ESPNU, ESPN and ESPN360.com will combine for expanded live coverage of the 80th annual NCAA Wrestling Championships Presented on ESPNU By Enterprise Rent-A-Car on Friday, March 19, and Saturday, March 20, from the Qwest Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb. The Championships will be telecast entirely in high definition.
For the first time, three former All-America athletes will join ESPN commentators during select telecasts, providing unique perspective and adding to the in-depth analysis: Ben Askren, Missouri (quarterfinals), Jordan Leen, Cornell (semis) and Jake Herbert, Northwestern (medal round).
The quarterfinals will air Friday, March 19, at 10:30 a.m. ET, and the semifinals at 7 p.m., both on ESPNU. For the fourth consecutive year, the quarterfinals (two of four matches) and semifinals (both matches) will be telecast in a side-by-side format, allowing viewers to catch the action in two matches at the same time.
ESPNU will televise the Championship Medal Round on Saturday, March 20, at 11 a.m., and the hunt for the Div. I title culminates with the Finals at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. During the Finals, two referees per match each will wear a microphone, providing fans with even more access to and understanding of the action.
ESPN360.com, ESPN’s broadband sports television network, will simulcast ESPNU’s presentation of the quarterfinals Friday.
Todd Harris will serve as play-by-play announcer alongside analysts Tim Johnson and Olympic gold medalist Jeff Blatnick, with reporter Quint Kessenich, a former two-time county wrestling champion at New York’s Lynnbrook High School. For ESPN360.com coverage, 1981 NCAA 134-pound champion wrestler Jim Gibbons, who coached the 1987 Iowa State Cyclones to the national title, returns for the third year as analyst and will be joined by play-by-play announcer Shawn Kenney.
ESPN360.com is available in more than 50 million homes — two-thirds of U.S. broadband homes — at no cost to fans who receive their high-speed Internet connection from an affiliated service provider. Approximately 21 million U.S. college students and U.S.-based military personnel receive free, seamless access to the NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships and hundreds of other live college and professional sporting events each month from an on-campus “.edu” or “.mil” network domain in the United States.