Competitors shake hands at Minnesota's girls high school state wrestling tournament (Photo/Deb Scherber, Minnesota/USA Wrestling)
The NCAA announced on Monday that the NCAA Committee on Women's Athletics has recommended women's wrestling as an emerging sport by their member institutions. If adopted, this means that any Division I program that determines it wants to fund women's wrestling will get an immediate Title IX offset, earn Championships Cup points for winning titles, and be afforded all other institutional and governmental advantages assessed with any other sport.
The importance of the announcement cannot be overstated. There will be an immediate rush of programs looking to institute a women's program, but the real benefit will be in 5-10 years when the wrestlers who are motivated to compete -- and who can now do so at the youth, state, and NCAA level -- are making an impact on the international stage. The United States will now be in position to knock off Japan.
The battle left will be for style. There will be some who want the women to wrestle folkstyle. That would be an awful, terrible, tremendously selfish and plainly dumb idea. Freestyle is women's folkstyle. The sport was brought to them by the international community and rules in 1989 and then cemented with Olympic inclusion in 2004.
There is no longstanding history of women wrestling their own (i.e. folk) style of the sport. Only freestyle.
Incredible. A monumental day for the sport of wrestling in America. Congrats to USA Wrestling, NWCA, Wrestle Like A Girl, and the thousands of coaches and parents who helped push the cause of women's wrestling over the past several years.
But most importantly thank you and congratulations to all the little girls out there who had the grit, determination and confidence to step on the mat and pursue your dream to wrestle like the boys. Without you there would never be this incredible opportunity for the next generation of girls who now have the option to wrestle at the NCAA level. Girls like my daughter who, if she chooses to wrestle, might one day be able to do it at my alma mater.
What an absolutely wonderful day for the sport of wrestling.