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Iowa Launches First Power 5 Women's Wrestling Program

Brock Fritz

Women’s wrestling is coming to the University of Iowa in 2023-24.

The Hawkeyes became the first NCAA Division I school in a Power 5 conference to form a women’s wrestling program when they announced the sport’s addition Thursday. The Iowa athletic department plans to immediately begin looking for a women’s wrestling head coach, with competition set for 2023-24.

“This is an exciting day for the university, our department and the sport of women’s wrestling,” Iowa director of athletics Gary Barta said. “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.”

“This is important to a lot of people for a lot of reasons,” said Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands. “This is historic. 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.”

Brands is referencing the Carver Circle Campaign, which is in the process of funding a new world-class wrestling training facility in Iowa City.

While the Hawkeyes will have the first women’s wrestling program in the Power 5, they won’t be the first in the country. Iowa’s press release noted that there are currently 45 intercollegiate women’s wrestling programs, including five in Iowa. Iowa is one of 32 states to have a sanctioned high school girls’ wrestling state championship, with over 600 girls in Iowa participating last year.

“We are committed to gender equity and Title IX compliance,” Barta said. “As the national landscape related to enrollment continues to change, adding women’s wrestling puts us in a better position for the future.”

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