Following the NCAA’s decision to cancel its Division III winter championships, USA Wrestling has announced it will work to produce a championship in the sport.
USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender said the national governing body was “extremely disappointed and heartbroken” about the decision that affects hundreds of wrestlers. It is the second consecutive year the championships have been canceled by the NCAA. In canceling the sports, the NCAA said the championships did not have enough participating schools. Wrestling and ice hockey had the highest participation of the sports affected, with 70 percent of teams still competing.
“As the national governing body for wrestling in the United States, we feel we have an obligation and responsibility to provide a competition for these athletes,” Bender said. “We are poised to step into the breach on behalf of Division III wrestlers. We have been actively pursuing a number of options that are available to us, working with our partners and stakeholders within the sport. It is our goal to provide a high-quality event for these athletes during this academic season. USA Wrestling has been able to successfully host numerous competitions at many levels, using its COVID-19 Return to Events Guidelines and following local health and government regulations.”
The governing body earlier this week announced it would be bringing two of its largest events to Coralville, Iowa, in March.
“USA Wrestling believes that creating a season-ending tournament for NCAA Division III wrestling student-athletes fits in line with our mission to ‘provide quality opportunities for its members to achieve their full human and athletic potential,’” said Bruce Baumgartner, USA Wrestling president. “We clearly understand the role that the NCAA Championships play in the lives of these students. USA Wrestling is eager to help, and believe we have both the resources and ability to assist during this challenging time for the wrestlers and their families.”