Share This Page

Consol interested in hosting NCAA wrestling tournament

| Tuesday, April 30, 2013, 11:12 p.m.

Consol Energy Center could be a future home of the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, and it has the support that would be needed to bring one of the NCAA's marquee events to Pittsburgh.

“Clearly we've got a desire to bring in events, amateur and collegiate, to Consol Energy Center,” said Penguins chief operating officer Travis Williams. “In large part it was delivering on our promise that if we had a new arena, we'd be able to attract events like that.”

Consol hosted the Frozen Four last month, and the NCAA men's basketball tournament returns in 2015 after second- and third-round games were played there in 2012.

The NCAA will release bid specifications for 2015 events, including wrestling, in June. Consol would need to partner with a school if it pursued wrestling or any other sport. It wouldn't try to bring the national wrestling tournament to the area until 2016 at the earliest because of its commitment to the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament.

Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson and Penn State athletic director Dave Joyner each said through a school spokesman that he would support an effort to bring the wrestling tournament to Pittsburgh.

West Virginia deputy athletic director Mike Parsons said he had preliminary talks last summer with Consol on a potential partnership for the wrestling championships. Parsons said West Virginia remains interested in working with Consol on the endeavor.

Western Pennsylvania would be a natural staging ground for a major wrestling tournament given how popular the sport is here. Consol's history of hosting major events also would help a bid, especially since it meets NCAA criteria such as proximity to an airport and hotels and restaurants.

Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, hosted the wrestling tournament last month, and it holds a little under 17,000 people. Consol's capacity exceeds 18,000, and it sold the maximum number of tickets allotted (18,400) for both days of the Frozen Four.

“It is state of the art in terms of how they can deliver and present whatever sports are showcased in the venue,” Jim Scherr, the commissioner of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, said after spending extensive time at Consol during the Frozen Four.

Scherr, the former head of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is heavily involved in wrestling and at the forefront to save wrestling as an Olympic sport. He said Consol would be ideal for the NCAA wrestling event.

“Great sight lines in the entire venue,” Scherr said. “The amenities that the arena has are probably the best of any arena in the country. And the area in which it is situated as far as where the fans would stay and socialize during the championship is exceptionally strong.”

Wells Fargo Arena drew more than 97,000 fans for the three-day tournament. The tournament had an economic impact of about $15 million, according to the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Mark Malick, a Pittsburgh-based sports consultant, said bringing the Division I wrestling event to Consol would be good for everyone involved.

“It only makes sense that Western Pennsylvania at least look at the idea,” said Malick, who has worked closely with USA Wrestling. “We've got Hall of Famers and Olympians from the area.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer at Trib Total Media. Reach him at sbrown@tribweb.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.