Lost in bowl hubbub, the Mid-American Conference announced back on December 11th that the Conference and Quicken Arena in downtown Cleveland would serve as hosts for the 2018 NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Championships
"Today's announcement for the award of the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships coming to Cleveland and Quicken Loans Arena is another example of the faith and trust the NCAA has in the Mid-American Conference and in Cleveland," said Jon Steinbrecher, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. "The MAC and our partners are committed to hosting a premiere championship event and to showcase our wonderful facilities and vibrant city. We look forward to hosting the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in 2018 at The Q."
This is big news for the MAC, and bigger news for MAC Wrestling, which is probably the second-strongest conference in the sport but overlooked because of the relative strength of our football teams. The conference and Cleveland has in the past hosted March Madness subregionals, and a Womens Final Four, and will serve as Regional host for the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
This is another feather in the cap for Commissioner Steinbrecher, who has worked tirelessly to improve the MAC's visibility in his time here, both by securing more secondary bowl agreements to ensure fewer deserving teams get left out of the postseason games and by moving to host more events like this that will show the rest of the country that there's more here in the Hustle Belt than Buckeyes and Wolverines.
New UB coach John Stutzman now has four years to get the program ready for a National Championships held right down the road in Cleveland. Of course, thanks to the top-flight status of MAC wrestling, we'll know far sooner than that how UB is doing. Last season the MAC boasted 11 All-Americans and 40 seeded wrestlers in the 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships.