Women’s wrestling was just granted NCAA Emerging Sport Status after a vote last week.
According to the NCAA website, “an emerging sport is a women’s sport recognized by the NCAA that is intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women and more sport-sponsorship options for the institution..” It is required that Division I and II sports must gain at least 40 programs, among other standards, in order to be considered to gain that status.
On January 25, 2020, the NCAA Convention voted to grant Women’s Wrestling (and a few other sports such as acrobatics and tumbling) Emerging Sport Status for Division II and III. (Division I is still yet to vote on this later in the year)
What a huge leap forward in the promotion of Women’s Wrestling.
So what does this mean for women’s wrestling?
Adding wrestling to the NCAA is another way to increase the popularity, visibility and accessibility of women’s wrestling in Universities across the nation.
There are now more women portrayed in the College wrestling scene for younger girls to look up to than ever before. With the entrance into the NCAA, that will only increase tenfold. It is very important for young athletes to be able to see people like them, doing what they do, at an elite level. These college athletes can now be seen as role models for the up and coming generation.
Women’s programs in many cases can help to save men’s programs at some schools that are struggling. Many schools like Boise State, UC Davis and many others have lost their men’s wrestling programs in the last 10 years. Adding women’s programs to schools like these will help schools to comply with Title IX , and therefore help to save men’s programs.
Colleges are adding women’s wrestling programs at a incredibly fast rate, and as time progresses, girls will one day no longer have to chose between academics and wrestling. For years, girls in high school have had to make the decision to either go to the school that is popular and well known; one that they have had family go to or have heard about for years and years, or one that has a wrestling program. Granted, many of these colleges with women’s programs are great schools with wonderful facilities, but with the introduction of women’s wrestling into the NCAA, these girls will have so many more options.
USA National team coach Terry Steiner in this article by USA Wrestling quotes how, “as a sport, we have been fighting for many years to create opportunity for girls and women’s to wrestle at all levels… this decision gives complete legitimacy for the sport.”
This decision is the first of many in the realm of women’s wrestling and the NCAA, and is just a starting point for all the great things that are to come.