May - 17 - 2022

By Jason Bryant
National Wrestling Media Association

New Brighton, Minnesota – The National Wrestling Media Association released its annual numbers for Division I wrestling dual meet attendance on Wednesday.

The COVID-19 global pandemic caused sports around the world to be forever impacted. For college wrestling in the United States, this created a system of uncertainty when it came time to return to campus to watch events in person. Even with each school seemingly having its own set of regulations and stipulations, the 2021-22 attendance numbers came back favorably as wrestling fans were in large, quick to return to their favorite venues. Attendance wasn’t tracked in 2020-21 due to most venues having no-spectator policies during that season.

The University of Iowa’s fanbase, leaders in Division I attendance since 2007, set a new record for home average of 14,905, selling out the entire season at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes drew a total of 89,430, the second-highest home total since attendance figures started being tracked by members of the wrestling media in 2002. The numbers are based on home dual meet events, such as single duals, double duals, tri-meets or quad-meets.

In 2015-16, Iowa drew a record 97,325 fans, which was aided by the 42,287 at Kinnick Stadium in November of 2015 against Oklahoma State. Iowa has led the nation in home attendance in 19 of the 20 seasons it’s been tracked.

For the 11th straight season, Penn State ranked second in attendance with the Nittany Lions drawing an average of 7,776 fans per home dual across seven home events, selling out all home events between Rec Hall and the Bryce Jordan Center. The Nittany Lions’ top crowd was 15,991 at the Bryce Jordan Center against Ohio State on February 2. That dual ranked sixth highest on the all-time list of most-attended duals and fourth among indoor crowds. Penn State has also sold out 61 straight home duals at Rec Hall and seven of nine at the Bryce Jordan Center.

Iowa and Penn State accounted for all seven duals during the 2021-22 season that had 10,000 fans or more. There have been 98 duals in Division I history that have broken the 10,000-fan mark.

Oklahoma State ranked third, averaging 4,631 in eight dates at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater. The Cowboys top draw was against Oklahoma to close the home schedule. The event brought in 7,918 fans. Oklahoma State was also the top road draw, with the Cowboys making up the top event for six schools. Iowa was the top road draw at five schools, while Penn State accounted for four opponents’ top home crowds.

Iowa State, Rutgers, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, Utah Valley and Virginia Tech rounded out the Top 10.

Iowa, Penn State, Oklahoma State and Iowa State have been in the nation’s top seven every year, while Rutgers has been a top-five squad with home attendance for six straight years. Minnesota’s been among the nation’s top 10 in attendance every year since 2002, while Ohio State’s been represented in 19 of the 20 seasons, with the Buckeyes sitting in the top six every year since 2012. Despite averaging over 1,000 fans for 11 straight seasons, this past season is only the third time ever Michigan’s been in the top 10, while another wrestling set of Wolverines, Utah Valley, is in the top 10 for the fourth straight year. Virginia Tech is a top-10 draw for the fourth time.

Overall, 22 schools averaged over 1,000 fans per home dual or dual event, down from 24 in the last two trackable seasons (2019 and 2020). Twelve schools drew over 1,000 fans for each of their home dual events and 117 duals drew at least four figures during the 2021-22 season. In 2019-20, 166 duals drew over 1,000, showing the impact of COVID-19-related issues with home attendance this season.

In 2021-22, 33 schools reported at least one home dual event drawing over 1,000 fans. In 2019-20, 44 schools reported crowds over 1,000.

2021-22 Division I College Dual Meet Attendance

RankSchoolAverageTotalCounted  DatesCrowds
Over 1K
Top Draw
2Penn State7,776.054,43277Ohio State
3Oklahoma State4,631.037,04888Oklahoma
4Iowa State3,961.627,73177Iowa
5Rutgers3,712.133,40999Army West Point
6Ohio State3,493.924,45777Iowa
8Michigan2,852.214,26154Penn State
9Utah Valley2,276.54,55322Oklahoma State
10Virginia Tech2,258.313,55065Ohio State
11NC State2,048.410,24255North Carolina
12Stanford**2,003.02,00311Oklahoma State
13Penn**1,871.35,61431Penn State
14Northern Iowa1,624.88,12452Iowa State
16Arizona State1,427.87,13955Oklahoma
19Missouri1,350.88,10562Iowa State
21Oklahoma1,067.76,40661Oklahoma State
22South Dakota State1,063.06,37863North Dakota State
23Oregon State950.32,85131Cal Poly
24Navy950.02,85031Army West Point
25Lock Haven937.84,68952Michigan State
27Northern Colorado762.63,81351Wyoming
28Cal Poly750.03,00041San Francisco State
29Wyoming749.82,99940Oklahoma State
31West Virginia701.23,50650Wyoming
32Little Rock676.02,70441Oklahoma State
33Central Michigan577.22,88650Michigan
35Maryland559.54,47681Penn State
37Virginia**515.51,03120Virginia Tech
38Pittsburgh456.63,19670Michigan/Army West Point
41North Dakota State420.32,52260Missouri
42Air Force386.32,31860Oklahoma State
43Kent State375.01,50040Ohio
44CSU Bakersfield347.569520Arizona State
47Chattanooga337.01,34840Appalachian State
48Michigan State308.81,54450Penn State
51Cleveland State248.599440Ohio
52Sacred Heart248.049620Binghamton
53Clarion190.576240Kent State
55Franklin & Marshall122.549040Hofstra

Additional Information

Asterisks & Caveats: Some schools didn’t allow fans for certain events. We didn’t include those individual events into their totals. Some schools also ticketed for some events and not for others. Stanford, for example, ticketed just one home event and didn’t track the others. Cornell had attendance capped for most events this past season. Some schools provided incomplete information. Some provided numbers of counting fans despite not being ticketed. Only duals with numbers they were able to provide were included.

Indoor dominance: Eight of the top 10 all-time single dual crowds have come at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center, and eight of the top 10 all-time indoor crowds have also come at the venue.

All in All: Iowa sold out all six home duals. The chart above says "all" for the top draw. Those opponents were Princeton, Army West Point, Minnesota, Purdue, Penn State and Wisconsin.

Methodology: Tracking the attendance figures varies by school and some schools opt to ticket for some events and not ticket for others, making the numbers an imperfect science. This is for dual meet events only, not tournaments hosted by schools.

Nothing to see here: Appalachian State, Army West Point, Bellarmine, Bloomsburg, Bucknell, California Baptist, Campbell, Davidson, Duke, Gardner-Webb, George Mason, Harvard, Hofstra, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Ohio and VMI reported they didn’t track wrestling attendance, didn’t track it this season, or the sport was a non-ticketed event, so there were no numbers to report. Brown, Columbia, LIU, Presbyterian, SIUE and The Citadel didn’t respond to numerous requests for information.

Showing your work: Of the 79 schools surveyed, 55 schools responded with figured with 52 of them showing individual home match figures. Three provided number of dates and an average. There were 17 schools that reported they don’t track attendance, while six schools didn’t reply to numerous requests for information at all.

Background: The National Wrestling Media Association assumed the role of collection of the attendance figures in 2017. Denny Diehl of the Lehigh University Wrestling News began tracking in 2002.’s Alex Steen handled the compilation from 2015-2016.

Categories: Press Releases

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