2003 NCAA Wrestling Championships status Still on as scheduled as of Tuesday at noon

By Gary Abbott | March 18, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
The status of the 2003 NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships, set for March 20-22 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo. is still uncertain due to the possibility of war. As of noon on Tuesday, the tournament is still a go, according to an NCAA official. The NCAA has indicated in statements over the last 24 hours that the NCAA Div. I Basketball Championships and other NCAA Championships this week could be postponed if the United States goes to war in Iraq. "At this point in time, everything is go-ahead to hold all six session by Saturday, with no delays," said Greg Weitekamp, NCAA Media Coordinator of the Div. I Wrestling Championships at noon on Tuesday. Weitekamp is in Kansas City, helping organize the media operations for the competition. According to Weitekamp, the NCAA YES Clinic, scheduled for 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. tonight (Tues. March 18) at Kemper Arena will be held as scheduled. This is a NCAA-sponsored youth wrestling clinic featuring top wrestling clinicians affiliated with the competition. Anita Brunette, a USOC spokesperson, indicated that "as of this time, we will keep the championships as scheduled until further notice." Brunette said that the NCAA will issue an official statement about this issue at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday night. According to another NCAA source, security issues for non-revenue NCAA championships such as wrestling aren't as high as the men's basketball tournament, so there is the posibility that those events could go on as planned. On Monday night, President George W. Bush issued a deadline of 48-hours for Saddam Hussein and his sons to leave Iraq or face an invasion from the United States and its allies. The deadline could pass, and war begin, prior to the first whistle of the wrestling championships on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. Central time. According to USA Today, NCAA CEO Myles Brand has indicated that there may be delays in NCAA competition this week. "We have to show respect and concern for our men and women in uniform," said Brand in a USA Today interview. "At the same time, we want to make sure we don't let our lives be taken over by a tyrant." TheMat.com has arrived in Kansas City, Mo. and will report any new information about the status of NCAA Wrestling Championships when and if it becomes available. Curt Blake, the athletic director of Rider and Chair of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee, has not yet arrived in Kansas City and could not be reached. When the NCAA headquarters switchboard was called at 11:30 a.m., a message was played that indicated that there was an "office-wide staff meeting," and that callers should respond again at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday. When phoned again 20 minutes later, the NCAA switchboard was again open with staff available and answering phones. The national media reports have concentrated mostly on the NCAA Basketball Championships contest which are set to begin on Thursday. The NCAA Wrestling Championships, which has not been mentioned in media reports, is the No. 4 profit-producing championship for the NCAA.