NIU wrestling will have more competition next season with seven teams being added to the Mid-American Conference.
The MAC announced Tuesday they will be expanding to 15 programs with the addition of teams from the Eastern Wrestling League. The expansion makes the MAC the second-largest conference in Division 1 wrestling.
Head Coach Ryan Ludwig told the MAC in an interview that the expansion shows a growing interest in wrestling in the Midwest.
“The strength of our sport throughout these geographic regions creates more opportunity for fan interest and the overall growth of wrestling,” Ludwig said.
New teams joining the MAC include the Lock Haven Bald Eagles, who finished 16th in the 2018 NCAA Tournament, and the Clarion Golden Eagles that has produced eight national champions in program history.
The other teams from the EWL joining the MAC include the Bloomsburg Huskies, the Edinboro Fighting Scots, the Rider Broncs, the George Mason Patriots and the Cleveland State Vikings.
The new MAC will meet for their first championship in 2020, which will be held at the Convocation Center.