Every college wrestler dreams of competing at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. Now there are new criteria to determine which athletes qualify to compete, the NCAA announced Wednesday.
The NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet approved selection criteria changes for the Div. I wrestling championships during a conference call on June 24.
The cabinet set the pre-allocation number per weight class at 29. This means that four of the 33 spots available at each weight are reserved for at-large selections. By setting the number of pre-allocated positions per weight class at 29, the NCAA statement said, “the cabinet feels that student-athlete performance during the regular season will be the driving factor in the wrestler’s selection to the national championships.”
In addition, there are three newly revised components to determine which wrestlers are eligible to compete at the NCAAs:
1. New minimum number of matches. Under the new criteria, a wrestler must compete in at least eight matches in the weight class in which the wrestler plans to compete.
According to the NCAA’s press statement, cabinet members supported the 8-match minimum “to maintain a competitive balance and help the Division I Wrestling Committee manage at-large selections. They also believe it helps strengthen the weight-management plan for the sport, ensuring that student-athletes compete regularly at the desired competition weight class rather than wrestle in multiple classes.”
2. New, tougher criteria standards. To reach the “bronze standard,” which is the level at which wrestlers become eligible for at-large selection, wrestlers must now meet or exceed TWO of the following criteria:
- Top 33 RPI (Rating Percentage Index) Note: To be considered for RPI ranking, a wrestler must have a minimum of 17 Division I matches at a given weight class.
- Top 33 coaches ranking (2/22/12 measure)
- .700 winning percentage against all competition
- One win against a wrestler receiving automatic qualification via an earned position
- Qualifying event placement one below automatic qualification
Previously, wrestlers had to meet only one of the above criteria to be eligible for at-large selection.
3. Qualifier event participation. A wrestler must have participated in his respective conference or regional qualifying tournament to be considered for an at-large selection to the championships.
All of the changes are effective for the 2011-12 season.
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