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Faulkens view on Class Wrestling


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20 minutes ago, Y2CJ41 said:

We have fluctuated between 305 and 315 over the past 15ish years. Lots of reasons for the fluctuation from schools combining, new programs, schools closing, etc our number seems to change almost every year.

So we've fluctuated roughly 3% (10/305) over 15ish years..doesn't seem like a sky is falling scenario to me? And no mention of a class system being listed in your lots of reasons. I'm sure I'm missing something and will by told what that is. 

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It doesn't matter if random fans remember who a "champion" is. It matters to the kids that win and their schools. High school athletics should not be about the wins and losses, it NEEDS to be about bu

In my opinion. Coaches encouraging kids to do one sport only is the biggest issue to why participation in all sports is down. 

Most people won't ever understand small school athletics. It's easy to say just work harder. I've been coaching small schools for 33 years. It's been a struggle for most of them. We don't have the sam

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@UncleJimmy@Mattyb

 

Wrestling is down in Indiana, but it is up nationally. So, there is clearly a problem here in our own state that is not occurring everywhere. The reason Joe and I (and others) feel class is a very logical answer is...what do almost all of the other states have that we don't? A classed individual tournament. If classing the individual tournament were going to hurt, wouldn't participation be down across the board? No, it may not be the magic bullet, but is the most glaring difference between our state (where participation is declining) and most of the rest of the states (where participation is increasing). This sport is dying from the bottom up, not the top down.

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55 minutes ago, Mattyb said:

Another serious question... What data suggest that we are going to lose programs? 

Participation levels dropping 20-25% and a drastic increase in forfeits. Add to that all of the "fun" stuff athletic directors have to deal with in wrestling such as our weight management plan, hiring and finding coaches, and everything else. Wrestling is an easy target to get the axe when schools are looking to cut costs and headaches.

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I would like to know the numbers for youth wrestling. Perhaps @JMILL can give us the iswa participation numbers over the last handful of years. Are we losing kids there too?

 

I think the first step is to determine where the fall off begins. 

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5 minutes ago, Mattyb said:

I would like to know the numbers for youth wrestling. Perhaps @JMILL can give us the iswa participation numbers over the last handful of years. Are we losing kids there too?

 

I think the first step is to determine where the fall off begins. 

While he's at it, I would LOVE to see retention numbers. I think those are the most important numbers.

 

It was like 10+ years ago when Les Gutches was at the fall clinic and stated that USAW numbers were very consistent. However, the retention rate was something like 50%, so while we would have virtually the same number of athletes each year, half were new to the sport. He went on to give statistics on retention rates of other activities and sports and we were at the bottom. 

 

I will say that wrestling coaches are AWESOME at getting kids out for the sport. It is not easy to get kids out consistently. We do lack the ability to KEEP them out though, which in the end should be the goal. 

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To this point, (at least on this thread) there hasn't been any data shared that merits a serious justification for classing the sport. One argument was asking "how many programs do we have to lose," but then we've had little fluctuation in program count for the past ~15 years. 

 

The data regarding number of forfeits (which I agree appear to be up) would be more compelling. Even if that data screams that there is a participation problem, that's still simply a correlation without any measure of causal effect. Sure participation is lower but maybe class wrestling would help, maybe it wouldn't. Is there data from other states who have made the switch and seen their numbers rise? 

 

Even if the total number of wrestlers is down, seems to me that there would need to be larger analysis to include other sports. Perhaps participation is down in all sports. Is there a strong deviation in wrestling where numbers are down more than other sports? Maybe, maybe not. 

 

Now, leaving objectivity aside, I went to a 1A high school. I was a good wrestling at my high school but average when compared to the broader state perspective. Sure it would have been great to have made a deeper run in a classed tournament. I watched kids who made it to state in Ohio who I knew weren't as good. I got over it. Understood the dynamics and moved on. 

 

I like the charm of our state tournament and having one champ in each weight class. That said, if we would like to consider moving to a classed system in our sport, it's going to take an much more objective approach to quantifying the problem (if there is one) and identifying that class wrestling would, in fact, help solve that problem.

