The National Duals once again underwent restructuring, modifying the event which had been created by the visionary initiative of John Graham in 1989.
Instead of four teams advancing to the finals following regional competition, as in 2012, eight teams will advance; four teams earned automatic bids (Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Ohio State) and four teams earn bids by winning their respective regions.
To assist in growing the event, a new National Duals committee was created to help make decisions to position the event. Among them was creating a point system to reward four of the top returning dual meet teams with automatic bids to the championship final.
NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer stated that the change in event format resulted from the desire to strengthen the quality of the competition while ensuring a strong spectator base for the championship event.
Moyer stated that the teams with automatic bids work as a guarantee that the finals, placed in the hometown of one of the team's with an automatic bid, would be better attended because of the home team's strong local fan base.
"Historically, we have found that to optimize the fan support of the championship finals, you must have one or more local/regional teams, with a strong fan base, in contention for the championship," said Moyer. "In the past, we've had the National Duals in strong fan base regions, but if there isn't a local/regional team in contention, it just hasn't worked very well."
This year the finals event will be held at the University of Minnesota, and National Duals committee chair and Ohio State Head Coach Tom Ryan echoed the sentiments expressed by Moyer regarding fan support.
"We look forward to the duals being held in Minnesota," said Ryan. "They have great fans and we always enjoy competing there. I am sure the event will be first class as well as it should be."
Moyer feels that the change in format will also allow for the spectator base at the event to grow because of increased planning time, for travel arrangements and the like, provided to the fans.
Ryan, expressed appreciation for the change in the event structure as it placed more emphasis on dual meets.
"I believe the dual meet is the backbone of our sport," said Ryan. "I believe that 10 men wrestling shoulder to shoulder, one after the other is a priceless event in this sport."
Despite the change in format, the goal of the event remains consistent and focused; to transform wrestling to better align with mainstream spectator sports by increasing excitement associated with regular season dual meets, especially those that are inner conference.
Moyer is excited for this year's event due to the success of the event in 2012 and the new and continuing sponsorship and broadcast agreements for this year.
"Last year, the championship finals sold approximately 4,500 tickets which was encouraging given the fact that we didn't announce the championship site until the regionals were complete. We also nationally televised 10 of the dual meets on Fox College Sports."
Moyer stated that this year's event attracted new, well-known sponsors, Balance Bar and ProKure, which he felt was influential in continuing to grow the event and sport of wrestling. These additions build on a strong National Duals sponsorship base that includes Cliff Keen, Hibiclens, The Marines, and Beat the Streets LA.
Fox College Sports will also continue to broadcast portions of the event. The event broadcast, like the new sponsorships, is a key element in reaching event wide goals said Moyer.
Fox College Sports will be broadcasting 10 dual meets from the event which will then be rebroadcast a minimum of 10 times each allowing for flexibility in viewership and the potential to reach 54 million households through each airing.
Moyer hopes to secure agreements from the top 32 teams in the nation to support the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Dual Meet Championship as of 2014 for three years. Moyer feels that this will allow the National Duals to reach its potential as a signature event in collegiate wrestling.
"As long as we can continue to build on the success of each previous year, there is no reason to believe that the National Duals should not be able to accomplish all of our objectives," said Moyer.
For ticket sales and event information, go to the National Duals page at nwcaonline.com.
About the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)
The National Wrestling Coaches Association, established in 1928, is a non-profit organization for the advancement of all levels of the sport of wrestling with primary emphasis on developing coaches who work in academic environments. The membership embraces all people interested in amateur wrestling. The three core competencies of the NWCA are: coaching development, student-athlete welfare, and promotion of wrestling.
About Cliff Keen
Cliff Keen Athletic is a wrestling and officials wear company, dedicated to the advancement of athletics through innovative products and communications. Cliff Keen Athletic exemplifies the rich traditions of sport and the superior quality of athletic wear required for holding up to the rigors of competition.
Hibiclens is an antiseptic antimicrobial skin cleanser possessing bactericidal properties that can be part of an effective defense for preventing the spread of skin infections. Its active ingredient works in a unique way -- it kills germs on contact and bonds to the skin to keep killing microorganisms up to 6 hours after washing. HibiclensŪ has been proven to kill MRSA (in vitro) and other staph infections.
About the United States Marine Corps
On November 10, 1775, the Marine Corps was established by the Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since then, the Marine Corps, through service on land, in air, and at sea, have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term "Marine" has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue. Whether facing our nation's foes or conducting humanitarian relief and disaster recovery operations at home or abroad, today's Marine Corps stands ready to continue in the same proud tradition of faithful service to the United States. For more information, visit http://www.Marines.com.