Foley's Friday Mailbag: July 14, 2017

The NCAA this week passed two significant new rules:

  • Challenge brick replaces the challenge flag
  • Scrambles are now scrutinized for control

    The first part is obvious. The challenge flag was hokey and after the 2014 Junior World Championships the challenge blocks dressed as Angry Birds were too popular to be suppressed.

    As for the new scrambling rules?

    This is common sense! In the world of traditional wrestling, martial arts, and combat sports this makes total sense. You do not "expose your belly to the Gods." Wrestling is about control, not about who can lie on their back and game some odd system.

    Maybe it was United World Wrestling's direction, maybe it was the fans, but finally the NCAA Rules Committee has moved the sport forward.

    To your questions …

    Q: What is going on with Oklahoma State recruiting? Usually by now they have a couple of highly regarded recruits committed.
    -- @Jferg24

    Foley: Only two weeks have passed since coaches can contact recruits, but I see your point. Most schools have their top recruits lined up for July 1 and you'd expect a few Oklahoma State commits in this first blitz. While odd, I don't think it's a symptom of any larger problem, but more of waiting for the right athlete.

    John Smith isn't rushed for much, and certainly not holding himself accountable to the whims of a 17-year-old wrestler.

    Jesse Jantzen looks for near fall points against Hofstra's James Strouse (Photo/

    Q: Who is the most underappreciated American wrestler of this generation?
    -- Mike C.

    Foley: I'm not sure which generation we are in, or where to draw the line, but over the past 20 years I think it's probably Jesse Jantzen.

    Jantzen was a four-time New York state champion who could've gone anywhere to wrestle in college, but chose Harvard, where he also wrestled. Remember that in the early 2000s, guys were still lining up three and four deep across the Big Ten thinking that was their best way to win an NCAA championship. Jantzen was one of the first that viewed wrestling as the opportunity for more than on-the-mat and trusted himself to win regardless of the location.

    Technically speaking, his half ride series is still in use today. Though variations always existed his techniques have filtered down to today's athletes and have made the sport more exciting to watch.

    Q: There are a lot of rumors of Nick Suriano potentially leaving Penn State. Do these rumors have any legs?
    -- Mike C.

    Foley: I don't think he'd leave, but he definitely wants to go 133 pounds, so maybe that is causing some friction.

    Q: I saw some American wrestling fans bitching on social media about UWW's seeding process for the World Championships. It seems like an improvement from what we had before. What has the feedback been around the world?
    -- Mike C.

    Foley: First, there is some distance between how American wrestling fans define/view seeding and how the rest of the world defines/views seeding.

    Here in the states seeding is by committee. There are pre-seeds and the meetings are controlled by some sort of leadership, but overall an objective analysis is performed, some coloring-in occurs as needed and voila there are seeds.

    At the international level seeding is an objective, point-based system. That's for judo, taekwando, tennis, table tennis -- sports seeds are an objective system of numbers based on outcomes from a system whose rules are defined before the season. There is no cajoling, and I doubt that anyone would ask for that to ever be the case.

    Wrestling is adopting a seeding process and that takes time. The sport needed to have the system ready for the 2017 season because it was the first year of the 2020 cycle and we needed to inform the IOC of our intention to make the improvement. However, because it was the first year of the seeding system and wasn't adopted until the week after the Olympic Games, there was a limited amount that the Technical Commission could pass.

    For example, this year's seeds are comprised of points coming out of only three tournaments: 2016 Olympic Games, 2016 World Championships and the 2017 Continental Championships. As you know, many wrestlers have changed weight classes for the 2020 cycle and left the weight class where they earned points at the Olympic Games. That's their prerogative, but the rules clearly stated that points don't travel with a wrestler to a new weight class. Why? Because they don't want wrestlers earning points up a weight class and then moving into a new weight at the World Championships. The sport needs stars and it needs them to compete at an identifiable weight class. To make the season feel more like a season will be something like 7 point-scoring tournaments in 2018, allowing for larger separations in points and criteria for tied wrestlers.

