New Hanover County Schools has never had wrestling at the middle school level – or at least not in the past 45 years.
According to longtime county athletic director Joe Miller, who retired in 2009 after 42 years in the school system, there never was middle school wrestling during his tenure. The sport is not currently offered at the middle school level either.
The reason wrestling was never added, according to Miller and other school officials, is financial. Specifically, the high cost of wrestling materials. Full-size wrestling mats of the type a school needs can cost thousands of dollars, and have to be replaced periodically. While that’s not a whole lot of money for one school, multiplying the sports costs out to all eight middle schools makes the bill increase dramatically.
Current county athletic directors point out that middle school sports in New Hanover County remain much more limited than those at the high school level. New Hanover County middle schools offer only 10 sports, divided between nine-week grading periods: Boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, boys and girls basketball, football, baseball, softball and volleyball. At the high-school level, New Hanover County offers 23 different sports.
Wrestling also proves to be a difficult sport to add or even maintain because of federal law. Title IX requires equal participation opportunities for all students regardless of gender, but that typically translates into participation numbers. Adding wrestling (typically an all-male sport) throws the Title IX participation out of balance, and so a predominately female sport must be added as well.
Date posted: January 30, 2012
User-contributed question by:
Robert Brian Mack