UVU Wrestling In the Big 12
IRVING, Texas – The Utah Valley University wrestling program has officially made the move to the Big 12 Conference, it was announced on Wednesday. UVU's participation in the league begins with the upcoming 2015-16 academic year.
The Wolverines join the Big 12 along with five other schools – all formerly of the Western Wrestling Conference – and will compete for the Conference's postseason championship and the league's automatic qualification to NCAA postseason competition.
"The Big 12 will take our wrestling program to the next level," UVU director of athletics Vince Otoupal said. "This is a great day for our program. We are thrilled to be competing in an elite wrestling conference and against some of the top programs in the country."
Joining Utah Valley as new affiliates of the Big 12 are former WWC members Air Force, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, South Dakota State, and Wyoming. Those six, along with Big 12 core members Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia, will make for a 10-team league in wrestling.
"Becoming a part of the Big 12 Conference is a tremendous opportunity for UVU Wrestling." said UVU head coach Greg Williams. "The timing of this transition is great for our program and competing against these nationally-prominent programs demands that we raise our level of competitiveness. The expectations and goals of our team going forward with the talent we have coming into our room are very high and we're eager for the challenge."
The Big 12 Championship will be a two-day event, taking place March 5-6, 2016 at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Along with the six new wrestling school's, the Big 12 also extended an invitation to Denver's gymnastics program.
"We are excited to announce the addition of affiliate members in sports where the league already maintains a strong competition level," Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. "The additional institutions will improve and strengthen what are already strong postseason events for the Big 12. We are looking forward to welcoming coaches, student-athletes and fans from each of the affiliate institutions to future Big 12 Gymnastics and Wrestling Championships."
The UVU wrestling program recently completed its 12th year of competition with the last nine as members of the Western Wrestling Conference. The Wolverines enjoyed a successful run in the WWC, crowning six conference champions, 17 NCAA qualifiers, a pair of second-place regular season finishes, and one NCAA All-American. Utah Valley has sent at least one grappler to the NCAA Wrestling Championships in each of the past six seasons.