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No to National Duals

Published September 8th, 2012 by Cael Sanderson

National Duals Proposal-
The proposal is to take the NCAA Team Championship away from the traditional individual championship and award it at the National Duals in February. The individual’s championships will be the same but with no team race. Giving out two team titles is not an option.

Here are some of the arguments we have been making the last three weeks to the 77 Div1 programs in order to oppose the National Duals proposal and STOP THE VOTE.

Why oppose the National Duals proposal?

-there should be data, supporting evidence to support such a drastic change – we have none.

-the question posed at the NWCA Convention was: BY A SHOW OF HANDS “Who is in favor of the national duals?” Somehow that turned into an unanimous decision to fundamentally change college wrestling and change the NCAA National Team Championship to the National Duals by the 2012-2013 season.

-After some uproar and demand for clarity, 20-24 days after the NWCA Convention college coaches were presented the ”official proposal” by the B1G Conference Office.

-because they are dismantling the greatest wrestling tournament in the world. The ticket sales, excitement, media coverage and TV coverage continue to increase year after year.

-Because this proposal is being pushed using the argument “To get what we have never had, we must do what we have never done”. ironically, this proposal is in direct contrast to that argument. We have been trying for 25 years to make the National Duals work and still have not created a satisfactory result. Is this not continuing to do the same thing (disguised a little differently) and expecting a different result? Yes.

-because the less funded programs will suffer. A team with partial scholarships will struggle to compete. Not having a chance to compete in the National Team Championship makes a program less relevant. How many years of not even sniffing at qualifying for the National Team Dual Championship will an AD put up before considering reducing support or changing divisions? Can we afford to lose more programs as we trial run the national duals for the 26th time?

-because the reason we have a national championship is to determine the best team in the nation. Dual meets are subjective to “line-ups”and not the best way to determine real champion. The brilliance of the traditional format is that it “corrects” for the statistical problems with a larger “sample size.

-The current and traditional method for determining the National Champion team is superior to the dual meet proposal.

In the following example the rankings are ARBITRARY – Don’t get hung up on the actual number.
The important part is the relativity of the numbers.
The purpose is to demonstrate how two equal teams have very different results based on individual match ups.
Between Examples 1 and 2, the “balance” of the teams is exactly the same.
Team B and C are EXACTLY the same in strength.
But because of “match-ups”, the results are very different.
In varying degrees, this happens in every single dual meet wrestled.
As you can see, dual matches are very subjective to match ups. (sorry couldn’t get file to copy/paste well)
Example 1
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
TEAM A – Flying Ducks
TEAM B – Big Bears
Results with no upsets
Results with Upset at 157
125
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #2
3-0
3-0
133
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #2
6-0
6-0
141
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #2
9-0
9-0
149
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #2
12-0
12-0
157
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #2
15-0
12-3
165
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #4
18-0
15-3
174
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #4
21-0
18-3
184
Ranked # 3
vs
Ranked #4
24-0
21-3
197
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #4
27-0
24-3
285
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #4
30-0
27-3
Example 2
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Team A – Flying Ducks
Team C – Wild Dogs
Results with no upsets
Results with Upset at 157
125
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #4
3-0
3-0
133
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #4
6-0
6-0
141
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #4
9-0
9-0
149
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #4
12-0
12-0
157
Ranked #1
vs
Ranked #4
15-0
12-3
165
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #2
15-3
12-6
174
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #2
15-6
12-9
184
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #2
15-9
12-12
197
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked #2
15-12
12-15
285
Ranked #3
vs
Ranked#2
15-15
12-18
-The reason we have a national championship is to determine the best team in the nation.

-because the current system is a true “Team” Championship. Every individual can qualify their weight class for the NCAA Tournament throughout the season. That makes every match (and dual) matter. In the end only 33 student-athletes advance to the NCAA Championships. The team members that are most capable of scoring have demonstrated their ability and are participating in the event. This is not a problem with our sport and doesn’t distract from the excitement of the team race.

-because it is better to have 77 teams represented at the NCAA Team Championship even if several programs are only represented by 2 or 3 of their student-athletes. It is better to have only a few individuals competing than to have no representation at the Team Championship.

-because the reason the NCAA Championship sells-out is that participants and fans from 77 programs are there.

