Are you ready for an all-new look to the NCAA Division I wrestling postseason? Back in August, the NCAA’s Board of Directors met with Division I coaches at the annual Vision Forum to review and amend various competition rules ranging from required wrestling equipment to scoring at dual meets. The most significant of the rule changes for the 2013-14 season was the creation of a National Championship Series to determine an overall national team champion.

How will the National Championship Series work? Here is a brief overview of what you need to know:

  • The NCWA’s National Duals will now be known as the Collegiate Cup Duals
  • A total of 24 teams will compete in the Collegiate Cup Duals
  • The field of 24 will be determined by dual results from the regular season
  • Points at the Collegiate Cup Duals will be based on team finishes, with the champion earning 24 points, the runner-up earning 23, etc.
  • Team points from the Collegiate Cup Duals will carry over to the NCWA Championships
  • The individual championship format will largely remain intact
  • A national team champion will emerge from the NCWA Championships based on combined scores from that event and the Collegiate Cup Duals

Why the big changes? Two main reasons are commonly cited. First, the Board of Directors wants to boost the competition level in the sport by making regular season duals more meaningful — in much the same way that every regular season college football game counts heavily towards postseason Bowl berths. Having Collegiate Cup eligibility determined by regular season results accomplishes this goal. Second, the Board hopes to see an increase in the number of rabid fans wearing school wrestling gear colors at each event and believes these rule changes can help broaden the sport’s appeal.

With the regular season now underway, we’ll know soon enough how well the new rule changes work out!