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UPDATED: Iowa, Penn State lead attendance figures for 2013-14

By Denny Diehl
Roby Publishing & LU Wrestling News

Amended March 5, 2014

This season Iowa became the first school in history to host three dual crowds over 10,000. On Dec. 21, they drew 13,747 for Penn State, then 10,141 vs. Oklahoma St on Jan. 10 and 10,588 for Minnesota on Jan. 25. The Hawkeyes previously held the record of hosting two 10,000-plus meets in one season, doing it four times: in 1984-85 vs. Iowa St, Okla St; 1999-00 (same two rivals); 2000-01 (ISU, Minnesota) and 2009-10 (again ISU, Okla St).

In addition, PSU joined Iowa by hosting one crowd over 10,000 – and broke Iowa’s NCAA record, at that – drawing 15,996 for Pitt. The prior national mark was 15,955 for ISU at Iowa on Dec. 6, 2008. The total of four dual crowds of 10,000-plus is another first for any college wrestling season.

DIVISION I ATTENDANCE LEADERS

RankSchool (# of Home Duals)AverageTotalBestRival
1Iowa (7)88356184313747Penn St
2Penn State (8)76466117015996Pittsburgh
3Minnesota (5)3462173105603Penn St
4Iowa State (4)3255130216261Iowa
5Oklahoma State (8)2713217055135Oklahoma
6Ohio State (4)238695444412Michigan
7Lehigh (7)2290160324773Penn St
8Nebraska (6)1993119583946Iowa
9Northern Iowa (7)1766123632060WI,MO,ISU,PU
10Oklahoma (4)144357703355Oklahoma State
11Cornell (7)1406 9,8422833Rutgers
12Edinboro (5)130465193129Iowa
13Pittsburgh (7)104473101921Okla St
14Wisconsin (5)103851881445Iowa
15Oregon State (7)100470282138Minnesota
16Wyoming (5)99349671548Oklahoma State
17Michigan (8)91072811519Mich St
18Old Dominion (7)81957361489Va Tech

These facts are confirmed via several decades of Roby research utilizing nearly 60 years of issues of Amateur Wrestling News, plus assistance from the late NCAA author, Jay Hammond, who un-earthed a true journalistic gem in 2005: the turnout of 11,500 which attended Northern Iowa at Minnesota on Jan. 19, 1946. That jewel had been unknown to the national media and apparently stood as the national record until 13,000 was announced for Iowa State at Iowa on Jan. 3, 1975, soon to be broken the next year.

The timing and sequence chart for each successive record set shows that Pennsylvania becomes the first state other than Minnesota or Iowa ever to own the record for best-ever crowd. The fact that two Iowa State alumni coaching at other institutions have conspired to help shake up the “attendance tree” will be debated as long as wrestling fans are alive and well.

RECORD-BREAKING CROWDS

Current RankAttendanceHostRankVisitorRankYearDate
4111500MinnesotaUNI '4646-01-19
2313000Iowa#1Iowa State#4 '7575-01-03
1414293Iowa State#2Iowa#1 '7676-01-09
1214300Iowa State#2Iowa#1 '7777-02-19
1314300Iowa State#1Iowa#2 '7878-01-07
1014507Iowa State#2Iowa#1 '8282-02-19
615283Iowa#2Iowa State#4 '8383-02-19
515291Iowa#1Iowa State#2 '9292-02-22
315646Minnesota#1Iowa#2 '0202-02-01
215955Iowa#1Iowa State#2 '0908-12-06
115996Penn State#1Pittsburgh#11 '1413-12-08

The Nittany Lions accomplished a school “quad-fecta” by sweeping all its attendance records: top crowd, total season attendance (61,170), avg. attendance (7,646) and also extended its school record to 19 straight standing-room only crowds. The Bryce Jordan turnout for Pitt was also a facility record for any kind of event.

Penn State also helped Rider set a new record (2,000), as well as struggling Boston U., which had its first-ever standing-room only crowd of 1,664 for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State also nipped Iowa’s former all-time record season total of 61,843 of last year – but the Hawkeyes overtook that by averaging 8,835 for seven duals, for a new record 61,843 fans for single duals (not counting another 5,000+ for a triple dual season opener vs. local non-Division I programs*). Iowa owns the three highest single season averages in history, all in the prior three years, led by their record average of 9,014 for six duals in 2011-12

Most importantly, 13 of the 16 top-ranked schools in attendance improved their average vs. last season.

Lehigh enjoyed its second-best season average since 1983 and Nebraska, Northern Iowa and Edinboro had their highest averages in the 14 seasons since Roby initiated national attendance charting. Minnesota and Oklahoma State had their best since 2010-11 and Iowa State since the year before.

If any school has been inadvertently omitted with an average above 800 a meet, please feel free to email me at dennydiehl@aol.com. The volunteer assignment isn’t always easy but it certainly seems worth doing; if anyone would like to replace me at my age of 66 this May, feel free to holler ! Congrats to all who slug it out in the trenches promoting our sport.

*A caveat on ground rules for leveling the playing field for comparing attendance: only single dual meets vs. Div. I rivals on home college campuses are counted, with a minimum four required. While it’s commendable to run meets off-campus and face D-II’s or III’s to promote the sport, these tend to dilute vs prove drawing power. In addition, combined wrestling/gymnastics events are divided by two to reflect the shared draw.

TOP KNOWN CROWDS BY HOST SCHOOL

ATTENDANCEHOSTRANKVISITORRANKYEAR
4500Army24Lehigh61961
2374BloomsburgPenn State2011
1664Boston UPenn State12014
2127BucknellLehigh2010
6408BYU23UCLA171967
4200Cal Poly21Iowa State11972
4273Central Michigan 9Michigan42008
2639ChattanoogaIowa2013
3442Cleveland State36Iowa11987
4425Cornell5Lehigh92006
4000EdinboroIowa1986
9750Fresno St25Iowa State22004
2118HofstraN.C. State2008
3573Illinois2Iowa82005
15955Iowa1Iowa State22009
14507Iowa State2Iowa 11982
5828Lehigh5Oklahoma State12005
5000Lock Haven11Penn State41996
7500Maryland20Penn State111970
5200Michigan6Michigan State11967
8011Michigan State2Michigan21974
15646Minnesota1Iowa22002
4000Minnesota State-Mankato17Oklahoma21964
3154Missouri12Oklahoma182008
3050N.Carolina34N.C. State482003
7000Navy15Iowa State31973
3946Nebraska8Iowa12014
6800North Dakota StateIowa11992
10200Northern Iowa49Iowa11976
6518Ohio State6Penn State12013
10000Oklahoma 4Oklahoma State61979
10802Oklahoma State2Oklahoma 62001
1461Old Dominion20Virginia Tech142009
7000Oregon State7Iowa State11972
15996Penn State1Pittsburgh82014
5109Pennsylvania11Iowa42002
4000Pittsburgh6Lehigh41962
2000Rider27Penn State12014
5011RutgersLehigh2011
5500Syracuse13Penn State251959
5150UC DavisIowa92005
5470Utah ValleyPenn State22012
3378Virginia Tech15Virginia 2011
8148Washington3Iowa State11972
4800Wisconsin4Iowa11978