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4 minutes ago, CameronTroxell said:

To this point, (at least on this thread) there hasn't been any data shared that merits a serious justification for classing the sport. One argument was asking "how many programs do we have to lose," but then we've had little fluctuation in program count for the past ~15 years. 

 

The data regarding number of forfeits (which I agree appear to be up) would be more compelling. Even if that data screams that there is a participation problem, that's still simply a correlation without any measure of causal effect. Sure participation is lower but maybe class wrestling would help, maybe it wouldn't. Is there data from other states who have made the switch and seen their numbers rise? 

 

 

Just for context, its very rare to see a change in classifications across the country.  So there's really no data to compare.  Roughly 90% of the states have class wrestling.   Looking at this from a  historical perspective  in the United States high school athletics, there was a large surge in the 60s and 70s to reclassify organized school sports to have more equal competition with the same sized school.    When this classification process occurred,  most US states looked at wrestling as a team sport, and classified them in the same manner as football.  Indiana is much more of the exception than the rule.

 

Also,  go to another state or a state wrestling board like Indianamat  and ask them what they think of "class wrestling".   They'll probably respond and say "whats class wrestling"?   The term "class wrestling" is certainly an Indiana Colloquial phrase.   I agree with that we need to look at this from a data perspective.

 

I dont think people can get past there confirmation bias concerning class wrestling, so in this case, it relegates this to a moot point.   Ive lived in 5 Midwestern states and have been involved with the wrestling community in those states.   in the 4 states that have class wrestling,  Ive asked some friends their perspective.  I would  generally summarize their response  that class wrestling is the better way, but they are concerned about the sport being watered down.  As you see in Indiana,  a strong majority are adamant supports of a single class, resulting in @Galagorebeing overwhelmed with Chagrin.

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I am not so much chagrined as concerned.

 

Indiana wrestling participation per NFHS:

2015-2016: 7156

2016-2017: 6810

2017-2018: 6675

2018-2019: 6622

 

US wrestling participation per NHFS:

2015-2016: 264,149

2016-2017: 259,391

2017-2018: 262,126

2018-2019: 268,565

 

Last three years, HS wrestling in the US is getting more popular, while HS wrestling in Indiana is getting less popular.

 

Even the year there was a drop (15/16 to 16/17) both nationally and in IN, national numbers decreased by about 1.8%, while Indiana number decreased 4.8%, which is a pretty stark difference. Again, I don't know if class wrestling is the magic bullet, but it is the one big thing that we don't do that nearly the entire rest of the country does do.

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36 minutes ago, CameronTroxell said:

To this point, (at least on this thread) there hasn't been any data shared that merits a serious justification for classing the sport. One argument was asking "how many programs do we have to lose," but then we've had little fluctuation in program count for the past ~15 years. 

 

The data regarding number of forfeits (which I agree appear to be up) would be more compelling. Even if that data screams that there is a participation problem, that's still simply a correlation without any measure of causal effect. Sure participation is lower but maybe class wrestling would help, maybe it wouldn't. Is there data from other states who have made the switch and seen their numbers rise? 

 

Even if the total number of wrestlers is down, seems to me that there would need to be larger analysis to include other sports. Perhaps participation is down in all sports. Is there a strong deviation in wrestling where numbers are down more than other sports? Maybe, maybe not. 

 

Now, leaving objectivity aside, I went to a 1A high school. I was a good wrestling at my high school but average when compared to the broader state perspective. Sure it would have been great to have made a deeper run in a classed tournament. I watched kids who made it to state in Ohio who I knew weren't as good. I got over it. Understood the dynamics and moved on. 

 

I like the charm of our state tournament and having one champ in each weight class. That said, if we would like to consider moving to a classed system in our sport, it's going to take an much more objective approach to quantifying the problem (if there is one) and identifying that class wrestling would, in fact, help solve that problem.

