The changes require a wrestler to compete in at least eight matches in the weight class in which the wrestler plans to compete. They also set the pre-allocation number per weight class at 29, meaning that four of the 33 spots available in each class are reserved for at-large selections.
Wrestlers must meet or exceed two of the criteria to reach the “bronze standard,” which is the level at which wrestlers become eligible for at-large selection to the championships field. Previously, wrestlers had to meet only one of the following criteria to be eligible for at-large selection:
- Top 33 RPI
- Top 33 coaches ranking (2/22/12 measure)
- .700 winning percentage against all competition
- One win against a wrestler receiving automatic qualification via an earned position
- Qualifying event placement one below automatic qualification
Additionally, a wrestler must have participated in his respective conference or regional qualifying tournament to be considered for an at-large selection to the championships.
All of the changes are effective for the 2011-12 season.
Cabinet members supported the minimum of eight matches to maintain a competitive balance and help the Division I Wrestling Committee manage at-large selections. They also believe it helps strengthen the weight-management plan for the sport, ensuring that student-athletes compete regularly at the desired competition weight class rather than wrestle in multiple classes.
By fixing the number of pre-allocated positions per weight class at 29, the cabinet feels that student-athlete performance during the regular season will be the driving factor in the wrestler’s selection to the national championships.