    This year, with only two inputs, there was resistance to digging down to find wrestlers to place in the top four of a weight class. Argument being the ninth-place Olympic finisher who didn't compete at the continental championships shouldn't be rewarded with a seed by default.

    The system is young and the IT department and sport department are taking notes on how best to adapt moving forward. The Technical Commission will also evaluate the success of the system and give recommendations on improvements.

    Yes, there are some that will never be happy, but this is solid progress for the sport and an important first step to getting worldwide buy-in for wrestling's first-ever seeded Olympic Games in 2020.

    Q: If Paris gets the Olympics in 2024, would the wrestling venue be the same one used for this year's World Championships?
    -- Mike C.

    Foley: Yes and no.

    Yes, it will be at AccorHotels Arena, but it will be in Arena 2, which holds roughly 8,000 compared with 16,000 for Arena 1.

    Q: What benefits do wrestlers get from signing with clubs like Sunkist Kids or Titan Mercury Wrestling Club? The club members train in different cities across the country, often with wrestlers and coaches from other clubs. For example, Helen Maroulis is with Sunkist Kids when her coach is TMWC and so is her training partner Elena Pirozhkova. Jordan Burroughs and James Green are in separate clubs as well, yet both train in Lincoln. Is the club relatively meaningless?
    -- Aaron P.

    Foley: While they are not teams in the traditional sporting sense, clubs are vital to American wrestling. The clubs are financed by wealthy individuals who provide top wrestlers the money necessary for training, travel and other incidentals. In return the athlete wears the club gear and promotes their brand in competitions around the world.

    Q: When wrestling was readmitted to the Olympics, it wasn't permanent. It was only for Rio (2016) and Tokyo (2020). What is the status of wrestling at the Olympics beyond that? Will we have to fight to stay in the games again? Wrestling is not on the list of core sports last I checked.
    -- Aaron P.

    Foley: Wrestling will always be part of the Olympic Games. There might be changes, but sport removal is not something the sport will face. However, there is always work to be done and the sport is looking to make sure it's fan friendly and captures the new and younger audience so desired by the IOC.

    Q: A few years back, I was an assistant wrestling coach at my old high school. One day, a kid approached me and asked me if he should try out for wrestling. He said he was asking because he was gay. I told him, "Sure." A few days later, the head coach pulled me aside and asked me if I had told that kid to try out. I said, "Yeah." And he told me not to encourage kids like that to try out. And he didn't let the kid join the team.

    So, my question is this: how difficult is it for a gay kid to get on a wrestling team in high school or college? Is it really a big deal? Would a division I coach turn down a talented prospect just because he's gay? Do you have any feel for how that might work out?
    -- John G.

    Foley: How difficult? Unimaginable. Kids are mean, but high school kids can be evil when it comes to treating those who think and act differently.

    I think Mike Pucillo's journey helped curb some of the stereotypes in our community, and I've been thrilled to see the support he's received from our community. We can never do enough to welcome young people to our sport, no matter their religion, gender, race or sexual orientation. Wrestling is an egalitarian sport and should keep its doors open to all who want to test their mettle.

    Tell the head coach that the wrestling community has plenty of gay wrestlers. Not all of them are out, but there are MANY more than Mike Pucillo, and that's a wonderful thing.

    Q: Do the presenters and/or camps receive royalties from Flowrestling for technique videos?
    -- Robert G.

    Foley: Was once a flat fee. Not sure if they still compensate

    Q: Big 12 wrestling certainly improved with the addition of Northern Iowa and Fresno State to their conference tournament, but with the Oklahoma's head coaching carousel, Iowa State recovering slowly, and South Dakota State showing some promise, in your opinion, who will be the first to dethrone Oklahoma State for the conference title? How long till that happens?
    -- Sean M.