-because of the 50+ schools that are sitting at home in February while the “same old teams” wrestle for a championship and receive no media attention

-because this will not help build home duals for the schools that actually need the help. Half of the D1 programs don’t have a chance to qualify for the National Duals so how does that help grow home attendance? it won’t. That responsibility falls on each program. In high school many states have added a dual state championship. Has adding a dual format increased the dual meet home attendance at high schools with poor attendance? Any evidence to support that claim would help but we haven’t heard any..just. speculation

-because of the 4 week void created in the season for the majority of wrestling programs

-because the coaches out west will have fewer opportunities to host a dual with a “major” program

-because if you look at Oklahoma State Schedule Release – Outside of the duals, they now only have 14 scheduled dates. The format is already reducing the number of teams that will have an opportunity to wrestle major teams

-because last year there was a similar situation with Iowa’s schedule last year – outside of the duals, they had 14 competitions. that is 2 teams that missed the opportunity to have the Hawkeyes on their schedule. And about that revenue increase for the sport, it appears that it is more of a revenue “allocation”. take the money that a team would have raised by hosting Iowa and give it to one of the major teams to attend the duals.

-because some advocates of the change keep calling the current format an all-star match. unless, we consider the top 330 athletes all stars it is not.

-Some coaches would be in favor of the National Duals if 24 or 32 teams were invited instead of 16. We are being told that this is a great possibility down the road. However, hard to believe the NCAA will double the teams in the tournament when they said “no” to bumping the individual qualifiers from 330 to 360. These are two different issues on why the NCAA would say no but the point being that the NCAA will very unlikely change on this later. More teams means much higher costs for NCAA.

-because there are concerns and questions on the qualification process and selection of teams

-because wrestling teams don’t “see” the revenue shares, the athletic department gets it

-because there won’t be any revenue shares

-because there has been little or no concern for the welfare of our student-athletes. The National Duals will cause a student-athlete to miss two more days of school on top what they already miss. This will be a problem.

-because of the sneaky way this has come about and the effort to keep the coaches out of the way

-because hosting your premier championship in the middle of the season makes no sense. (if really thinking this through and this proposal passed wouldn’t you switch the individual tournament to Feb and premier TEAM championship to the end?)

-because they keep saying football coaches didn’t make the decision to play football on Wednesday and for the life of me, I can’t figure out how that is relevant to breaking apart the greatest event we have.

-because they keep saying that we need to make a change… by having an event that has been tried for 25 years—IT HASN”T WORKED YET!! Why would it now?! There are other ways.

-because the “leadership” said the NCAA representative “went so far as to say that the NCAA would even be willing to generate the team score for us”… that is great, now we won’t need to find a computer program to automatically tally the unofficial team score

-because they tabled the proposal and then

-because they untabled the proposal

-because it took 8 hrs after deadline to release the results of “the vote” and there happen to be the perfect number needed to pass the vote.

-because they had one meeting and managed to address the “vast majority” of the concerns… Once again, without any input from the opposing voices

-because Real or imagined, there seemed to be an active, coordinated effort to keep this proposal away from coaches AND the wrestling community. It took 20-24 days after the NWCA Convention for coaches to see a copy of the proposal.

-Why the rush? Why does everything I read imply “we have to do this now or we will never get the chance again.”?

-because instead of answering legitimate questions and concerns on this proposal and the questionable ethics of how it has unfolded, they just tried to discredit the opposition and our opinions “as childish rants” that they don’t have time for.

-because a leader pushing this change said “I am not 100% on board, I am probably 60%”

-This change is going to get wrestling on TV one more time? Yes, but what difference will that make? Wrestling has been on TV more in the last 10 years than it was the 30 years before that. has that blown our sport up enough that we are going to gamble to get wrestling on TV one more time? Obviously not or we would not be having this discussion. TV those weekends anyway.

-It is a mistake to say that the only reason the National Duals hasn’t been a success is because all the top teams haven’t been there. There have been years that all the best teams have been there. This is an excuse and an example of explaining away data. Numbers don’t lie.

