The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will be live from Madison Square Garden for the first time ever and ESPN will televise every session and cover every mat, every match for the entire three days of the sport’s premier event (March 17-19). This is the third year of every session, mat and match coverage.
The NCAA announced the full 2016 Division I Wrestling brackets Wednesday night.
2016 Summer Olympic Contenders
With the 2016 Summer Olympics looming, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships mean more this year as all NCAA Champions will automatically qualify for the Olympic trials in April. Additionally, some participants in the Championship have already qualified including Iowa’s Sam Stoll, Michigan’s Adam Coon, NC State’s Nick Gwiazdowski, and Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder and Nathan Tomasello. Snyder is currently ranked No. 1 in the world in his weight class.
Gwiazdowski and Snyder will compete in the same weight class and are seeded No. 1 and No. 2, respectively. If both successfully reach the finals, the two will square off Saturday night in showdown of top athletes in the sport. Gwiazdowski was last year’s national champion and hasn’t lost a college match in over two seasons, while Snyder finished his freshmen year as a runner-up before going on to become the youngest World Champion in in USA history last summer.
Television and Digital Coverage
ESPN will televise the semifinals (March 18) and finals (March 19) in prime time and ESPNU will televise the first and second rounds (March 17), quarterfinals (March 18) and medal round (March 19).
ESPN3 will carry individual mat feeds throughout the entire tournament allowing fans to choose which wrestlers and/or schools to follow at any time. Eight mats will be used for the first, second and quarterfinals, before the competition is reduced to six mats for the semifinals, three mats for the medal round and one mat for the finals.
Additionally, for computer users, ESPN3 will once again offer multi-mat, simultaneous viewing which allows fans to watch up to four different mats at one time. Also for the third consecutive year, Off the Mat – a special presentation of the Championships finals – will be seen on ESPN3. More information below.
Jim Gibbons: Gibbons is a former NCAA Wrestling Coach of the Year, three-time All-American, two-time Big Eight winner at Iowa State and later won an NCAA National Championship as the Cyclones head coach. He was inducted in the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2003.
Tim Johnson: The “voice of college wrestling” returns once again to ESPN’s coverage, having been a part of it for more than a decade. Named the 2007 broadcaster of the year by the National Wrestling Media Association. His broadcasting and leadership roles in the sport of wrestling span more than 30 years, including being the director of wrestling for the Los Angeles Olympic Games in 1984. Inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as the recipient of the prestigious Order of Merit award honoring a lifetime of contributions to the sport of wrestling.
Anthony Robles: Now in his fifth year as an ESPN analyst, the Arizona State graduate is a three-time All-American and a 2011 NCAA National Champion.
Billy Baldwin: A formerstandout wrestler at Binghamton University turned actor, Baldwin will be a guest analyst throughout the three days. He was a leader in keeping the sport in the Olympic Games having joined USA Wrestling’s Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling.
Adam Amin and Shawn Kenney will call the action and Quint Kessenich will be the reporter.
|DATE||TIME (ET)||Session||WatchESPN Link||Mat Feeds|
|Thurs, Mar. 17||Noon-3:30 p.m.||First Round||ESPNU||Eight Mats|
|7 p.m.-10:30 p.m.||Second Round||ESPNU||Eight Mats|
|Fri, Mar. 18||11 a.m.-2 p.m.||Quarterfinals||ESPNU||Eight Mats|
|8 p.m.-11 p.m.||Semifinals||ESPN||Six Mats|
|Sat, Mar. 19||11 a.m.-2 p.m.||Medal Round||ESPNU||Three Mats|
|8 p.m.-11 p.m.||Championship Finals||ESPN||One Mat|