Brands, Barta Excited for Grapple on Gridiron
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Tom Brands sported a short-sleeve shirt and some sweat on his brow here at Kinnick Stadium Thursday afternoon. Then, he answered questions about cold weather.
Iowa’s head wrestling coach met with the media alongside three of his athletes and athletic director Gary Barta for a big announcement. The Hawkeyes would be playing host to Oklahoma State in a dual on Nov. 14 in this facility used for football.
The elements were the focus of discussion. Brands, his in usual eloquent way, eased concerns.
"The temperatures aren’t going to be balmy, but you never know. We’re getting uptight about what the weather might be but, really it might be a great day. You don’t know. And if the weather is bad, you grow a beard and put on a stocking cap," he said.
Per USClimateData.com, the average high temperature in Iowa City during November is 50.0 degrees Fahrenheit with the average low being 31.0.
The idea of wrestling in the football stadium came to Brands in 2008 when they broke the the NCAA dual attendance record by drawing 15,955 to Carver-Hawkeye Arena for a meeting with rival Iowa State. Since then, Penn State has topped that number twice, setting the all-time mark last season with 15,996 versus Pittsburgh.
"When we broke the record, we were talking amongst each other and I said to the staff if that record gets broke, and at that time, we thought it would be Minnesota, we’re going to Kinnick. Penn State has broken it twice. It’s time to go to Kinnick," Brands said.
The set-up for the Oklahoma State dual, set for 11 a.m. CT on Nov. 14, will be 25,400 reserved seats. Tickets sold beyond that will be general admission. Approximately 350 spots for students will be set aside on the field near the south end zone where a 54-feet by 54-feet mat will be placed.
"We’re excited to offer "The Grapple on the Gridiron,"" Barta said. "It’s been a concept we’ve been talking about for quite a while. If you think about it, two historic programs in wrestling at a historic site in Kinnick Stadium."
Brands said there’s an informal contest between Iowa staff members guessing how many fans will show up for the meet.
"There’s some numbers thrown out there. Twenty to 25 (thousand) would probably be my guess. We’ve got guys saying it’s going to go way north of that. But the important thing is we’ve got fans out there that embrace this sort of thing. They’re nutty enough themselves. They’re wrestling purists," he said.
The Iowa football team will move into Kinnick the evening of Nov. 14. The Hawkeyes are scheduled to play host to rival Minnesota at 7 p.m.