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Could Women’s Wrestling Eventually be added at Oklahoma State?

Some blue blood will be the first, will it be the Pokes?



Something not often discussed in Oklahoma State athletics circles is the addition of new sports. But in our interview on his plans for a new wrestling facility OSU athletic director Mike Holder brought up the topic of women’s wrestling.

So I want to build something that’s a clear span, a room with 8 or 10 mats, and you could train not only our team, but a club team, or Olympic team, or World team, and try to draw athletes from all over the world to come to Stillwater to train for wrestling competitions. Whether it be collegiate or international. Maybe you’ll add women’s wrestling someday? That’s growing.

Holder’s comments were obviously no direct indication that Oklahoma State would be starting a women’s wrestling program. But when your athletic director brings it up it seems that it’s something he’s keenly aware of and wants to be able to accommodate if possible.

His statement regarding the growth of women’s wrestling is accurate. It’s legitimately one of the fastest-growing sports out there. Just this summer the NCAA DIII Council recommended adding it as an emerging sport, and “The NCAA’s Committee on Women’s Athletics (CWA) has “recommended that all three divisions of the NCAA governance structure add women’s wrestling as an NCAA emerging sport, effective August 1, 2020.”

Fifteen new college programs will take the mat for the first time this year! And it’s actually growing at a higher rate at the high school level, which naturally corresponds to even more growth at the college level. The OSSAA even recently announced they would crown state champions in girls wrestling.

A number of lower-level colleges have added women’s wrestling and now it’s starting to transition to D1. In the past two years Presbyterian, headed by former OSU assistant and OU head coach Mark Cody, has added the sport as has Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.

Further enhancing the dialogue that this “could” happen is the fact John Smith is one of the bigger ambassadors for women’s wrestling. In 2017 John was the Women’s World team coach and named USA Wrestling’s Women’s coach of the year. He’s also notably been working with Olympic Gold Medalist Helen Maroulis and training her toward her 2020 Olympic run.

As Mike Holder brought up in our interview a few weeks ago, the budget at Oklahoma State is not a very large one. And the somewhat unfortunate reality is the majority of Oklahoma State fans and supporters probably aren’t exactly pushing to make this happen, but much of the wrestling world is waiting and watching to see which blue blood D1 wrestling program will be the first to add women’s wrestling. And there’s plenty to indicate that OSU could at some point in the future be that program.

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