    Foley: I have to think Northern Iowa is in the best position. Doug Schwab has been an incredible leader for the program and the moment that Oklahoma State slips up in recruiting, or underperforms at the conference tournament, you can be certain that Coach Schwab's team will be there to capitalize.
  • Comments

    Login or Register to post a comment

    simonb (6) about 11 months ago
    Mike Pucillo is the man- and the Ohio State wreslting family- a relatively vocal religious family- was and is vocally supportive of him- to their imense credit! Before the cascade of negativley starts on this feedback scrawl I would like to persoanlly thank you for making my day! Wrestling is awsome- the tent is big enough for all kinds of people!
    hostcity (1) about 11 months ago
    The problem I have is not with Pucillo, it is with THEE OSU and their fans. Live in Cleveland area and I am so sick of tOSU having to put the word THE in front of their school when referring to it, like they are so special. There are 8 other universities in Ohio alone with The in front of their names, but only THE Ohio State has to constantly mention it. That is because their graduates and their annoying fan base think that they are God's gift to humanity and better than everybody else. The most obnoxious, full of themselves fan base in the country. So arrogant because of their overrated football team. The Cleveland Plain Dealer only enhances this image because their writers have their lips so far up tOSU's rear end that they can't see straight. They treat their 15 local colleges and universities and their athletes like dirt and can't stop bragging about everything dealing with THE OSU, which in the OSU butt smooching Cleveland Plain Dealer sports page, is the greatest school our Lord has ever created. That's right. The Cleveland Plain Dealer. The biggest OSU butt kissing paper outside of Columbus. Controlled by tOSU supporters and their fan base. The same sports page that treats their local college athletes like dirt. Can't stopping writing daily about tOSU.
    giessmann (1) about 11 months ago
    Hostcity: that is the best rant I have heard all week. Love it.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    "Tell the head coach that the wrestling community has plenty of gay wrestlers. Not all of them are out, but there are MANY more than Mike Pucillo, and that's a wonderful thing."

    What an absolutely disgusting and sickening statement.

    A telling sign of just how far down the toilet our society has gone. It's a tragedy that people like you are given a platform to spew your repugnant beliefs.

    You do not speak for the wrestling community at large.
    cradleman (2) about 11 months ago
    So the grunts come out. Sad to think that the we still have people that think that there aren't gays involved in wrestling. You are probably that same folks who hated that girls started wrestling. It's up to the Coach to set the tone of the culture. Any coach who breaches the thought of a safe environment for kids should be sent packing. And as far as the "The Ohio State " issue goes , I can safely give you two words that would clarify any of your issues with that; TOM RYAN!!!!!! Class act and someone that can be trusted beyond reproach. Fans are going to be the way they are. He'll, I live in New England and you don't get anymore obnoxious fans than that. And just in case anyone thinks I'm a PC ranter, I'm the farthest from what that would be.
    sstark46 (3) about 11 months ago
    Greg Gerdes, the only thing disgusting and sickening is your sentiment towards it. We should be embracing acceptance as a whole, not classifying it as a "tragedy"
    ohioslayer (1) about 11 months ago
    Thank you. Well stated.
    cradleman (1) about 11 months ago
    Hell, not he'll.
    Whitetailwhisperer (1) about 11 months ago
    It's obvious that TR_oley didn't get enough dialogue in the mail bag last week, so he wanted to stir the pot this week with the homosexual bit. Don't bite on it, it's exactly what he's TR_oleying for!
    giessmann (3) about 11 months ago
    Now, wait a minute. I asked the question because I genuinely wanted to know. That kid who didn't get to wrestle was a lot mor athletic than most of the kids on our team. I still think he would have been a good addition to the team. So don't blame Foley. Blame me.
    AFurnas (2) about 11 months ago
    Absolutely love the new Takedown rule!! I hope the referees actually use it, and award points in accordance with it. (I would argue that the referees do not call enough warnings for leaving the mat, a recent rule change to try to address lack of action in the neutral position.) Time will tell ...
    Keyser Soze83 (1) about 11 months ago
    Man, high school is a tough time. I wrestled and if there was a gay guy on the team, 100% of the guys never would been accepting and have made it hell for the guy until he quit.

    Fast forward to me as 45 year old, I believe every human deserves the same respect as the person he is standing next to. Having a coach make decisions like that is bullshit they are supposed to mold minds and strengthen a boys character not the opposite.

