Moneyball Comes to Wrestling

Posted by JohnA Passaro on


In the small amount of time that I got to observe Rob Koll, the Head Wrestling Coach for Cornell University, I quickly concluded that he was a wrestling genius.

One of my observations that led me to this conclusion was his ability to ‘Create a Crowd.’

A few years ago, as I was one of the 5,000+ fans in the stands watching the dual meet between Cornell and Oklahoma, it dawned on me why all these fans were there, and how they got there.

The attendance for the Cornell – Oklahoma match was created by the convergence of multiple events, with the sole mission of putting fannies in the seats and eyeballs on the program.

The morning of the match there was a youth tournament held at the location. Most stuck around to watch the college match that followed; especially the champions of that day, as they received their awards at halftime of the college match.

The New York State Collegiate Championship Tournament, which easily brings in thousands of wrestlers and spectators, all of whom were looking for entertainment the night before their own tournament, was the following day.

Thousands of people converged to Cornell’s gymnasium, hungry to watch wrestling.

Turning a college match into an event.

Billy Beane of the Oakland A’s was also a baseball genius.

His ‘Moneyball’ strategy allowed him to take a team that was strapped financially, and have them able to compete with the big money boys – the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

‘Moneyball’ is the strategy of utilizing overlooked resources and maximizing their value.

It may be no coincidence that the Oakland A’s and the LIU Post wrestling program share the same colors – green and gold.

As soon as I walked into the gym I felt the excitement.

The acoustics were phenomenal.

It was an event.

The convergence of multiple events which put fannies in the seats and eyes on the program.

Moneyball converged with college wrestling.

LIU Post utilized the untapped resource that they had in abundance – the Long Island High School wrestling fan.

Long Island is comprised of the two best wrestling sections in New York State, Section 8 and Section XI.

It is an untapped hotbed of passionate wrestling fans.

By having side by side, high school and college matches, with both Section 8 & XI participating, LIU Post was able to create something that was more valuable than the sum of its parts.

It turned a match, into an event.

Pure genius.


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