Wrestling fans and coaches rarely come to a universal consensus; however, one topic that everyone hates (and for good reason) is forfeits. Especially at the collegiate level.
Forfeits stink. Nothing takes the air out of a good dual meet like a forfeit wedged in between some high-quality matches.
Luckily, last year’s NCAA rule changes that allowed true freshmen to compete attached in a limited number of dates is one piece of legislation that should help diminish the number of forfeits. In years past, a coach may have to choose between burning a wrestler’s redshirt or forfeiting a weight class.
Today, with the help of Dan Seifring and our friends at WrestleStat, we’ve looked to see which schools have had the fewest number of forfeits over the last decade (in dual meet competition). There are plenty of different teams at the top of this list; Service academies, traditional powers, and smaller schools all have representation on this list.
The following schools have averaged one forfeit (or less) per year, for the last decade:
As you can see, only Navy can say that they’ve gone the entire period observed without surrendering a single forfeit. While coach Cary Kolat (and Joel Sharratt before him) have the luxury of a large roster, unforeseen circumstances happen from time to time.
Now a decade is a long time, the following schools have gone through the last five years without a forfeit.
Army West Point, Clarion, Iowa, Michigan State, Navy, NC State, Oklahoma, and Virginia Tech.
The following head coaches have not given up a forfeit during their tenure at the current institute:
Cal Baptist - Derek Moore (1 year)
Cornell - Mike Grey (2 years)
Illinois - Mike Poeta (2 years)
Navy - Cary Kolat (3 years)
Schools that have gone through the entire decade without giving up more than one forfeit in a season are:
Clarion, Navy, NC State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Rutgers
For those that are curious, the highest ten-year totals during this time were:
Duke - 104
Davidson - 85
SIU Edwardsville - 68
Bloomsburg - 60
Northwestern - 55
The highest single-season forfeit number during the period observed was from Campbell in 2015 (40). They did right the ship and saw seven-straight forfeit-free years before having six in 2023.
We are generally headed in the right direction forfeit-wise, as a whole. 2022-23 marked the first non-Covid year where there were less than 100 total forfeits combined, by all DI schools.
The total number, per year, during this time period has been:
2023 (99), 2022 (147), 2021 (63), 2020 (188), 2019 (159), 2018 (158), 2017 (116), 2016 (162), 2015 (182), 2014 (155).