The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Greater Chattanooga Sports & Events Committee announced today that they have teamed up to host the 2012 Chattanooga Southern Scuffle. One of the largest in-season collegiate wrestling tournaments in the nation, the Chattanooga Southern Scuffle will be held January 1-2, 2012, at McKenzie Arena.
The event is a 30-team invitational tournament with student-athletes competing in each of the 10 collegiate weight classes. The Southern Scuffle gained notoriety in its original home of Greensboro, N.C., over the previous eight years. UNC Greensboro recently cut its collegiate wrestling program, prompting a need for the Southern Scuffle to find a new home.
“This is a great opportunity for our student-athletes, our program and the Chattanooga community,” stated Mocs Head Coach Heath Eslinger. “In terms of wrestling, this has become one of the toughest tournaments in the country outside of the NCAA Championships. It will allow us to showcase some of the best competition at the collegiate level to our wrestling community and provide our guys with a chance to compete against the best in the country.”
With approximately 300 participants, and the accompanying coaches, family and fans, descending upon the Scenic City, the Chattanooga Southern Scuffle will have a tremendous economic impact on the area. The event generated overall $1 million in tourism revenue each year during its run in Greensboro.
“We are excited to partner with UTC to bring the Southern Scuffle to Chattanooga,” added Scott Smith, President of the Greater Chattanooga Sports & Events Committee. “It will be a great event for our city, especially considering it occurs on January 1-2, when hotels are relatively empty. Events of this size at that time of year are normally hard to find.”
In addition to the Mocs, 16 teams have already committed to the tournament next year. Six squads finished in the top-25 at the 2011 NCAA Championships, including No. 2 Cornell, No. 7 Minnesota, No. 19 Missouri, No. 21 Oregon State, No. 23 Virginia and No. 25 Indiana.
“When I heard that Heath was taking over the Southern Scuffle, I knew I had to get our team involved,” said Virginia Head Coach Steve Garland. “He runs a class program and I’m completely confident this event will be a class event. We are excited to experience the new Scuffle at Chattanooga!”
Also competing in the event are Duke, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Appalachian State, Army, Campbell, Cleveland State, Gardner-Webb, Ohio and Old Dominion. Represented among all 17 teams are 10 returning All-Americans and one NCAA National Champion from the 2011 season.
“Chattanooga is a great choice for continuing the Southern Scuffle,” said Indiana Head Coach Duane Goldman. “The location and facilities are very good; that along with their hospitality and willingness to support wrestling in taking on such an event make us eager to attend.”
Be sure to check back to GoMocs.com in the coming months as more teams are added to the field. Ticket information for the Chattanooga Southern Scuffle, as well as the Mocs’ full 2011-12 dual match schedule will be available in the next few weeks.