Forfeits have almost doubled since 2009. Participation is down almost 25% since 2006.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Knl68lI1LvTmzACIn5kK3Uq3KCHTLEATGFHE_TdciEU/edit?usp=sharing

 

Per NFHS Data from 2002-2019

Sport Max Year Min Year Change
Swimming & Diving 4092 2005/2006 3477 2015/2016 15.03%
Golf 4652 2003/2004 3544 2018/2019 23.82%
Tennis 4818 2004/2005 4203 2010/2011 12.76%
Cross Country 5592 2018/2019 4799 2007/2008 14.18%
Wrestling 8495 2003/2004 6363 2018/2019 25.10%
Soccer 9216 2018/2019 7349 2002/2003 20.26%
Baseball 11868 2003/2004 10449 2018/2019 11.96%
Track and Field -- Outdoor 13757 2012/2013 10913 2002/2003 20.67%
Basketball 14240 2006/2007 10767 2018/2019 24.39%
Football -- 11-Player 23241 2008/2009 20218 2002/2003 13.01%
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It is also very important to contrast that with what is happening nationally. In 2003/2004 national wrestling participation was 238,700 and in 2018/2019 it was 268,565, which is a 12.5% increase. Even if you consider only boys (since only boys were counted in 2003/2004 survey) it is still an increase to 247,441. Why is there an increase nationally while we Hoosiers have lost one quarter of our participation?

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The additional data here is really helpful. I've been less involved and simply following as a passive fan for the last 10 years or so. I agree that the data that both of you have shared paint a fairly bleak picture. It obviously looks like participation is down in all sports and the different time periods make it a bit difficult to truly compare, but the data does suggest wrestling has been more adversely impacted than others.

 

At the end of the day, I would hate to see the sport in our state to ever be at risk. I get it. Having been at a small school, there is a double-edged sword that those programs are fighting. On one side, in order to get kids further in the tourney, you likely need to get them the best competition that you can. But, when you do that, you run the risk of having several wrestlers take a whole lot of lumps and likely become disinterested pretty easily. 

 

Perhaps it is time or near time to make a change. Maybe the freshman/sophomore state will help. I can see how the pageantry of our state tournament would be a needed element of a classed tourney, because let's be real, the product is something to be proud of and I believe it to be one of the coolest experiences a high school kid could have.

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20 minutes ago, Y2CJ41 said:

Forfeits have almost doubled since 2009. Participation is down almost 25% since 2006.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Knl68lI1LvTmzACIn5kK3Uq3KCHTLEATGFHE_TdciEU/edit?usp=sharing

 

Per NFHS Data from 2002-2019

Sport Max Year Min Year Change
Swimming & Diving 4092 2005/2006 3477 2015/2016 15.03%
Golf 4652 2003/2004 3544 2018/2019 23.82%
Tennis 4818 2004/2005 4203 2010/2011 12.76%
Cross Country 5592 2018/2019 4799 2007/2008 14.18%
Wrestling 8495 2003/2004 6363 2018/2019 25.10%
Soccer 9216 2018/2019 7349 2002/2003 20.26%
Baseball 11868 2003/2004 10449 2018/2019 11.96%
Track and Field -- Outdoor 13757 2012/2013 10913 2002/2003 20.67%
Basketball 14240 2006/2007 10767 2018/2019 24.39%
Football -- 11-Player 23241 2008/2009 20218 2002/2003 13.01%

I was analyzing this and I noticed the trend based on dates that golf participation is down 23.82.   With a significant decrease in Golf participation, does that mean  since we dont we don't have Class Golf, then is class Golf participation down?  Tennis is down also,  is this because we dont have class tennis?  Tennis and Golf are the other individual sports that compete like wrestling.    Are Class Tennis and Class Golf   real terms? 

