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by Nate Naasz
Manheim, PA – The NWCA Division I Leadership Group (LG) sent a letter on Wednesday to all Division I Coaches, Athletic Directors, Senior Women’s Administrators and Conference Liaisons to recommend a shift to the 2020-21 season as a result of ongoing complications related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Division I wrestling membership had the opportunity to meet (virtually) twice during the NWCA Convention, and participate in a recent meeting with Anthony Holman, Managing Director of Championships and Alliances for the NCAA.
In addition, the NWCA sent a survey to all Division I head coaches regarding a self-imposed delayed start to the 2020-21 season. With 92% of the responses in favor of postponing the beginning of the upcoming season, the Division I membership largely supports this model.
With this statistical support, the NWCA DI Leadership Group would like to proceed with the following amendments to best prepare wrestling for a truncated season and ensure we have the very best opportunity to host the 2021 NCAA Division I Championships. Most importantly, these seasonal adjustments will best protect our student-athletes’ welfare and preserve the longevity of our sport.
- A sport-imposed delay to the 2020-21 competitive season, starting on, or around January 1st, 2021.
- The start of official practice will remain in place, or at the decision of the respective state, institutional, or conference guidelines.
- If institution(s) decide to compete prior to the self-imposed start date, those matches should not create a competitive advantage over all those who follow the self-imposed start date. It would be the goal to not have matches prior to the self-imposed start date count toward the 2021 NCAA Championships’ qualifying criteria. (This would need to be supported by the NCAA DI Wrestling Committee as they address the new qualifying criteria for the 2021 NCAA Championships.)
- The NWCA Leadership group will reassess the trends, data, and models related to COVID-19 on a bi-weekly basis so that if the environment were to improve and safety restrictions were reduced, the 2020-21 wrestling season could be restored to its traditional format.
On behalf of the NWCA DI Leadership Group, we appreciate your support and cooperation. These are perhaps the most challenging times in the history of NCAA Wrestling, and our goal is to ensure wrestling thrives regardless of the challenges we face this season, and beyond.
The NWCA DI Leadership Group is comprised of Chair Troy Nickerson (University of Northern Colorado), Todd Beckerman (Brown University), Jason Borrelli (Stanford University), Tony Ersland (Purdue University), Steve Garland (University of Virginia), Joel Greenlee (Ohio University), John Hangey (Rider University), Andy Lausier (Davidson University).