    Reminds me of my football coach in HS I hated his guts. He used to make fun of soccer players calling them soccer fags and members of our own marching band calling them band geeks and other things that we all thought was funny at the time. I mean the marching band thaat was there to support US the football team if he was any kind of man we should have been required as a team to go to the band and fans after each game and thank them for their support. When I was in my 20's I would have liked to kick his sorry ass for terrorizing students at his own school. TA you will forever be a turd.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    Whitetailwhisperer; I get your point about "don't bite on it" (it's also a great pun), but Foley's comment that it's "a wonderful thing" that "there are MANY more" homosexual wrestlers than Pucillo is beyond puke bucket material and should be countered by any wrestler with an ounce of courage, integrity and character.

    BTW - the whole question / answer feels so contrived - my BS meter was red-lining from the get go. We have no way of knowing if what "John G" says is true, and I get the feeling that Mr. Safe-Space himself wrote both. I also have the hunch that Foley is using this forum to push an agenda, and that he's trying to grease the skids for his own announcement - if you know what I mean. Nobody who cares about wrestling would encourage such degenerates to join our noble sport. Boys who want to have sex with other boys should be encouraged to seek counseling, not join the wrestling team. It's as stupid as holding an AA meeting in a bar.

    And shame on Intermat for allowing Mr. Safe-Space a forum to promote his disgusting agenda. I hope your sponsors take notice.
    PSUMike88 (3) about 11 months ago
    If you have any kids, I hope they're gay.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago

    "Greg Gerdes, the only thing disgusting and sickening is your sentiment towards it. We should be embracing acceptance as a whole, not classifying it as a 'tragedy'"

    Uh, right, whatever that means Snowflake.

    Why don't you "embrace" Mike Pucillo?

    Maybe you two can practice the "Father Nelson" move on each other.
    sstark46 (2) about 11 months ago
    Quit being offended that there are wrestlers out there who are gay, snowflake.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    hostcity, is it true that THE Ohio State University's wrestling team is dropping the "Buckeyes" nickname and are now calling themselves THE Ohio State "Browneyes"?
    giessmann (1) about 11 months ago
    Once again, I wrote the question, not Mr. Foley. I'm encouraged by the positive comments posted. The negative ones are just hate for the sake of hate.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    sstark46, I'm not offended, I'm disgusted. Just like you and Foley and the other homo promoters here disgust me.

    Hey sstark46, do you know what "gay" stands for?

    Got Aids Yet?

    If you really cared about these disturbed individuals, you would be encouraging them to quit engaging in such unhealthy and dangerous activities, seek counseling and get a life.

    You obviously don't care about the sport of wrestling.
    Greg Gerdes (2) about 11 months ago

    "Once again, I wrote the question, not Mr. Foley. I'm encouraged by the positive comments posted. The negative ones are just hate for the sake of hate."

    That doesn't make what you allege true Snowflake.

    And the only "hate" I see on this forum is the hatred shown by Snowflakes / homosexuals like you toward the great sport of wrestling.
    donski2323 (1) about 11 months ago
    Regarding Suriano. You "definitely" know he wants to wrestle 133lbs? That is the first I've heard this anywhere including a very "in the know" NJ wrestling forum on FB.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago

    "I think Mike Pucillo's journey helped curb some of the stereotypes in our community"

    Mmmm, I wonder what "our community" Foley is talking about?

    And who but a Rump-Ranger itself would think that it's a "wonderful thing" to have homosexuals infesting our sport?

    I wonder if Foley was upset when Dennis Hastert was kicked out of the hall of fame? Hey Foley, do we need more coaches like Hastert in "our" sport? Maybe you can start a campaign to get him reinstated? He got kicked out just for the sake of "hate" right? "There's plenty of like minded Snowflakes here in your Safespace to help you out.

