I’ve wanted to write this post about Title IX for some time. As we all know, Title IX has reconfigured the landscape of minor sports such as collegiate wrestling.
Man’s oldest sport was all but pinned for a time; but it bridged, regrouped, and is standing in camaraderie. Division 1 collegiate wrestling programs today total slightly more than 70 teams. During the 1980s, the number of such teams exceeded 400.
Parity mattered greatly to collegiate wrestling. After a period of exceptional change, collegiate wrestling has actually emerged stronger because of it.
From coast to coast, recruited grapplers seem to choose a college closer to home. Regional powerhouses include the states of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio. Wrestlers from these states remain in the region for college, producing great parity among such schools as Cornell, Lehigh, Penn State, Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Virginia Tech.
This same theme carries across to the other conferences, too. Teams such as Missouri, Stanford, American University, and North Carolina State have emerged as equals—perhaps the unintended consequences of Title IX. And set aside your doubt as this parity delivers quality competitors.
As I share this notion with others, I find agreement. This year’s class of All-Americans would hold their own with those All-Americans from any previous decade.
That comment perhaps gives birth to another unintended consequence: dream matches across the decades. My first dream match: Dave Schultz against Kyle Dake! Let the debating begin!