USA Wrestling Will NCAA Div. I Wes...

Will NCAA Div. I Western Carolina add men's and women's wrestling soon?

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling, and Collegiate Consulting | Sept. 09, 2020, 9:53 a.m. (ET)

Editor's Note: It is great news when a college sports consulting firm recommends the addition of men's and women's wrestling, and that is what happened last week. Collegiate Consulting, which has worked with over 500 colleges since 2005, gave Western Carolina University a sports sponsorship study, including targeting sports for the school to add to its athletic department. In that study, both men's and women's wrestling made the cut.

Western Carolina is an NCAA Div. I institution which competes in the Southern Conference. The Southern Conference sponsors men's wrestling and the Catamounts could join its eight-team wrestling conference. In women's wrestling, which recently received NCAA Emerging Sports Status at Div. I, there is one Div. I program, Presbyterian, which also competes in the Sourthern Conference on the men's side. There is a great opportunity for Western Carolina to develop successful programs in both men's and women's wrestling. Both programs would have many other teams to wrestle against in their region.

To us, men's and women's wrestling seems like a perfect match for Western Carolina. Makes all the sense in the world...

Here is a press release published by Collegiate Consulting detailing its sports sponsorship study for Western Carolina.

Collegiate Consulting Completes Sports Sponsorship Study for Western Carolina

CULLOWHEE, NC (SEPT. 4, 2020) – Western Carolina University brought on Collegiate Consulting to conduct a sports sponsorship study. The institution, a Southern Conference member since 1976, is exploring the possibility of adding sports programs.

The study includes an analysis of the athletic department’s current budget, financial aid allocation, and competitiveness, as well as program specific figures for men’s wrestling and the two women’s sports explored - women’s lacrosse, and women’s wrestling.

Within the region, there are 19 men’s wrestling teams, 26 women’s lacrosse teams, and nine women’s wrestling teams. The NCAA has recently announced the addition of women’s wrestling as an emerging sport. Within the state of North Carolina, high school men’s wrestling participation is high, while women’s lacrosse continues to grow.

Collegiate Consulting developed a five-year timeline for men’s wrestling and each women’s sport. For men’s wrestling, the starting operating budget is $112,500 with a two-person coaching staff by 2022. The Division I financial aid maximum for men’s wrestling, 9.90 scholarships, would be reached under Collegiate Consulting’s recommendation via a staggered model by 2024. Women’s lacrosse would have a coaching staff size of two and an operating budget of $136,900. Women’s wrestling would have a scholarship cap of 4.0; with a head coach and year one operating budget of $85,000.

An 18-month ramp up schedule was developed starting in 2021-22 with a partial schedule. Western Carolina currently has 16 sports, with men’s wrestling potentially being its eighth men’s program.

About Collegiate Consulting: Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Collegiate Consulting is a comprehensive solutions-based intercollegiate consulting firm focused on offering athletic departments, conferences and associations a single-entity resource across an extensive platform of services. Since their inception in 2005, Collegiate Consulting has worked with over 550 institutions on projects such as searches like Saint Leo’s, feasibility studies, operational studies and strategic planning.