Tom Brands with Ryan Morningstar at NCAAs (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Count Tom Brands among those who support efforts to have the NCAA recognize women's wrestling.
The head wrestling coach at University of Iowa has sent a letter to the NCAA, backing the idea that women's wrestling should be an officially sanctioned sport just like men's wrestling.
In his letter, Brands outlined "Iowa's storied wrestling legacy," mentioning the Hawkeye wrestling program's 23 national titles and other accomplishments going back a century. The long-time coach and former NCAA and Olympic champion then described "wrestling's powerful role in developing young men into leaders within our institution, for our state, and throughout the nation."
"It is long overdue for women to share in the opportunities afforded by this great sport."
Brands concluded his letter by stating, "To empower women both athletically and academically, we call upon the NCAA to support female wrestling, beginning with recognizing women's wrestling under emerging sport status for the upcoming season."
Brands' letter offers critical support to efforts by Wrestle Like a Girl, Inc. and its partners -- including USA Wrestling, the National Wrestling Coaches Association, the U.S. Olympic Committee, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame -- which sent a letter to the NCAA last week, seeking Emerging Sports Status for women's collegiate wrestling. (Presently, women's collegiate wrestling programs compete in the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association.)
The letter named eleven colleges which have submitted letters of commitment -- along with budgetary information -- to the NCAA. The schools represent all three divisions of NCAA - including NCAA Division I school Arizona State -- along with NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) schools.
The Women's Committee on Athletics will review this bid in September, according to the Aug. 3 letter from Wrestle Like a Girl, Inc. If approved, wrestling will be invited to make a presentation to the Committee to earn NCAA Emerging Sport Status, with the hope of someday having women wrestlers compete for NCAA national title.