2015 NWCA National Duals return to Iowa City

Updated: August 8, 2014

The 2015 National Duals, a tournament for NCAA Division I teams and conducted by the National Wrestling Coaches Association since 1989, will return to Iowa City next February for the first time since 1999.

The event will last over two Sundays (Feb. 15 and 22) with 16 teams meeting in eight different locations around the country on Feb. 15. The winners of those duals will advance to an eight-team bracket that will be contested on Feb. 22.

The first-round match-ups include:

• Drexel at Cornell

• Georgia Mason at Lehigh

• Virginia at Iowa

• Oklahoma at UT Chattanooga

• American University at Missouri

• Minnesota at North Dakota State

• Kent State at Illinois

• Ohio State at Edinboro

Minnesota has won the last three National Duals, including last year’s tournament in Columbus, Ohio. The tournament, which grew out of the Virginia Duals, were held in just one location — including five years in Lincoln, Neb., (1993-97) and Cedar Falls, Iowa (2006-11) — until 2012 when a regional format was created with four to eight teams advancing to a championship site: Stillwater, Okla. (2012), Minneapolis, Minn. (2013) and Columbus (2014).

The NWCA hopes Iowa, an annual leader in attendance, will draw more fans to the event, which has proven to be very controversial as many of the nation’s top programs have declined invitations to compete in the Duals.

“It could absolutely get us over the tipping point,” said NWCA executive director Mike Moyer. “I think there will be a terrific crowd and at least getting past the naysayers that if it is so great, why won’t people show up.”

Moyer, who supports the tournament primarily to make duals matter more and increase the fan base in programs, knows the debate on the tournament will continue … and actually hopes that debate continues.

“As controversial and debated as it has been, I just hope we can keep talking until we can land on something that everyone will support,” Moyer said. “When you look at the circumstances of our 77 Division I teams, they are so different that it is hard to come up with a concept whether it’s the National Duals or anything that works for all 77 Division I programs given how different they are. That’s a challenge but what is great is that there is a lot of dialogue going on.”

Moyer said the NCAA is considering taking over the National Duals and making it part of its traditional tournament that is held annually in March.

“Clearly, there is no consensus among the coaches for any model so the NCAA Wrestling Committee has taken the position they are going to move forward and try to get it through the different levels of approval with the NCAA,” Moyer said. “It remains to be seen what happens there.”