    Remember, inside every Mike Pucillo there's a Dennis Hastert. (And probably a hamster or two.)
    rcp116 (2) about 11 months ago
    Greg Gerdes: stupid troll; let me guess you wrestled for a year or two, got thumped by real wrestlers (gay and straight), and knew exactly how many lights there were in the ceiling of every gym you ever wrestled in. Oh also, I bet you respond with some claim about being a state champ or state qualifier.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    rcp116, I normally wouldn't respond to someone who is as obviously homosexual as you are, but today is your lucky day:

    Two time region champ (never placed in state) for Richfield MN - 1976 & 77, and two time All American for Bemidji State University - 1979 & 81, 95-17-2 career record.

    If you'd like my phone number as well, it's: 406 - 214 - 4892

    Now can you tell us rcp116, how often do you fantasize about practicing the "Father Nelson," naked, with Mike Pucillo?
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    Oooops, that's - 4893
    giessmann (3) about 11 months ago
    Ok, I've set up an account for you on Grindr. Posted your phone number. Put a pic out there for you. Enjoy the phone calls! BTW your profile says you're into everything.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    Ha ha ha! That's great!

    I'll answer:

    "Hello, this is T.R. Foley, AKA "Greg Gerdes." Meet me at Mike Pucillo's house, and we'll show you the time of your life!
    Andrewmah (1) about 11 months ago
    "Not all of them are out, but there are MANY more than Mike Pucillo, and that's a wonderful thing."

    Hardly a "wonderful" thing. When I was in high school lots of non wrestling people used to claim, "wrestlers are gay" because of the sport we chose. And here we have Foley....perpetuating the fable with "MANY" gay wrestlers? Uh, and what is your proof to support what you WISH were have none. Any anecdotal proof has opposing anecdotes. I'm pretty sure a more accurate and honest word would have been FEW. But why be honest when you have an agenda to promote?
    ohioslayer (2) about 11 months ago
    Enjoyed the mailbag, especially what you wrote about gay wrestlers. Thanks. Like you, I appreciated how many people in the wrestling community were supportive of Mike Pucillo. Keep up the great work!
    LoneWolf (1) about 11 months ago
    I guess Foley doesn't recognize irony.
    "You do not "expose your belly to the Gods." Wrestling is about control, not about who can lie on their back and game some odd system."
    Now look at the photo of Jesse Jantzen. He is FLAT on his back! We can't know from the photo, but with Strouse's wrist tied up he probably got back points. This is why I hate cheap tilts.
    MLJ (2) about 11 months ago
    Not sure how to reply to an individual's comment, so I guess I'll just write it here.

    I have coached a number of kids that were out or who had come out later in life after they graduated high school.

    This was a conversation between two of our wrestlers during a dual meet back during the 99-00 season (fake names, real conversation):

    Sally: "So, John, do you ever feel uncomfortable out there when wrestling? Aren't you concerned about, you know??? After all, you're gay."

    John: "Do you?"

    Sally: "No! I just think about winning the match."

    John: "Me too. I just want to win the match. When in the middle of a wrestling match, all I think about is how am I going to win. Nothing else comes to mind."

    All kids who tried out for our team were accepted. Again, this was 17 years ago. I assumed high schoolers have become more accepting of others since then. Am I wrong?
    cradleman (1) about 11 months ago
    So Greg Herded, why don't you have a challenge match with Mike Lucille? Since you are such a bad-ass representative of our great sport, I'm sure you could show all of us how it's done. I , and I'm sure many others, couldn't care less about your record. You either had poor coaches, poor teammates, poor parents, or all of the aforementioned. You are not a winner in this sport because you are an Olympic Champion or any type of Champion along the way. You have to have a good heart or good soul and you have neither. Haystert was a sexual predator. It has nothing to do with being gay. He wasn't gay; he was a predator. Giving your information is not manly. It just goes to show how unconcerned you are about anything. It's sad to think that all the years that you spent in this sport that you learned so little. There are people who don't agree with the gay lifestyle, however it doesnt cause them to go out and bash people who are different. Wrestlers are supposed to be able to rise above all. I guess you are one of those fake wrestlers. Lets get a date for your match with Pucillo. Im sure there are many folks out there that would love to see it.
    cradleman (1) about 11 months ago
    Pucillo not Lucille. Damned auto-correct.
    Greg Gerdes (1) about 11 months ago
    Set it up cradleman.