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39 minutes ago, Y2CJ41 said:

Forfeits have almost doubled since 2009. Participation is down almost 25% since 2006.
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Knl68lI1LvTmzACIn5kK3Uq3KCHTLEATGFHE_TdciEU/edit?usp=sharing

 

Per NFHS Data from 2002-2019

Sport Max Year Min Year Change
Swimming & Diving 4092 2005/2006 3477 2015/2016 15.03%
Golf 4652 2003/2004 3544 2018/2019 23.82%
Tennis 4818 2004/2005 4203 2010/2011 12.76%
Cross Country 5592 2018/2019 4799 2007/2008 14.18%
Wrestling 8495 2003/2004 6363 2018/2019 25.10%
Soccer 9216 2018/2019 7349 2002/2003 20.26%
Baseball 11868 2003/2004 10449 2018/2019 11.96%
Track and Field -- Outdoor 13757 2012/2013 10913 2002/2003 20.67%
Basketball 14240 2006/2007 10767 2018/2019 24.39%
Football -- 11-Player 23241 2008/2009 20218 2002/2003 13.01%

Joe, I can’t thank you enough for time and time again digging up this data. What you have done with making this site work is incredible. Outstanding doesn’t begin to describe your efforts. Unfortunately you can drown people in data and it does not change their minds. You’re the man Joe! Keep up the work! 

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22 minutes ago, Wrestling Scholar said:

I was analyzing this and I noticed the trend based on dates that golf participation is down 23.82.   With a significant decrease in Golf participation, does that mean  since we dont we don't have Class Golf, then is class Golf participation down?  Tennis is down also,  is this because we dont have class tennis?  Tennis and Golf are the other individual sports that compete like wrestling.    Are Class Tennis and Class Golf   real terms? 

To me the difference... especially with golf is you can golf on your own you can go to a golf course you want all year round with out too much travel but most importantly you golfer don't need a team to get better... wrestling is different. tennis is more like wrestling but like golf tennis courts can be easy to find. wrestling take more travel and cost to be better which can be an issue in certain areas and small schools.

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2 Questions here:

 

According to 2018-19 NFHS Numbers, Indiana has 314 wrestling schools and 6,363 participants. 

New Jersey, also a one-class state, has 311 schools with wrestling and 9,648 participants. 

 

1. Do we see the same trend in participation in a single-class state, with nearly the same number of schools?

2. If not, why is there a nearly 3,000 participant discrepancy between us and New Jersey? 

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9 minutes ago, bomber_bob said:

2 Questions here:

 

According to 2018-19 NFHS Numbers, Indiana has 314 wrestling schools and 6,363 participants. 

New Jersey, also a one-class state, has 311 schools with wrestling and 9,648 participants. 

 

1. Do we see the same trend in participation in a single-class state, with nearly the same number of schools?

2. If not, why is there a nearly 3,000 participant discrepancy between us and New Jersey? 

 

What are the 2017-2018, 2016-2017, etc numbers for NJ?

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2018-19 - 311 Schools - 9,648

2017-18 - 313 Schools - 8,999

2016-17 - 310 Schools - 9,220

2015-16 - 310 Schools - 9,070

2014-15 - 312 Schools - 9,725

2013-14 - 317 Schools - 10,276

2012-13 - 310 Schools - 9,893

2011-12 - 315 Schools - 9,781

 

Over an 8 year span, it has fluctuated, but Jersey's participation is nearly identical to what it was in 2011-12. Why have they been able to keep participation at a higher and more consistent number? Statically speaking, they are a comparable state due to the number of schools that support a wrestling program, yet they have nearly 3,000 more participants in a single-class state.  

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10 minutes ago, bomber_bob said:

2018-19 - 311 Schools - 9,648

2017-18 - 313 Schools - 8,999

2016-17 - 310 Schools - 9,220

2015-16 - 310 Schools - 9,070

2014-15 - 312 Schools - 9,725

2013-14 - 317 Schools - 10,276

2012-13 - 310 Schools - 9,893

2011-12 - 315 Schools - 9,781

 

Over an 8 year span, it has fluctuated, but Jersey's participation is nearly identical to what it was in 2011-12. Why have they been able to keep participation at a higher and more consistent number? Statically speaking, they are a comparable state due to the number of schools that support a wrestling program, yet they have nearly 3,000 more participants in a single-class state.  

