By BRANDON CLEAVER
REGISTER STAFF WRITER
Wrestling may receive a much-needed boost as Iowa State prepares to host the World Team Trials at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
“Wrestling is in a crisis state, “said 13-year Iowa State coach Bobby Douglas. “Wrestling isn’t growing at the university level and we’ve lost over 200 programs in the last 20 years.
“Title IX’s proportionality clause has devastated wrestling. Most athletic directors have tried to get rid of wrestling.”
The Trials feature the nation’s best wrestlers in the three Olympic styles: men’s freestyle, Greco-Roman and women’s freestyle.
Competition begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, with third-place matches scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The best-of-three final matches will begin at 10 a.m. Sunday.
Winners will represent the United States in the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, on Sept. 26-Oct. 2.
Douglas said the state of Iowa can revitalize wrestling.
“Iowa is one of the main places for the promotion and development of wrestling. If wrestling is going to grow, it’s going to grow from the middle to the rest of the country, “Douglas said.
The World Team Trials were in Waterloo in 1998. He said one of the highest attended trials were the 1968 Olympic Trials in Ames, where he qualified for his second Olympic team.
“By the 2008 Olympic Trials, it would have been almost 40 years since Iowa has hosted this event, “Douglas said. “We want a chance to host the Olympic Trials.”
Iowa State spokesman Tom Kroeschell said approximately 1,000 tickets have been sold. He said he expects many tickets will be sold Saturday and Sunday.
“Attendance at Iowa will determine whether or not they bring the Trials back here in 2008, “Douglas said. “So we need fannies in the stands.”
Douglas believes the weight of this event won’t be felt until 2008.
“Eighty percent of the winners will be on the Olympic team, “Douglas said. “And 50 percent can come from Iowa.
“We have about 10 Olympic champions. This is a great opportunity for wrestling because it’s in a state where it’s respected, appreciated, and supported.”