Athletic Director Charlie Gartenmayer has announced that the Benedictine College Athletic Department will add intercollegiate wrestling starting with the 2012-13 school year.
"There are many kids who are wrestling at the high school level with nowhere to go to pursue this sport at the collegiate level," Gartenmayer said.
The search for a head coach will begin immediately with the hopes of having a coach in place to recruit during the 2011-12 school year with sights set on competing during the 2012-13 school year.
According to Gartenmayer, in addition to seeing a need to help give high school students an outlet to pursue an education while competing in wrestling, the addition will help enhance Benedictine's enrollment.
Secondly, many of the remaining 10 schools that will form the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) in 2011-12 indicated at the recent HAAC Council of Presidents meetings that wrestling was a sport where they would most likely expand.
Missouri Valley College and Baker University are the only two HAAC schools that currently have wrestling and are remaining in the conference. Lindenwood University also offers wrestling but will be leaving the conference at the end of the current school year.
Currently 16 of 41 schools who were listed by the NAIA as wrestling participating schools come from Oklahoma (Bacone and Oklahoma City), Missouri (Missouri Valley, Missouri Baptist and Hannibal-LaGrange), Iowa (Briar Cliff, Grand View, Morningside, Northwestern, Waldorf and William Penn), Nebraska (Concordia, Hastings, Midland and York) and Kansas (Baker).
The total number of participating schools will drop to 36 for the 2011-12 academic year as five current NAIA schools begin their transition to NCAA Div. II.
According to the NCAA website for Div. II wrestling, there are 57 schools who offer wrestling at that level with four regional schools on the list - University of Central Missouri, Newman University, Truman State and Fort Hays State University.
Four schools offer wrestling at the junior college level in Kansas - Colby, Labette, Neosho and Pratt.