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Bonus Points Across College Divisions: Comparing the National Championships

Riley Lefever, Jacob Colon, Jason Nolf

Photo of Jason Nolf by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com

While Division I wrestling gets the bulk of the coverage, the majority of college wrestlers compete elsewhere. The goals across all divisions are largely the same, become All-Americans, win individual national titles and, for the strongest programs, bring home the championship trophy as a team. Bonus points can be a major factor in close team races, allowing teams that pile up lopsided victories to distance themselves from other contenders. While this phenomenon is well studied at the top level, each four-year division has a final championship tournament that looks a little different. From DII's perfect 16 man brackets at each weight to the NAIA's multiple entries at the same weight from the same school and different sized brackets in each class, the environment is never quite the same. Still, bonus has a role to play and we wanted to see what that looked like across the different men's four-year divisions.

For this article, we'll look at the raw bonus point numbers from the last three championship tournaments, 2015-17, in DI, DII, and DIII, as well as the NAIA. We'll then look at what those numbers look like when you take out all matches before the round of 16 on the front and back, matching a DII bracket. Finally, we'll do the same just looking at finalists to see if the best wrestlers score bonus at a similar rate across each level.

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