    You have my number, call me when everything is a go.

    My only caveat is that the match takes place at half time at a OSU home meet.

    Hope to hear from you soon.
    Sheerstress (1) about 11 months ago
    Regarding the kid asking to try out for the team, there's one thing about which I'm unsure:

    When he spoke with the assistant coach about going out for wrestling and said he “was asking because he’s gay,” is he saying that he wants to join the team because he’s genuinely interested in wrestling, but is hesitant to do so over what he’d face as an openly gay member of a boy’s wrestling team?
    Or does he want to try out for wrestling because he’s gay and wants to try to demonstrate to his peers that a gay person can be part of a sport traditionally characterized by strength, toughness, and masculinity?
    If it’s the first case, I’d tell him to go ahead and try out for the team, and be as supportive as possible. I’m not sure how “many more” gay wrestlers there are that Foley says are out there.
    If it’s the second case, I’d still say he could try out, but would caution him that any time someone tries wrestling for some secondary reason or hidden agenda (e.g. family forces them into the sport; feel obligated to uphold a tradition, or prove some kind of a point) the results often aren’t good.
    trescuit11 (1) about 11 months ago
    As gay men, Mike Pucillo and Foley have paved the way for other gay wrestlers. great job!
    johnmac47 (3) about 11 months ago
    I really only have one comment regarding the "many" points and counter points stated below regarding homosexual wrestlers - first and foremost who cares! Regardless of how you might feel it really shouldn't be of any concern to you or anyone else for that matter. I would think that the comments section should be used to comment on wrestling and not on anyone's sexual persuasion, don't you think? If you don't agree than you have many more problems that need to be resolved!
    rcp116 (2) about 11 months ago
    Greg Gerdes: Ha you actually did you. You tried to brag about mediocrity and to make it worse you're well into your 60's and brag about said mediocrity. Man I feel bad for you. How much of a loser must you be to brag about that info? Anyway, I suggest you stop repressing whatever your inner sexuality is. Clearly you have some supressed rage that is fueled by your true inner self that you hate. Good luck with all that.
    Pasta (2) about 11 months ago
    The entire wrestling community and human beings in general look bad when hillbillies like Greg Gerdes are allowed to speak. Greg, get back inside your trailer, shut the door and STFU. You are one of the most ignorant idiots I have seen in quite awhile.
    Charles537 (1) about 11 months ago
    I have to side with Gerdes on all of this talk of homosexuality being pushed upon the wrestling community. Only a small percent of the population agree with this lifestyle and it has been forced upon the masses. He's right our society has gone down in the toilet. Folley always promotes homosexuals in this sport. Homosexuals will ruin this sport with their unhealthy lifestyle and people will walk away from the greatest sport in the world. Those of you who promote this lifestyle in our sport will be part of the downfall of wrestlings future.
    johnmac47 (2) about 11 months ago
    Hey people do me a favor and cut the BS. I don't care if a wrestler is straight, gay or likes animals - who the H cares your watching wrestling. The majority of comments are ridiculous and ignorant to boot. If you want to bad mouth other people do it somewhere else I don't need the BS and I am sure others feel the same way!
    Andrewmah (1) about 11 months ago
    Libs are the most angry and hate filled people in America. Think I'm wrong? Look above. Like always, the heat from lefties is far beyond that of their opposition.....just sayin.....
    johnmac47 (2) about 11 months ago
    Hey Andrewmah the reason I was upset was because of all the talk for and against sexual preference. I didn't join InterMat to read this stuff. Your statement, which makes no sense since you don't really know me, is extremely inaccurate, but then that is what you do - don't you Andrewmah?
    Andrewmah (1) about 11 months ago
    When I said "look above" I didn't mean just immediately above. I meant the whole line of comments. I wasn't thinking of your comment when I wrote that. Still, what I said is true lefties are the most angry, hate-filled people in America.

    You may NOT want this to be a place of political comment. Foley disagrees with you 100%, and it's HIS column.