MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — The NWCA/Cliff Keen Division I National Dual Meet Championships will take on a new format for the 2011-12 season. The tournament will feature four, six-team regional locations, with each of the four regional champions advancing to a national championship.
The teams for the 2012 event were selected primarily from the final 2011 NWCA team rankings as determined by the NWCA coaches poll. Twenty-two of the top 25 teams from last year’s final coaches poll have accepted invitations, including eight of the top 10 teams. The four regions for the 2012 tournament will be:
- Midwest (host TBD), Iowa, Iowa State, Oregon State, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa
- Cornell (host), Central Michigan, Oklahoma, Purdue, Illinois and American
- Rutgers (host), Minnesota, Kent State, Michigan, Missouri and Cal Poly
- Oklahoma State (host), Boise State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wyoming and UT-Chattanooga
“We’re excited to be part of this event along with several of the other premier college wrestling programs in the country,” said CMU head coach Tom Borrelli. “This new format will not only create a lot of excitement for our fans, but it also gives us a great opportunity to advance and grow the sport of wrestling.”
Regional competitions will occur the weekend of Feb. 11 with exact dates and times varying by site. The four regional champions will compete for the national title the following weekend at the campus site of one of the four participating institutions.
In the second year of implementation and beyond, a new qualifying structure will be established which will place emphasis on the outcome of regular-season dual meets. One team in each of the Division I conferences will be declared the dual meet team champion by the end of January, with at-large teams selected (based on their success in the current year) to round out the 24-team championship field.
The ultimate goal of this event is to create a premier national dual meet championship that will become a platform for growing spectator and media interest in wrestling both at the institutional and national levels.
The initial rollout in the 2011-12 season is designed to assess how the dual meet championships fit into the existing wrestling calendar and also to determine the revenue generating potential for the purposes establishing a revenue-share with participating teams in future years.
“This new concept is one of three critical components of the strategic plan being developed by the NWCA and the NCAA Wrestling Committee,” said Brian Smith, NWCA President and head coach at Missouri. “We need to create more excitement around regular-season dual meets, especially our conference dual meets. Every mainstream spectator sport in America has an emphasis on every regular-season game/competition which determines their advancement into the postseason.
“Right now the infrastructure of intercollegiate wrestling is geared toward an individual championship at the end of the season and until that changes, we will struggle with growing the spectator and media base on most college campuses.”