INFORMATION FOR ATHLETIC DIRECTORS & SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS

Girls wrestling is the fastest growing high school sport in the country. 

In PA, girls wrestling has been given Emerging Sport Status by the PIAA and more and more high schools across the state are adding girls teams.

 

We'd like your school to be next. Find out how to start a team and why girls wrestling is a great fit for any school. 

How do we form a team?

To form a PIAA recognized girls wrestling team, a school may sponsor a club or varsity team. The team must operate under the direction of the school and the eligibility of the student-athletes must be reviewed and certified to by the Principal, as is done for all PIAA sports. Girls teams are considered official when they are approved by the School Board or district administration.

 

To get started:

  • Review our Informational Packet and included FAQ to get any question you may have about starting a girls' team answered

  • Develop an idea of the logistical structure of the team (same/different coaches, same/different practice time, estimate of expenses)Adding a girls team at your school is likely much easier than you think.

    • Girls and boys CAN practice together

    • Girls and boys CAN be coached by the same coaches

    • National data shows that girls will wrestle if they know they are welcomed. Having no girls wrestling on your team now is likely a reflection of opportunity and not interest.

    • There is no minimum number of girls required to start a team. There have been several teams in PA that have formed without even having a girl on their team the previous year.

  • Propose the formation of the team to the school board and/or district administration, depending on your school's new team approval process. The PIAA will consider the team official when the School Board votes on it or when administrators sign a statement of formation. Use our Proposal Templates if presenting to a School Board or sign the Team Formation Statement Template to officially form the teamWhen your school has created a formation statement or is scheduled for a School Board vote, please reach out to us at sanctionpa@gmail.com so we can include you on important communication for official teams and so we can accurately track these numbers for the PIAA. 

  • Please note that if you are looking at team formation at a Catholic School, the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference supports the formation of girls' teams. Here is their statement on girls wrestling. 

Why SanctionPA?

As an Athletic Director, there are numerous benefits that girls wrestling can bring to your school.

 

  • Many schools are not in compliance with Title IX and adding girls wrestling may be the easiest way to move closer to compliance. Adding girls wrestling increases winter sport participation opportunities. Girls currently have 6000 less participation opportunities than boys during the winter months. Adding wrestling increases winter sport options for girls by 25%. At your own school, adding a girls wrestling team is likely the most cost effective method to addressing compliance. For additional information on how girls wrestling can help your school address Title IX compliance, please see our Title IX page

  • For schools that already have boys wrestling teams, adding a girls team is highly cost-effective for schools to add compared to other sports since much of the budget is embedded in the existing boys wrestling budget. Schools are allowed to use the same coach, same practice space and practice time, utilize the same equipment, use the same transportation, and even enter the same events as the boys.

  • Adding girls teams helps connect girls to college and increase matriculation to post-secondary opportunities. There are currently over 115 varsity college women’s programs in the US and 9 of them are located in Pennsylvania. Right now the college women’s wrestling landscape is ripe with scholarship opportunities and with the NCAA granting women’s wrestling Emerging Sport Status, along with wrestling’s history of producing the second highest number of first-generation college students across all sports, wrestling is an amazing vehicle to increase the matriculation rate of your student-athletes to post-secondary institutions.

  • Girls wrestling has the potential to bring a diverse population of students into your athletic department and also to address equity and inclusion issues. Girls wrestling provides the opportunity for girls of all sizes and backgrounds to compete. It also, by definition, extends a participation opportunity to the historically underrepresented sex. Wrestling also provides a unique opportunity to attract new students to a sport. Data exists to suggest that girls who wrestle may be girls who were not previously active in another sport. Further, data from states that have sanctioned girls wrestling (e.g., TX, CA) have shown that Title I schools make up the majority of the top girls’ teams in those states and girls wrestling overall has a disproportionate number of participants from underserved populations.

  • Without an official girls’ team, any girls participating in wrestling in PA will be participating as a member of the boys’ team. While those girls can attend Open Tournaments, they cannot attend other events specifically held for girls without impacting the boys’ teams’ competition points.

  • Girls wrestling provides more opportunities for girls to wrestle girls, which can increase participation numbers and also helps to provide equitable competition opportunities for female athletes. Schools have also been amazed to see what happens with participation numbers when they provide an official team for girls to compete on and girls know they don’t have to compete against boys. Further, having girls wrestle other girls supports the ideals of fair play and helps decrease safety and liability concerns by not requiring a girl to face a boy in a combat sport just because they want to participate.

  • Adding a girls' program can help support your district’s mission and strategic vision. For example, it can increase the perception of the school as an inclusive campus that leads by example and that is guided by the ideals of equity and inclusion.

  • Girls wrestling increases the sustainability of boys' wrestling programs. Research has shown that boys wrestling growth has accelerated as the number of girls teams grew.

  • Looking at the number of girls coming up through the elementary and middle school system is another reason to support girls wrestling at the scholastic level - so that these girls will have teams to wrestle on and an official sport to be a part of. We have seen some youth programs in PA with over 30 girls on their roster. The numbers are constantly increasing and providing legitimate HS teams to join helps keeps these athletes in wrestling.

  • Adding a girls team increases local, state, and national level positive attention to the school as well as the boys wrestling program. The media attention around this movement has been tremendously positive. Within a span of just a couple weeks, over 20 articles were published in PA about girls wrestling. When your school forms, you can expect significant positive attention.

  • Adding girls' wrestling increases the strength of the wrestling program, Athletic Department, and school community as a whole. It can help bring in new donors, volunteers, and community supports to the School, Athletic Department,  and boys wrestling program. It can also lead to an expansion of the fan base for the boys wrestling program as well as other school sports. It also solidifies a place in the history books for the School Board, Athletic Director, Superintendent, Principal, boys wrestling program coaching staff, and supporting staff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

​​

Resources for ADs and Administrators

                                

 

This is a very detailed document that includes data on girls wrestling, benefits of adding programs and how they relate to existing boys teams, recruiting ideas, coaching resources, an outline of the sanctioning process, as well as an FAQ that we worked closely on with the PIAA that covers the most common questions from coaches, ADs, school administrators, and others.

                                          

 

 

 

 

Our proposal templates can be used when submitting a proposal to your administration and/or School Board about adding a girls wrestling team. You will also see proposals that were actually used by several districts across the state.

If authority to approve a new team is granted to administration at your school and a School Board vote is not used, then we recommend using the template above to indicate a team has formed. 

                                         

 

Our AD webinar discusses information regarding girls wrestling that is pertinent to ADs/Administrators, including background on girls wrestling, the benefits of adding programs, the process of doing so, the role of Title IX, as well as other important considerations. 

If you have questions or if we can help work with you and your school, please get in touch with us anytime at sanctionpa@gmail.com.