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Poll: What do you think has been the cause of wrestling power shifting east?
Breakup of the Big 8/12
Cael Sanderson's move from ISU to PSU
Big Ten Network
Keeping local kids home
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Was it Cael Sanderson or a splintered Big12 that shifted wrestling power Eastward?
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Big Ron Buckeye Offline
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Post: #1
Was it Cael Sanderson or a splintered Big12 that shifted wrestling power Eastward?
Being a Midwestern boy that grew up during a time when Iowa, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma collectively dominated college wrestling, I know that I'm not the only one to notice that while those programs are still elite blue bloods of the sport and one or more of them is always in the National Title hunt... Penn State and Ohio State are the new axis upon which College Wrestling now revolves (my English teacher would not appreciate that run on sentence).
I have 3 theories maybe 4 that I have regarding this shift.
1. Breakup of the Big 8/12. Of the aforementioned schools... 3 of them were Big 8/12. I grew up in the 80s and 90s and while the Big Ten had Iowa on an annual basis, the Big 8/12 had seemingly 2 or 3 of the other top five slots. I think a lot was lost on a national level with the loss of Mizzou and Nebraska. Mizzou runs through the resource deficient MAC and Nebraska is in a solid position in the B1G... But who were they replaced with? While the Big 12 added good programs long established rivals with similar resources and name recognition bring in more notoriety than smaller budget schools (no disrespect intended)
2. Cael Sanderson move from his alma mater Iowa State to Penn State Shook the wrestling world at the time and the move is still reverberating almost a decade later.I am not sure why he made the move but he has turned Penn State into an absolute monster. Meanwhile Iowa St doesn't seem to be the program it used to be prior to Cael's departure.
3. Big Ten Network. Fighting for airtime during the crowded winter window (NBA, NHL, NFL Playoffs, NCAA Hoops (men & women) ) has never worked out too well. But it is often featured on BTN with prime time slots. And there are far more events available for family and friends to watch on btn plus. This has to be a huge recruiting draw for parents that want to see their kiddos wrestle thats not avaliable for any other wrestling conference except maybe a couple of Pac 12 schools.
4. Coaches that know how to capitalize on local recruits. I wrestled in Ohio many moons ago and one thing that I knew then was there was a lot talent in Ohio and if we ever got a guy that could keep that talent home that the Buckeyes would be formidable. Well when guys like Tom Ryan, Cael Sanderson, and Scott Goodale are keeping in state talent in state on top of a few choice recruits from out of state... You have the rise of that local program.

P.s. Shout out to Rutgers and Michigan. Scott Goodale is recruiting on an elite level and Joe McFarland has lifted that program in recent years.
02-04-2018 05:23 PM
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mikeinsec127 Online
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Post: #2
RE: Was it Cael Sanderson or a splintered Big12 that shifted wrestling power Eastward?
I think you are looking at a combination of all four happening in fairly short order, causing the shift.

One other factor that should be discussed is that the BIG made wrestling a priority when it invited new schools. Yes, football and cable subscriptions were the driving forces to bring in Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland. But the BIG expanded in a very methodical way and seemed to place a special priority on making sure that all new members had solid wrestling programs. It is almost as if somebody noticed an under appreciated niche market that could be exploited. Since expansion, attendance is up considerably at several schools - note RU's jump in numbers. This has turned the B10 into THE wrestling conference. It dominates the sport the way the SEC has been dominating football. This has turned the Midlands into a mid-season preview of the NCAA tournament.
02-05-2018 10:08 AM
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