InterMat senior writer T.R. Foley answers reader questions about NCAA wrestling, international wrestling, recruiting, or anything loosely related to wrestling. You have until Thursday night every week to send questions to Foley's Twitter or email account.
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I know you are all wondering the same thing? Can we discuss something other than the National Duals? Yes, we can discuss something other than the National Duals, just not today. The wrestling fans really piped up these past few weeks and I was sent some really insightful emails, many of which I was unable to answer directly, or include in this week's mailbag. However, those emails will be answered in the below summation of where the proposal goes from here.
Let's start the final discussion of the duals with a snippet of the NCAA's response written by the organization's in-house PR department, Gary Johnson:
The cabinet voted to refer the concept back to the Wrestling Committee for additional development. Specifically, the cabinet wants additional feedback on how the proposed championship would affect the current championship, information on the views of the NCAA's media partner(s), and an analysis of the budget impact related to the championship's current budget. In addition, the cabinet requested results from a survey of Division I wrestling coaches and input from student-athletes.You have to read into this and assume that one of the wrestling coaches against the proposition got into the ear of their administrator and said "Hey, you need to get them to release the survey results, because it only passed by a single vote ..."
How inflammatory and possibly detrimental is the implication that the NWCA falsified the results of the survey? Very. If the NCAA isn't given that original survey they might withhold future judgment, and if for some reason that survey wasn't one-hundred percent accurate there will be serious questions to face. Right now there is no evidence to support the idea that anything was falsified, but for the NCAA to compel the NWCA to see he survey shows there are some accusations being made and that more than one person has questioned the validity of the NWCA's last-minute survey.
One of wrestling's most pressing problems is the abysmal communication between many coaches and administrators. Several Division I head coaches admitted that they hadn't addressed the possible change with their bosses until late last Thursday, and at least one said that he did so only because he heard on Twitter of the unresolved issues. But it's not just coaches living in solitary confinement that created the issues of the last month. The leadership class within wrestling can't be allowed to shut itself off to critique or discussion. To have good PR you need to grant access and help build support for a system that employs natural checks and balances. Had it not been for social media there is almost no chance that the dissenting opinions would have made it into articles and onto forums. The NCAA committee members and NWCA board members were quoted to me by coaches as having said something to the affect of "you are either for this proposal, or against wrestling" and "We have to all stand together, there can't be any disagreement."
That's a preposterous and headstrong way to go about politicking. Shutting your doors to the press and to debate is nothing but obstinate and shortsighted. The NWCA and the NCAA needed to embrace an open process from the beginning to not only ensure that all the stake holders had a chance to voice their opinion, and that ideas were vetted by more than a single back room of characters, but because wrestling fans and coaches are the very last people on the planet to take kindly to having change rammed down their gullet.
Hopefully these lessons have been learned. The coaches' convention in late October should give everyone enough time to relax and regain their composure, but doubt remains. Will the NWCA bring new data to the meeting? Will coaches who were against the proposal or had better ideas also present them? Will media be allowed access? Will the results of the survey be published?
I hope that the spirit of cooperation prevails because the nastiness and poorly executed politicking of the past month has left our sport damaged and fractured. For the sport to grow we'll need to create a better atmosphere.
Also, wrestling in an arms race?
Now, your questions ...
Q: Saw the video of Chance Marstellar's injury in Baku. Have you heard anything about how bad it is or when he will be back?
-- Douglas O.
Foley: How awful. Chance is one of the nation's top wrestlers and I think everyone, even the teams that won't end up with him on their roster, want to see him make a full recovery.
I have no insight on how long he'll be out, but it's rare that any injury takes more than a year to recover from and that timeline speeds up when you are an in-shape 17-year-old wrestler. I'd expect that he'll be back for midseason, if not before. But that isn't based on insider info, and I am sprinkling that answer with my hopes for his health.
Q: Virginia is about to go to seven state championships. Your thoughts?
-- Joe S.
Foley: First, let's all give respect to the finest Commonwealth in the nation by recapturing the brilliance of this anonymous quote. (I vote on it having been Thomas Jefferson!)
To be a Virginian, either by birth, marriage, adoption, or even on one's mother's side, is an introduction to any state in the union, a passport to any foreign country, and a benediction from the almighty God. -- Anon.That's right, "a benediction from the almighty God." We win.
My brother is a wrestling coach and teacher in the state of Virginia and he informs me that the seven state titles are being debated by the coaches. The counter plan by coaches is to shift the divisions into the traditional three state titles by grouping similar-sized schools. If it remains in the current format you'd have six public school champions and a private school reaction. The worst part? There are only EIGHT wrestlers in the bracket. Virginia is the greatest state/commonwealth in the country, but this a really stupid idea.
Q: What's the story with Max Askren moving back to Wisconsin?
Foley: No real story. He's still wrestling, just training in Wisconsin.
U.S. wrestlers Joe Betterman and Deanna Rix recently welcomed the birth of their first child, MasonQ: Have the men wrestlers at the USOTC been known to hit on or date the female wrestlers? Somebody told me that Henry Cejudo dated Clarissa Chun for a while.
-- Nick T.
Foley: Yes, they do. Clarissa Chun actually dated Stephen Abas before Henry Cejudo, making for one hell of a potential love triangle. As for more recent love interests that are confirmable and not complete gossip, Joe Betterman and Deanna Rix just welcomed the birth of their first child!
Also, 2004 Olympic bronze medalist Patricia Miranda married her college teammate Levi Weikel-Magden, who later became one of her coaches on the U.S. National Team.
I don't think there are any rules against fraternization, nor do I think there really should be. All's fair.
Q: Heavyweight is going to be absolutely loaded this season in Division I! We have NCAA champion Tony Nelson returning, plus All-Americans Bobby Telford, Jeremy Johnson, Mike McMullan and Nick Gwiazdowski. Then throw in Russian stud Alan Gelogaev and a couple All-Americans coming off redshirt, Dom Bradley and Jarrod Trice. Oh yeah, I almost forgot about Chad Hanke, who beat Gelogaev! Who knows, maybe Jimmy Lawson can get in the mix! It's going to be an amazing weight class! Who are your top four finishers at heavyweight when the dust settles in Des Moines?
-- Mike C.
Foley: Not often we get to talk about a loaded heavyweight class. What I find most interesting is that these guys are all exceptionally athletic heavyweights, which means they are a little more watchable than some of the more lumbering and dominant heavyweights of last decade. I'm taking my boy McMullan!
Speaking of heavyweights ... two-time NCAA champion and undefeated MMA heavyweight Cole Konrad retired from the sport yesterday to pursue a career in trading.
Q: Just curious what you thoughts are on the following 3 teams: Iowa, Missouri, and Virginia?
-- J. Nickal
Foley: In one sentence or less.
Iowa will finish in the top ten, but will be the most vulnerable they've been since Brands took control.
Adding Sammie Henson will result in three All-Americans for Mizzou and at least one NCAA finalist.
Virginia has a team that will challenge for the ACC title and should put six wrestlers into the All-American round.
Q: Who's the favorite at 174 pounds with Howe redshirting?
Foley: Penn State's Matt Brown.