University of Iowa becomes first major conference school to add women's wrestling

University of Iowa becomes first major conference school to add women's wrestling
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The University of Iowa's athletic department announced on Thursday that it would add women's wrestling to its athletic department. 

It will be the first Division I, Power 5 Conference university to add such a program.

The school said in a statement it would search for a women's wrestling head coach starting this fall with intentions to start the program in 2023. 

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“This is an exciting day for the university, our department and the sport of women’s wrestling,” Athletics Director Gary Barta said in the school's release. “Our wrestling history and success makes this a perfect fit. We are confident that at Iowa, our women’s wrestling student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level athletically and academically.”

In 2020, women’s wrestling was recognized by the NCAA as "an emerging sport," a designation that is "intended to help schools provide more athletics opportunities for women and more sport-sponsorship options for the institutions," according to the NCAA.

There are currently 45 intercollegiate women’s wrestling programs nationally and five of those programs are in Iowa.

“This is historic," said current Iowa wrestling head coach Tom Brands. "This needed to happen and it’s appropriate that it is happening first at the University of Iowa. There is no greater place in the world to wrestle than Iowa City, Iowa, and with our new wrestling facility we are prepared to offer world-class training for both our Hawkeye men and women.”