Blair Academy unable to participate in Walsh Ironman

Due to a ruling from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), it has been determined that No. 1 Blair Academy, N.J., will not be able to participate in the Walsh Ironman on December 13 and 14 of this year.

Blair Academy is a member of the NJAIS, an association of independent schools, and not the NJSIAA - which is the "traditional" state governing body. The NJSIAA initial contest date for wrestling is Friday, December 20. The NJAIS does not have such a constraint.

Even though Blair Academy is not a member of a NFHS member association, it does adhere to NFHS rules in the high school wrestling program.

In past years, the Ironman has also been held before the NJSIAA initial contest date, without it being an issue. However, this year it came to be an issue when the NFHS was working with multiple state associations to grant its sanction for the Walsh Ironman.

Events require NFHS sanction if a team is traveling to a non-contiguous state and eight or more schools are involved, or a team is travling to a non-contiguous state if teams from five or more states are in the field. Part of that sanction process is to get the approval from state governing bodies of all schools involved in the event.

In a nutshell, when the NFHS was working through the sanctioning process, one of the state associations objected to Blair Academy being in the field, because of the event being before the designated initial competition date for NJSIAA (even though Blair Academy is not a member of said association). Therefore, in order for that state association to sanction the event for its teams, Blair Academy could no longer be in the field.


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i_maximus (2) about 4 and a half years ago
So what you are saying is they got politicked out of the tourney... That's sad... Whoever you are that objected, if you want to win...get better.
gdj3218 (2) about 4 and a half years ago
This is terrible. Wrestling needs to quit tripping over itself in marketing and raising the profile of our sport. I am not affiliated with Blair or any HS wrestling program, But keeping one our most prestigious wrestling schools out of one of our most prestigious wrestling tournaments is just stupid.
TerryF (1) about 4 and a half years ago
The previous two comments pretty much sum it up... bureaucracy and institutional limits, coupled with envy and a need to win regardless of the means is a recipe for mediocrity. I'd like to hear from those who filed the complaint. If it's justified, you shouldn't have any reservations about speaking out on it.
ColoradoHawkeye (1) about 4 and a half years ago
Agreed, it is no different then an opportunity to go out and wrestle Jordan Burroughs, Kyle Dake, or David Taylor ect, ect. Real competitors live for the moments when you can test the best, its the only way you get better!
timothyd (1) about 4 and a half years ago
This is outrageous! Bad for the Ironman - Bad for wrestling - I feel sorry for the Blair kids who have been training so hard for this event. Simply unbelievable!
matman133 (1) about 4 and a half years ago
What can be said has been, this is bad! Would love to know who the state was who objected.....
chocell (1) about 4 and a half years ago
Seriously!? This is ridiculous. And people wonder why wrestling struggles to make it as a spectator sport. Hmm, let's see, let's take one the highest profile high school tournaments and then tell the highest profile team that they can't come. There are so many victims and losers because of this decision and NO winners. Obviously Blair's wrestlers lose, but also the wrestler's who do end up going to the Ironman. There will be an asterisk next to their victory, like winning a gold medal at a boycotted Olympics. The fans, of course, lose and I would think that the organizers of the Ironman also lose with less fans and taking the luster off of what would otherwise be an outstanding tournament. The people who filed the complaint must just hate wrestling and wrestlers, because it's things like this that destroy our sport.
CoachC (1) about 4 and a half years ago
Would not be surprised if it was Ohio that complained. Wrestling is a small community, word will get out which state or team had the issue. I don't believe that the NFHS is so sacrosanct that it can't legally release the info. It should do so on principal.
joblue (1) about 4 and a half years ago
Anybody ask the obvious question? Why can't Blair Academy get sanctioned by NJSIAA like all the other high school wrestling teams in New Jersey?
mckbln (1) about 4 and a half years ago
How pathetic. First year I am making the trip to Ohio and no Blair.
chocell (1) about 4 and a half years ago
I don't know why the NJSIAA won't sanction Blair. It's a good question. I don't know if the fact that they're a "National Prep" team automatically disqualifies them or maybe they don't abide by restrictions on when to start practice, how long to practice, etc. When I was in high school, there was a team that was holding practices both before and after school supposedly under the radar. That extra practice makes a big difference. They were a step above everyone else. Blair has and has had excellent coaching, but that's not the only reason they're so good. There's the "recruiting" factor. They have at least as much talent as any high school team. I've also heard that they practice year round and pretty much anytime those kids aren't in class or studying. Your average high school will struggle to be able to compete with that without establishing a strong private club outside of school. However, that doesn't mean Blair should be excluded from the Walsh Ironman.
jwcedar (1) about 4 and a half years ago
The better the cpmpetition the better for the wrestlers and the fans! Hiss Boo to that political BS