IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - The University of Iowa is adding women's wrestling as an intercollegiate program to its athletic department.
The University of Iowa will be the first NCAA Division I, Power Five conference institution to offer women's wrestling as an intercollegiate program.
Currently, there are 45 intercollegiate women's wrestling programs, including five in Iowa. Iowa also has a sanctioned high school girl's wrestling state championship. Last year, 600 girls participated in the state tournament.
Iowa's wrestling coach Tom Brands said adding women's wrestling needed to happen for many reasons.
"This is historic. This needed to happen and it's appropriate that it is happening first at the University of Iowa," Brands said. "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."
A new wrestling training facility will be funded entirely through gifts and will be located south of Carver-Hawkeye arena. A search for a women's wrestling coach will begin this fall and they begin to compete in the 2023-24 year.
Tamyra Mensah-Stock, an Olympic Gold Medalist for USA Wrestling says this is amazing news.
"It makes me happy to see this is happening and I want to thank Iowa for being a pioneer in the sport," Mensah-Stock said. "With this decision I know it'll only be a matter of time before other Division I schools follow their lead."