"We are thrilled that women's and men's wrestling will be the newest programs at AU," said Assistant Vice President / Director of Athletics Jim Hamad. "It is exciting to be a part of both the rapid growth of women's wrestling and the steady resurgence of men's wrestling. We have been able to start new programs that quickly find success in recent years and we are confident that our wrestling programs will follow a similar timeline. Our goal is to become successful in the competitive national wrestling landscape."
AU will see men's wrestling return to campus after a 35 year hiatus, becoming an official NCAA Division III program and according to the NCAA, in the 2020-2021 season a total of 116 men's wrestling programs will compete in NCAA Division III. Men's and women's wrestling is currently classified as a winter sport, with competition beginning in October and running through February with the men having a NCAA Division III Championship in March.
The Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association (WCWA) governs women's wrestling and has overseen the national championships since 2008. A total of 59 collegiate institutions will field varsity women's wrestling teams in 2019-2020. Women's wrestling was recently approved as an emerging sport by the NCAA committee on women's athletics and will be added to the NCAA emerging sports lineup on August 1, 2020, a huge step toward evolving into an NCAA Championship-Level sport in the future. Currently, intercollegiate women's programs compete in National Collegiate Championship in March.
Aurora University is a member of the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference (NACC), Northern Collegiate Hockey Association and Central Intercollegiate Bowling Conference. The NACC began its first season of competition in the fall of 2006 and consists of 12 colleges and universities from the shared-border states of Illinois and Wisconsin. Member schools include: Alverno College, Aurora University, Benedictine University, Concordia University Chicago, Concordia University Wisconsin, Dominican University, Edgewood College, Lakeland College, Marian University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Rockford University and Wisconsin Lutheran College with St. Norbert College joining for the 2021-2022 year.
Aurora University currently sponsors 22 sports; 19 of the 21 Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference sponsored sports as well as men's and women's hockey and women's bowling. Men's teams in the NACC include baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field and volleyball. Women's NACC squads are fielded in basketball, cross country, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, and volleyball.
AU will begin the process of hiring a head coach for each the men's and women's wrestling program in the coming weeks with information on the highly competitive position to be made available on the Aurora University website. Aurora University is located in Aurora, Illinois -- the second largest city in the state -- about 40 miles west of downtown Chicago.