Stanford has been the center of news in the collegiate wrestling world this week. Just yesterday afternoon, news was made public that Stanford head coach Rob Koll was leaving his post in Palo Alto to accept the head coaching position at his alma mater, North Carolina.
Today, multiple reports have surfaced that the ACC (home of North Carolina) has voted to extend invitationals for membership to Stanford, along with California and Southern Methodist (neither of which has wrestling programs).
The move is expected to take place for the 2024-25 school year.
It remains to be seen how this move will impact wrestling. With Stanford’s departure, Oregon State would be the lone remaining member of the Pac-12 with a wrestling program. Cal Poly, CSU Bakersfield, and Little Rock are all affiliate members of the conference. As it stands now, Oregon State and Washington State are the only Pac-12 schools without a home.
For wrestling purposes, Stanford will join an ACC that boasts three teams featured in the top-15 of InterMat’s preseason dual rankings (#4 Virginia Tech, #6 NC State, #15 Pittsburgh). Additionally, North Carolina was #26 and Stanford #23.
Competing with ACC teams isn’t totally a foreign concept for Stanford. Last season, Stanford hosted Virginia Tech and is slated to travel to Blacksburg to wrestle the Hokies.
Conference realignment is the number one story today in collegiate athletics, so there will be more on this topic as it develops. On a wrestling front, we'll also monitor the search for Koll's replacement at Stanford.