I take two platoons and tell them to roll around in the mud, I’m not going to be interested in watching them score points. I’m expecting them to go for “kills”. The same needs to be true for your sport of wrestling.

    You keep saying you want the fan base the UFC has. Look at their rules. Look at the way one “scores” points if there isn’t a decisive win. It’s based on encouraging the fight. It’s based on encouraging the “kill”.

    I’m sorry. Your sport has such potential. It would be unfortunate if it died.

  6. Rick . . . currently I don’t have a dog in the fight internationally. One challenge at a time. Personally, although I root loudly for the red, white and blue, I don’t watch their competitions. That style of wrestling is even more boring than collegiate wrestling. What would be interesting to see, is the number of past All-Americans and National Champions who attend the NCAA’s? I bet it would be a shockingly low number. And if you can’t get those who achieved outstanding honors and notoriety in the sport to buy a ticket, that should speak volumes.

    • I am confused. If we want action, and I think Olympic wrestling is all about action, why isn’t Olympic wrestling popular? One can score points very quickly in Olympic wrestling.

      I admit I don’t watch Olympic wrestling.

      Sometimes, it’s hard to watch amateur wrestling.

      I think I prefer to watch more combat sport grappling styles. Grappling styles “feel” more natural for some reason I can’t explain.

  7. Any prediction what might happen with the Olympics?

    If one wants wrestlers to take shots as often as possible, how can we encourage the take down/escape, hit and run, style of wrestling any more than the rules already have?

    Should we adopt your idea of a point scored is a team point earned, get rid of the technical fall because it places an upper limit to the possible number of team points scored, and see which team can score the most team points in the allotted time?

    Wouldn’t pinning need to be discouraged or eliminated because a pin ends the match prematurely reducing the number of team points that can be scored?

    Men’s gymnastics and women’s gymnastics aren’t on the list. This surprises me. I would have expected women’s gymnastics to be on the list.

    Out of curiosity, is the lion’s share of the revenue generated from fans-in-the-stands receipts or television (advertising revenue) or alumni or something else?

  8. Thank you Art, as usual, you always added to my thoughts. Appreciated.

  9. As usual, Wade hits the nail on the head. The concession stand question is salient. Here are two more lessons coaches can use to evaluate their programs’ futures. I learned these during the Save BU Wrestling War of ’13-’14. If a new athletic complex is built, or an old one renovated, was the wrestling room included in the construction? If not, your program is in trouble, no matter how much the AD lies to your face. Next, if you’re not bringing in 6 figures in donations from your alums and supporters, it will come back to haunt you. There are tiny colleges with new programs and no tradition that are raising low to mid- six figures. If you can’t do it, look out.

    P.S. The Big 10 is now up to 14 teams; and they all have wrestling.

    • Hi Wade! This is my first post to the forum. I saw you wrestle at Kings College in the late 70s versus the Soviet Union National team. I remember it like it was yesterday being there with my dad who has since passed. Anyway on your topic we need to get coaches involved who are motivators from the elementary all the way up through junior high school and high school. They need to involve The student bodies and motivate them to attend meets and build a real following. I’m a junior high teacher and coached junior high wrestling for 25 years. Without an elementary feeder program I would recruit approximately 30 kids to wrestle on my team every year. We developed one of the tougher teams in jr. high in Pa when I was head coach for six years. Getting the kids enthusiastic, working hard and having fun while doing it so important. One thing I didn’t mention, because it doesn’t hold me back, is that I am a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair. To save our sport it needs to begin on earlier levels so that we fill those stands for every meet. Coaches need to be Motivators involving the faculty, student body and parents to get involved. That can also be done on the college level. Getting the student body pumped about your program. Just my two cents.

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