NCAA’s Next Breakout Sport-Women’s Wrestling?

THE NEW YORK TIMES finds what the NCAA has yet to fully discover: women want to wrestle in college if they just get an opportunity. Unfortunately for them, the opportunities are rare and undistinguished thus far.

The ladies of OCU Wrestling

(The ladies of Oklahoma City University wrestling)

Tiny private schools in the NAIA have taken advantage of the need by opening women’s wrestling programs in such unlikely places as Jamestown (North Dakota) College, Missouri Baptist University, and Oklahoma City University. Only Pacific University in Oregon fields a varsity women’s wrestling squad as an NCAA school. Even three-time state champions cannot find a college close to home.

Tani Ader, three-time wrestling champion

(Three-time Hawaiian state wrestling champion Tani Ader)

The U.S. Olympic Committee sees the NCAA as a possible feeder system into their women’s Olympic wrestling program, much as it works for men’s wrestling. However, nearly all NCAA schools have opted for sports with larger possible enrollments to even the numbers up for Title IX compliance. Also, the article posits that men have yet to adjust to the notion of grappling with women.

(Unfortunately, the apex of women’s wrestling in popular culture)

It’s not like men’s wrestling programs have it made, of course; Arizona State can attest to recent events that are part of a growing national trend.