With nearly 400 men’s wrestling colleges across the NCAA Division 1, Division 2 and Division 3, as well as NAIA and Junior College levels, there are plenty of opportunities for student-athletes to compete at the collegiate level. The amount of schools offering college men’s wrestling fluctuates slightly each year, as some colleges simply cannot fund a wrestling program or need to cut a program for compliance reasons.
There are currently 395 men’s wrestling colleges throughout the D1, D2, D3, NAIA and NJCAA levels.
NCAA Division 1 wrestling colleges are full of top-level talent with many wrestlers only losing a few matches over a matter of years. At the highest level, the best Division 1 wrestling colleges, wrestlers oftentimes go undefeated for a few years straight. Top D1 wrestlers compete at Olympic trials and at other national wrestling events often winning or placing high. There are athletic scholarships, both partial and full, at this level. A scholarship could be reserved for a specific weight class, so potential recruits should proactively research schools where they may be the best fit for the team’s needs.
Here is some general information about what to expect at this level:
On D1 college men’s wrestling teams, athletes will find elite competitors who were likely the best athletes on their high school teams. If a wrestling recruit is ready to greatly commit to their sport, D1 might the right division level for them.
At NCAA Division 2, student-athletes will find almost as much of the athletic talent seen at the D1 level with more balance between athletics, academics and a social life. There are many wrestlers at NCAA Division 2 wrestling colleges who simply felt a better fit at a D2 school yet have the talent to wrestle and win at the Division 1 level. At D2, wrestling will still be a huge part of your college life, but it will not have to be the only thing you have time for. The best Division 2 wrestling colleges include the Colorado School of Mines and Gannon University within the top 5 rankings.
Here are a few key reasons to compete on a D2 college men’s wrestling team:
A wrestler may want to compete at a certain weight class in order to live a more comfortable lifestyle. This would be unheard of at the NCAA Division 1 level, but at Division 3 wrestling colleges, it is a possibility. D3 is all about balance between life, academics and athletics, which for many student-athletes may be the best college experience. With the largest amount of college men’s wrestling programs compared to other divisions, D3 offers a variety of options for the right school fit.
The best division 3 wrestling colleges include Johns Hopkins and the University of Chicago, which are incredible academic institutions.
Here are some benefits Division 3 wrestling colleges:
For many student-athletes, NAIA men’s wrestling colleges may be the right choice, in terms of flexibility between athletics, academics and social aspects of college. Here are a few key points to understand about NAIA wrestling colleges:
Another option in searching for colleges with men’s wrestling programs is JUCO wrestling – junior colleges. Here are some of the key benefits of junior colleges:
NCSA understands that the college experience includes more than just athletics for student-athletes. For this reason, NCSA uses a variety of data sources to compile college wrestling team rankings, assessing more than just the wrestling program. The best wrestling colleges are based on proprietary analysis of NCSA Favorites data obtained from the college search activity of the over 2 million student-athletes on the NCSA recruiting network, U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges, IPEDS graduation rates, and IPEDS average cost after aid.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Stanford University top the NCSA college wrestling team rankings. Both institutions do a good job of providing financial aid and graduating a high number of their athletes. The programs both have large athletic department budgets due to success in various revenue generating sports like basketball and football.