UPDATED: Official Word Comes Thursday, But You Can Bet Hawkeye Wrestlers Will Place Mat On Kinnick Stadium Turf This Fall
Basketball and hockey have both had huge outdoor games played in front of large crowds, and now it's wrestling's turn... at the University of Iowa.
The Hawkeye wrestling program has ranked number one nationally in attendance for each of the last nine seasons, but Penn State holds the all-time record for most people at a single dual meet with the 15,996 that saw the Nittany Lions defeat Pittsburgh 28-9 at the Bryce Jordan Center on December 8, 2013. Iowa wants that record back and a dual inside Kinnick Stadium, with a capacity of 70,585, would virtually assure it. The tweet below from the Iowa Wrestling program caused a huge amount of buzz and now comes word of a press conference.
The University of Iowa wrestling program will be making a social media announcement via Twitter Thursday at noon, with a press conference on the field at Kinnick Stadium an hour later. Wrestling coach Tom Brands, Athletic Director Gary Barta, and Hawkeye wrestlers will all be on hand. The complete 2015-16 schedule will also be released at the time.
The rampant speculation is that Iowa will announce they'll wrestle Minnesota (currently scheduled for January 30th of 2016) Saturday, November 14th prior to the night football game between Iowa and the Golden Gophers.
How cold could it be for wrestling outside on November 14th in Iowa City? The average high temperature on that date is 51 degrees. Let's assume the meet starts at noon. Historically, that would put the temperature around 48 degrees for the first match. A pretty comfortable temp for spectators and near utopia for the actual wrestlers, when they're on the mat.
When reached by phone last week, Iowa coach Tom Brands told Hawk Central that, "There's something big coming. And we're excited about it." The wrestling community is about to be excited too... and not just fans of Hawkeye wrestling. Tomorrow will be a big day for the sport.
Update: The rumors were almost totally right. The Hawkeye wrestlers will indeed host a dual inside Kinnick Stadium Saturday, November 14th before the night football game between Iowa and Minnesota. However, the wrestling opponent won't be Minnesota, but instead the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Okie State and Iowa have a combined 57 national titles (Iowa 23 and Oklahoma State 34). It will mark the first time in history that two NCAA teams will wrestle in a Division I football stadium. The meet will begin at 11 am.
The first 15,000 tickets sold will have a reserved seat at Carver-Hawkeye should the weather force a move indoors. Season ticket holder can begin buying tickets today. I'm not a season ticket holder, but when they go on sale to the general public, I'll likely be buying some. This is an event that wrestler lovers won't want to miss.