-We need another marque, sell out event? Ok, fine lets create one. However, based on numbers and history, this is not as easy as it seems. Why doesn’t the B1G tournament sell out? It is in theory the second most important event to the NCAA tournament, with 12 of the biggest programs in the country. The majority of fans only fly once a year. They only miss work once or twice a year. That is just a reality we have to face instead of saying that if we break the NCAA Tournament into two pieces we will now have two sell-out events. Why are our most elite wrestling tournaments not well attended..the U.S. Open and World Team Trials? Even in football and basketball, the great majority of fans don’t fly more than once a year. They go to the bowl game. Look at the away section of football games when the competition is long distance from home, it is small. Wrestling is not unique in this regard. The argument that the NCAA Tournament sells-out every year and thousands of fans get left home is not a good one. when they make you buy your tickets in the Fall, this is going to happen. How many emails were there before the NCAA tournament last March from teams trying to sell their extra tickets? There were many. My point is that every wrestling fan who passionately wanted to go to the NCAA tournament last year, could be there. So to break apart the #1 event in wrestling because we assume that we now have two huge events is shaky at best. Build our foundation on facts, numbers and history not a hope.

-Why are we stuck on the National Duals as the marque event? We could create an annual “Wrestling Week” or something similar with 7 Days of Duals. Would a TV Network not pick that up? Let the network pick the teams they want for the duals. Monday night Iowa vs Oklahoma, Tuesday Penn State vs Oklahoma State, Wed Cornell vs Iowa State, Thursday Lehigh vs Minnesota, Friday Central Michigan vs Ohio State, Sat. Ohio State vs Missouri, Sunday Boise State vs Rutgers…Quick idea but to the point that to think “outside the box” we have to consider that other solutions. Or how about a B1G All-Star match vs nation all-stars. Lots of ways to get on TV and more exposure. The logistics of Natioal Duals doesn’t work. Home duals draw the crowds so lets focus on them. (plus only one team travels to cut back on missed class and budget. Or talk to ESPN to lock in a weekly date and make it Wrestling’s Day, Takedown Tuesday or something and feature a big dual every week. take the time/ day we can get and lock it in 6 months in advance so wrestling fans know to tune. there are alternatives…

-The change will increase competition and excitement? Maybe but probably not. There is less parity in dual meets than in the individual tournament. Some teams are operating on a few scholarships, some more than a few, some 9.9 and some much more than that with unlimited grants, academic scholarships, reciprocity, etc. Because a team with 3 scholarships can do a great job and get a couple All-Americans and place ahead of a team that beat them in a dual meet during the year is a good thing, not a negative. We have that mixed up. That is our sport and reason we still have 77 programs and not 50.

-if you want to help school’s increase home attendance, ask those programs how you can help. don’t tell them what will help them. trust the coaches that they know their community best. The future of wrestling is in our youth. Wrestling fans are already hooked. We need to create more wrestling fans. We need recreational youth wrestling programs. Our youth programs have turned ultra competitive and many kids don’t last. What good does it do for our youth to see Henry Cejudo, Jake Varner or Jordan Borroughs win an Olympic Gold? they get inspired but quickly find there is no youth program in their area. Or if there is it is too intense for a 6 year old to have fun? Let’s get wrestling in every YMCA, Boy’s and Girl’s Club in America. Penn State is rolling out a youth recreation program this Fall to start this initiative and will make the franchise style program available for free to any high school or college program looking to raise money but more importantly build wrestling in their community. Get a kid hooked on wresting, you get his family also. Make part of the youth program an opportunity to watch the college team compete. This is a 10-15 plan but that is what it is going to take. Not continuous shuffling of our feet at the top. My dad designed this youth program and in 10 years turned a traditional basketball community into a wrestling community. We have slightly tweaked the program but it is PROVEN. for programs to become revelent they need to gain community support and put fans in the stands. outside of winning, I believe this is the best way. very easy to run.

-Pushing the National Duals through right now with this much confusion, separation and disagreement is a mistake.

-When a leader is preaching doom and gloom, the team is destined to get more doom and gloom. When a leader presents optimism and focuses on positives, the team will get more positives. The sky is falling approach in our sport is only speeding up the process. Please stop trying to motivate people to action by proclaiming doom and gloom, it hurts the cause. Motivating people to action by saying “we have to go down fighting…” hurts our sport. We have plenty of positives to celebrate, focus on and build off of. Let’s do that!!