CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cleveland State University wrestling program will become an affiliate member of the Mid-American Conference, effective with the 2019-2020 season, both organizations announced Tuesday afternoon.
Cleveland State, and the other six members of the Eastern Wrestling League, will all join the MAC as wrestling affiliates. The MAC will now have 15 schools that sponsor wrestling, making it the second-largest Division I conference in terms of wrestling sponsorship.
"Joining the MAC will be very beneficial to the Cleveland State University wrestling program and our mission to compete with the nation's best," Cleveland State head coach Josh Moore said. "MAC wrestling teams have proven to be successful on the national level, and we are not only excited to join those programs but to have the opportunity to compete with them year after year."
In addition to Cleveland State, Bloomsburg, Clarion, Edinboro, George Mason, Lock Haven and Rider will join current MAC schools Buffalo, Central Michigan, Kent State, Missouri, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Old Dominion and SIU-Edwardsville in the reconfigured conference.
"I am pleased to welcome our new additions to the Mid-American Conference that have strong traditions in the sport of wrestling. Our membership spent significant time discussing and studying the possible inclusion of these new members and we believe this will strengthen what has already grown into an elite wrestling league," said Dr. Jon A. Steinbrecher, Commissioner of the Mid-American Conference. "This addition of affiliate members is good for the Mid-American Conference, and good for collegiate wrestling. It broadens our footprint across a part of the country where youth, high school and collegiate wrestling is very strong. I look forward to the 2019-20 season when our new and enhanced membership begins competition."
There are 12 wrestlers in the history of the MAC to win NCAA national titles, as the MAC has witnessed five individual NCAA champions in the last eight years. The MAC is a consistent leader in DI wrestling in sending wrestlers to the NCAA Wrestling Championships, having sent the third-highest student-athlete total in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The MAC served as the host for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, which set NCAA Wrestling Championships three-day total attendance and single-session attendance records.
Cleveland State has embarked on a new era in 2018-19 with Josh Moore making his collegiate head coaching debut. Moore, a two-time All-American who competed collegiately at Penn State, brought 14 years of Division I coaching experience to CSU upon taking over the top spot last spring.
Cleveland State began wrestling in 1931-32, but the program went dormant after three years. Wrestling returned to Cleveland State in 1962-63 with Moore being the program's fourth head coach in that time frame. Cleveland State joined the Eastern Wrestling League in 1977 and had been a member of the league ever since.
Cleveland State is no stranger to competing against MAC schools as the Vikings have faced at least three MAC programs in dual action in each of the past three seasons.
The conference also confirmed Tuesday that the 2020 MAC Wrestling Championships will take place at Northern Illinois University.
Cleveland State will open the postseason this weekend as it competes at the Eastern Wrestling League Championships for the final time.