The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Women’s wrestling projected to earn NCAA Championship status by winter 2026

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics voted Wednesday to recommend Divisions I, II, and III sponsor legislation to add a national collegiate women’s wrestling championship.
Fans+celebrate+after+a+win+by+Iowa%E2%80%99s+NCAA+No.+2+101-pound+Sterling+Dias+during+the+Iowa+Duals+between+No.+1+Iowa%2C+Life+University%2C+and+Missouri+Valley+College+at+Carver-Hawkeye+Arena+on+Sunday%2C+Jan.+21%2C+2024.+The+Hawkeyes+defeated+Missouri+Valley%2C+42-0%2C+and+Life+University+%2C35-6.
Isabella Tisdale
Fans celebrate after a win by Iowa’s NCAA No. 2 101-pound Sterling Dias during the Iowa Duals between No. 1 Iowa, Life University, and Missouri Valley College at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024. The Hawkeyes defeated Missouri Valley, 42-0, and Life University ,35-6.

The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics voted Wednesday to recommend Divisions I, II, and, III sponsor legislation to add a national collegiate women’s wrestling championship.

The committee oversees the Emerging Sports for Women program. An emerging sport is recognized by the NCAA but does not have sanctioned NCAA Championships.  Since the program’s establishment in 1994, five sports have earned NCAA Championship status, with beach volleyball being the most recent in 2015.

“We are excited to recommend women’s wrestling as the 91st NCAA championship sport,” said Ragean Hill, chair of the Committee on Women’s Athletics. “We are extremely proud of the work USA Wrestling has done to make this a reality in such a short period of time.”

Before the committee can make a recommendation to add a championship for an emerging sport, 40 schools must sponsor it at a varsity level and meet the sport’s minimum competition and participant requirements. Women’s wrestling, which became an emerging sport in 2020, surpassed that number in the 2022-23 academic year.

“The rise in sponsorship and participation numbers for women’s wrestling is yet another proof point of the rapid growth of women’s sports. The sport is also a growing Olympic pipeline, helping produce multiple medalists at the 2020 Games,” NCAA President Charlie Baker said. “The NCAA is excited to continue investing in the sport to help it grow and provide more opportunities for student-athletes.”

Per the NCAA, the projected timeline to add a women’s wrestling championship is below: 

  • Each division is expected to review the recommendation and sponsor a proposal by its respective 2024-25 legislative cycle deadline.
  • The recommendation also includes establishing a Women’s Wrestling Committee, which would begin its work in January 2025, to allow time to prepare for a championship in winter 2026. 
  • If sponsored, the divisions are expected to vote on the proposals during the 2025 NCAA Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, Jan. 15-18. 
  • If adopted on that timeline, the first women’s wrestling championship would be held in winter 2026.

Iowa announced in September 2021 that it would become the first Division I Power Five program to add women’s wrestling. The Hawkeyes went 16-0 in dual completion in their inaugural season, claiming the NWCA National Duals title.

The National Collegiate Women’s Wrestling Championship — not sanctioned by the NCAA — is set for March 8-9 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

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About the Contributors
Brad Schultz, Sports Reporter
(he/him/his)
Brad Schultz is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication with a minor in Sports Studies. This is first year working as a sports reporter and he has a deep passion and love for sports. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Brad is a contributor for Saturday Blitz, a college football site, with his content primarily covering Iowa and the Big Ten.
Kenna Roering, Sports Editor
she/her/hers
Kenna Roering is The Daily Iowan's sports editor. She is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism with a minor in sports and recreation management. Kenna previously worked as a sports reporter for men's wrestling and volleyball and was the summer sports editor in 2023. This is her second year with the DI.
Isabella Tisdale, Photojournalist
(she/her)
Isabella Tisdale is a photojournalist for The Daily Iowan and is a senior at West High school. In her free time, she stage manages for the theater program at West High. She plans to double major in political science and journalism.