Doing some quick googling, NJ has roughly 2 million higher population in a quarter of the size.  Without looking at the enrollment numbers, i think a couple assumptions can be made:

 

1. Average school enrollment is higher in NJ, lending to the dialogue of bigger schools having better facilities, practice partners, etc.

2. Since the state is smaller, it may allow schools at certain talent levels to travel easier to find comparable competition, lowering "beatdown fatigue"

 

I'd be interested to see the enrollment numbers for NJ.  I bet they are much more homogeneous than our state.

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27 minutes ago, bomber_bob said:

2018-19 - 311 Schools - 9,648

2017-18 - 313 Schools - 8,999

2016-17 - 310 Schools - 9,220

2015-16 - 310 Schools - 9,070

2014-15 - 312 Schools - 9,725

2013-14 - 317 Schools - 10,276

2012-13 - 310 Schools - 9,893

2011-12 - 315 Schools - 9,781

 

Over an 8 year span, it has fluctuated, but Jersey's participation is nearly identical to what it was in 2011-12. Why have they been able to keep participation at a higher and more consistent number? Statically speaking, they are a comparable state due to the number of schools that support a wrestling program, yet they have nearly 3,000 more participants in a single-class state.  

 

Nationally, numbers are not fluctuating nor consistent, they are increasing. Why are the other schools in the country increasing in wrestling participation while two states with single-class tournaments are not?

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How do we determine if we are losing more kids at smaller schools... Who’s to say that we aren’t losing more kids at larger schools? 
 

My point is this... if you walk into a big school room, with multiple middle school state placers or champs in one weight class and realize you most likely will not ever make varsity... it’s hard to stick to the sport. 
 

Also.. football players that see year round wrestlers in spots, and realize that they will never make the lineup. That’s tough. 
 

Pre-academy wrestling, everyone was sort of on the same level. Now the academy kids are mostly on another level (with some exceptions). Do we ban academies to give others a chance and level the playing field? That should help numbers... right? 

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1 hour ago, bomber_bob said:

2 Questions here:

 

According to 2018-19 NFHS Numbers, Indiana has 314 wrestling schools and 6,363 participants. 

New Jersey, also a one-class state, has 311 schools with wrestling and 9,648 participants. 

 

1. Do we see the same trend in participation in a single-class state, with nearly the same number of schools?

2. If not, why is there a nearly 3,000 participant discrepancy between us and New Jersey? 

Population and geography. A lot of people smashed into a smaller state. 

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@Mattyb

Aren't there academies in other states? If academies are to blame, why are numbers rising nationally and falling in Indiana? What are the other states doing differently than Indiana? People like Joe and I see that they are classing their individual tournament, so that seems like a logical place to stop the losses.

Edited by Galagore
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25 minutes ago, Galagore said:

@Mattyb

Aren't there academies in other states? If academies are to blame, why are numbers rising nationally and falling in Indiana? What are the other states doing differently than Indiana? People like Joe and I see that they are classing their individual tournament, so that seems like a logical place to stop the losses.

Not according to the provided numbers from New Jersey. 
 

Again.. why do we assume that the loss of numbers is from smaller schools? Do we know this as fact?

Edited by Mattyb
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3 minutes ago, Mattyb said:

Not according to the provided numbers from New Jersey. 
 

Again.. why do we assume that the loss of numbers is from smaller schools? Do we know this as fact?

 

What is "Not according to the provided numbers from New Jersey"? My question was about academies. If you are referring back to the participation numbers, it was stated that New Jersey numbers were holding steady, not increasing like the rest of the country.

 

I assume that the loss of numbers is from smaller schools due to what I observe at invitationals over the course of our season. Not scientific, I grant you, which is why I try not to cite this when providing evidence.

 

If academies are to blame, why are numbers falling in Indiana, staying the same in New Jersey, but rising in the rest of the country?

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