The Norman Transcript

OU Sports

December 11, 2012

Making college wrestling a better sport



It’s not the way NCAA championships are determined — yet, we’re getting to that — but the essence of the wrestling season is the dual and the dual is the essence of wrestling as a team sport. Create a better dual.

In hockey, the home team gets the last change. In football, the offense can choose to sub or not sub, dictating if the defense is to receive time to make its subs. Well, introduce macro-strategy to the mat. Let OU coach Mark Cody decide when it’s Kendric Maple’s turn to wrestle.

It’s already exciting, make it more exciting and fascinating, too.

· Halftime.

Sometimes, duals go too fast. But now that you’ve brought macro-strategy to the game, give coaches 15 minutes to think it over, fans the time to hit the concessions and a little while just to let the tension build. Maybe the right time to bring Maple out at 141 is right after the half. Hear the PA guy in your head. Imagine the eruption.

· This last one could be the entire column. It might shake the sport to its core. Old school guys will hate it. They’ll be wrong.

Many believe there should be an NCAA dual tournament. Take it a step further instead. Sure, there should be the an NCAA dual tournament. Indeed, make the NCAA tournament a dual tournament.

Not only are duals about 100 times more television friendly than what you have now, but there’s precedent.

It’s the way the NCAA decides its tennis championships. The team champion is determined just like NCAA basketball and volleyball champions are determined, from a field of 64 that’s pared down to 32, 16, 8, 4, 2 and 1. When that’s over, an entirely new tournament begins to determine individual singles and doubles champions.

If tennis used wrestling’s model, it would only have the individual draws, extrapolating the team finish from within. But if the essence of the season is the dual, and the dual the essence of wrestling as a team sport, you must go this route.

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