Illustration: Aaron Hewitt/Iowa State Daily
Iowa State is heading into its final conference dual with Nebraska before the Cornhuskers make the jump from the Big 12 to the Big Ten next season.
The departure of Nebraska will leave the Big 12 with only four schools competing in the sport of wrestling: Iowa State, Missouri, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
“Right now we’re working through the NCAA process relative to our options with the hope of being able to continue competing as a wrestling conference and staging a wrestling championship under the Big 12 banner with our current members,” said Bob Burda, associate commissioner in communications for the Big 12.
The NCAA requires each conference to have at least six of its members competing in a given sport in order for the conference to officially host championships for that sport.
After Colorado dropped its wrestling program in the early 1980s, the Big 12 was left with five member-institutions for wrestling.
The NCAA allowed the Big 12 to continue competing as a five-team conference as an exception to the six-school rule.
As far as the future of Iowa State’s rivalry with Nebraska for wrestling, ISU coach Kevin Jackson said that it is still up in the air.
“We haven’t locked them in because I’m sure they’re in the same situation that we are,” Jackson said. “That’s something that has to be worked out. With 16 dates, that makes it very difficult to put a whole lot of people on your schedule.”
However, due to the proximity of the two programs, Jackson said continuing the rivalry in the sport of wrestling would make sense for both sides.
Burda said the NCAA is expected to make an announcement on the future of the Big 12 in the sport of wrestling as late as the end of April.
Simonson out, Carr Jr. makes weight
ISU heavyweight Kyle Simonson sustained a back injury last week that prevented him from traveling with the team to Columbia, Mo., for its 23-11 dual loss against Missouri on Sunday.
“On Friday we gave him the day off and on Saturday he came back and he was still real stiff,” Jackson said. “We just didn’t think it was wise to put him on a bus and drive him five hours to a match that he probably wouldn’t compete in.”
Senior Kyle Slifka stepped up in his place, where he then lost to No. 4 Dom Bradley in a 4-0 decision.
“We thought the size, the strength, the athletic ability matched up with [Bradley],” Jackson said of Slifka. “And I think it did. He did represent himself and our team very, very well and gave himself a chance to win.”
Nate Carr Jr. got the starting nod over Max Mayfield at 149 pounds after successfully making weight.
Carr Jr. had been benched in favor of Mayfield after failing to make weight and under performing in matches for which he did make weight.
“We’re putting in steps that we’re going to eventually wrestle those guys off and make them make weight two, three days in a row,” Jackson said. “I have to find out right now if Nate has the ability to make the weight and compete.”