NCAA Wrestling Recruiting Rules and Calendar
A 2017 NCAA survey revealed that student-athletes were committing to college as early as freshman year due to loopholes in the NCAA rules. In May 2019, the NCAA released tighter recruiting regulations that prohibit college coaches from contacting student-athletes until June 15 after their sophomore year.
However, for some sports, early recruiting hasn’t been an issue in the past. For example, 72% of men’s wrestlers reported that their first recruiting contact began junior year or later. So, while the new NCAA rules may postpone the recruiting process for some other sports, they will likely accelerate the recruiting timeline for college wrestling.
Wrestling Recruiting Guidelines
How many weight classes are there in college wrestling? Unlike high school wrestling, which has 14 weight classes, NCAA college wrestling only offers 10 weight classes: 125, 133, 141, 149, 157, 165, 174, 184, 197 and heavyweight (183 to 285). When recruiting, college coaches will evaluate an athlete to predict how much higher a recruit will go in weight classes. How do they make this prediction? Visit our college wrestling recruiting guidelines to find out.
The Recruiting Process
The college recruiting process doesn’t start when college coaches can begin contacting recruits. Instead, you and your family should kickstart the recruiting process during freshman year with the following steps:
Research wrestling programs: About 400 colleges across the country offer men’s wrestling programs. Research each program by division level to identify which are the best fit for you and your needs.
Build a recruiting profile: College coaches rely on your recruiting profile to review stats and watch your recruiting video as part of their evaluation process.
Create a recruiting video: Your first impression on a coach will likely be your recruiting video. Make sure your video highlights the skills college coaches look for, which are outlined in NCSA’s men’s wrestling recruiting guidelines.
Attend wrestling camps: Participating in wrestling events can positively impact your college recruiting process by increasing your access and exposure to college coaches.
Contact college coaches: Don’t wait until June 15 of your sophomore year. Start reaching out to coaches at your prospective schools as early as freshman year to introduce yourself and express interest in the program.
Wrestling is an equivalency sport, so instead of having a specific number of athletes on scholarship, coaches are given a pool of money and they’re allowed to divvy it up among as many recruits and current roster athletes as they want. Therefore, they typically award partial scholarships, which means athletes still need to pay for part of their education. At the NCAA Division 1 level, coaches have a maximum of 9.9 scholarships per team, Division 2 has 9 scholarships, and NAIA coaches have 8 scholarships. The most opportunity is at the NJCAA level, where coaches have 20 scholarships per team.
Top-Ranked Men’s Wrestling Colleges
Finding the right college fit starts with understanding what you are looking for academically, athletically, socially and financially. Our annual NCSA Power Rankings feature the top colleges and universities with wrestling programs based on several factors, such as cost, size, location and academics. View a complete list of colleges offering men’s wrestling programs.
While all of this may seem overwhelming, NCSA experts are here to help you navigate the recruiting process with our complete men’s college wrestling recruiting guide.