NCAA proposal recommends cap on 2021 winter and spring championships

In their meeting earlier this week, the NCAA Division III Championships Committee recommended limiting all winter and spring championships to 75% of their standard capacity. This applies equally to team and individual sports. If the proposal were to go into effect for wrestling, the NCAA bracket would be reduced from 180 athletes to 135.

Before this proposal becomes reality, feedback will be solicited from the various sport committees. Then the Management and Presidents Councils will make the final decision. This decision could come next month.

Putting this proposal into action for wrestling would require a significant reworking of the qualification procedures. Presently, the top three wrestlers in each weight from each of six regions qualifies into a bracket of 18 competitors. Dropping from 180 to 135 could result in the return of some sort of at-large selections as well as true-second matches at the regional tournaments.

The cost of hosting championships and budget constraints related to COVID-19 are the driving factors behind this proposal. Hosting all rounds of winter and spring championships at predetermined sites and enhanced testing and sanitation protocols will add $9 million to the championships budget for 2020-2021, and reducing field sizes has been proposed to help limit expenses. Division III had already experienced a $7.6 million budget shortfall for 2019-2020 as a result of the cancellation of winter and spring championships.

Proposal caps brackets at 75% for Division III winter, spring championships


  • John Connelly DO says:

    As a coach, and family doctor, I think it’s far too early to be making a decision about limiting the number of wrestlers participating at nationals. We have months before we have to make that decision. Two few Division III athletes get to participate at nationals as it is. There will be 116 Division III schools this year, and possibly seven more next year. We currently have 18 per week class. That is 15%. Division two has 61 schools, with 16 going out each week class. That’s 26%. Division one has 33 per week class with only 78 schools. That is a staggering 42%. I understand a lot of this is about the finance and logistics. But I think eventually we need to open up the way classes to include at least the top four if not top five in each region going to nationals. For now, I would implore the NCAA not to make any premature decisions until we see where the country stands with controlling this virus.

  • John cashmore says:

    One of the best post I have seen on any wrestling site. Thank you for your comments and thoughts. Your statistics also emphasize the importance of working towards a better balance of competition at the qualifying regionals for D3.

  • BA says:

    The NCAA will most likely approve this recommendation for this year due to budget shortfall. But we don’t need to take away the already low participation rate at the D3 level. So how can we at least keep what we have? We will need to pay for 40 wrestlers and a few coaches. Can we recommend that in our regional championship we add in our entrance fee a ($200-$500)budget line for one year that will first help defer any cost associated with these 40 athletes. Second, if a particular school has the means (alumni fund, endowment, fundraising fund) to pay for their athlete that qualified they can use that and save funds for other athletes that may not have that ability. I realize pay to play doesn’t seem right but I will argue that the athlete, coach and parents would rather give the opportunity to the deserving athlete rather than stay home. Especially after last year. We need to remember not all athletes will need flights to get to this years championships. Not all athletes will need extra hotel rooms because they will already have other teammates going. There are no excuses to not make this happen, wrestling always rises above every challenge and this should be no different. Just my 2 cents!! #WINatEVERYTHING

  • Bob says:

    You have got to be kidding me. How much more is 45 more kids going to cost? So you screwed up with Basketball and the Wrestling championships last year and now you still have not learned. if it is not about Covid 19 and it is all financial then put the burden on the schools to raise the money that is needed for 45 kids. You might be able to get that selling cookies.

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