The weight class conference champion in each qualifying tournament will earn an automatic qualifier to the national championships. Each conference was awarded additional pre-allocations based on the five-year average (2016-20) of pre-allocations earned by the conference in each weight class.
In recent years, pre-allocations have been determined by a formula measuring Division I winning percentage, ratings percentage index and coaches' ranking. A decrease in overall matches, and in particular non-conference matches, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, led the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee to transition to using the five-year historical average to determine pre-allocations for 2021. For any adjustments in conference alignment over the last five years, historical pre-allocations stayed with the conference where they were earned. The competition status of schools for 2021 also did not impact the calculation of pre-allocations.
"The committee knew that there wasn't going to be enough regular-season competition to utilize the existing process where wrestlers earned pre-allocations for their conference based on regular season performance," said Karen Langston, senior associate athletics director at California State University, Bakersfield and chair of the wrestling committee. "The option to utilize the five-year historical average was an equitable alternative, and the way it worked out has opened more at-large spots this year for deserving wrestlers who don't qualify through their conference tournament."
Note: The number under each weight class is the number of pre-allocations. Add the automatic qualifier for the conference tournament champion to account for the total qualifying spots available at each weight for each conference tournament (i.e ACC 125 has 2 pre-allocations plus 1 AQ to account for 3 total NCAA spots available at that weight
After the conference tournaments have concluded, the Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining at-large qualifiers to fill out the 33-man bracket in each weight class, which will be announced March 9, while brackets and seeding will be announced on ncaa.com at 6 p.m. March 10.
The coaches' rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class with two head coaches from each conference. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. For the first ranking, wrestlers must have two Division I matches in the weight class to be considered with at least one within the last 30 days.
Seven different schools are represented by the 10 wrestlers ranked at the top of their weight class in this opening ranking of the season covering matches through Sunday, February 7. Spencer Lee at 125 pounds, Jaydin Eierman at 141 and Michael Kemerer at 174 give Iowa three wrestlers ranked at the top of their weight class. Virginia Tech is the only other school with multiple top-ranked wrestlers with former NCAA champion Mekhi Lewis at 165 pounds and Hunter Bolen at 184.
The additional top-ranked wrestlers include Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State at 133 pounds, Sammy Sasso of Ohio State at 149, Hayden Hidlay of NC State at 157, Eric Schultz of Nebraska at 197 and Gable Steveson of Minnesota at heavyweight.
Link: NCAA Division I Wrestling Coaches' Rankings