The Pac-12 Conference announced Thursday a series of measures to strengthen and grow the sport of wrestling in the conference, including an initiative to add members to its wrestling ranks beyond the current membership of six programs for the first time in more than a decade.
With the recent reinstatement of the Stanford program, the Pac-12 is committed to building upon the foundation of success earned this past season, which included an individual NCAA champion, a fourth-place team finish at NCAA championships and eight All-American honors.
The decision to seek additional wrestling members represents a significant commitment to both bolster competitive opportunities and success for Pac-12 wrestling student-athletes, and strengthen collegiate wrestling on the West Coast.
To support the growth of Pac-12 wrestling, the conference recently adjusted some of its wrestling policies, including the following:
• The conference eliminated a restriction that capped the number of wrestling affiliates to the minimum number needed to keep NCAA AQ status.
• The conference approved a policy change that will allow affiliate members to host the conference championships in future years.
• The conference approved the hiring of an officials assigner for conference matches and the conference championships, starting with the 2021-22 academic year.
• The conference will establish a wrestling schedule rotation so as to evenly balance home and away matches during the conference season.
It is the hope of the conference and its wrestling members that this effort will not only lead to more wrestling affiliates but will also help create additional interest in the sport for the next generation of young athletes on the West Coast.
“This is an exciting initiative that not only stabilizes wrestling on the West Coast, but shows the Pac-12 Conference’s commitment to expanding Division 1 wrestling," Oregon State coach Chris Pendleton said "I’m looking forward to adding more teams, and together we can all push the Pac-12 Conference to new heights.”
“It is our pleasure to join the Pac-12 Conference and its wrestling community in this important initiative to add future league affiliates,” added Ray Anderson, Arizona State Vice President for University Athletics. “These measures outlined by the conference are an important first step in making this happen. The sport of wrestling has always been an important part of Sun Devil athletics legend and lore. We must do everything in our power to strengthen and grow the sport of wrestling, especially on the West Coast where it is so essential to our stability. Arizona State University will do everything it can to assist in this effort.”