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Foley's Friday Mailbag: Nov. 10, 2017

The college wrestling season kicked off last week with the NWCA All-Star Classic in Princeton, New Jersey, and a myriad open tournaments taking place across the country.

There were plenty of upsets (Zahid!) and weekend heroics (Louie Hayes!) for media to generate and for fans to consume, which made for a nice departure from the humdrum navel-gazing and rabble rousing of Wrestling Twitter. Instead of being a depository for antics and sub-tweets, dormant school accounts emerged from hibernation to provide scoring updates, graphics and yes … GIFs.

Though I've pulled back from social media in recent months -- the time it took away from daily life hardly seemed worth the minor jolt it gave me to read another personal attack -- this weekend made the service feel valuable. Pertinent, timely information on our favorite schools and individuals made the scrolling feel useful. With all the drivel social media generates and the ghastly personalities it can exalt, it was refreshing to read results and watch match clips.

Here's hoping (against hope and 280 characters) that the rest of the 2018 is as fun-loving, competitive and informative!

To your questions ...

Yianni Diakomihalis wrestlingRyan Deakin at UWW Junior Nationals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

Q: The 141-pound weight class is deep. Chad Red over Tommy Thorn was interesting. How do you think "The Greek Flash" Yianni Diakomihalis will do this season at 141 pounds? He makes his college debut this weekend at the Jonathan Kaloust Open held at Binghamton!
-- Mike C.


Foley: Wait, is that his real nickname? Or are you trying to start something?

I've seen Yianni compete at a few international tournaments where he controlled the pace against physically stronger opponents from Georgia, Russia and Turkey. He's won world titles and dominated throughout his last two years in high school. Given his training environment at Cornell and his proven track record of success I'm thinking it's likely that Yianni comes away from the Kaloust Open with a title, or high placing finish.

As for Chad Red beating Tommy Thorn, I'd only suggest that the season is young and that we don't really know if this is an upset, or what we will assume to be an expected result come March.

Q: Where the hell did Patrick Kennedy come from? Is he a future top five recruit?
-- @TimmySelenski


Foley: Kennedy knocked off three nationally ranked wrestlers at the Super 32 Challenge, including two senior prospects well within the top 100 overall recruits, Trent Hidlay and Emil Soehnlen. It's safe to say that if the sophomore wins his second Minnesota state title next March he will be the top junior prospect in the nation.

Would he stay in state and team up with Gable Steveson at the University of Minnesota? One can only guess until verbals start getting announced … and letters get signed.

MULTIMEDIA HALFTIME

Check out the highlight from the BTS-LA event!

Link: Clarissa Chun names Athlete Role Model for Youth Olympic Games!

Q: Oklahoma State received two verbal commitments this week from wrestlers who had previously committed to other programs. What do you make of this? Do college coaches continue recruiting even after a student-athlete has verbally committed to a school? Is there anything unethical about that?
-- Mike C.


Foley: The landscape of college sports, and the increased lack of reliability of verbal commitments, dictates that college coaches maintain (as they can) continued conversations with verbally committed wrestlers. The coach isn't the one being held to the ethical standard, as he's only offering a better solution.

College coaches are approaching recruiting like that antiquated, worn-down story of single guys at a bar. There is the "sucker" left talking to a woman without a boyfriend and needing to prove himself better than every other single guy at the bar; and the other guy who chooses to talk up the woman with a boyfriend knowing he only has to compete against that one guy. More or less, this is the new college recruiting … single until you're signed.

Ethical or not, that's the situation. The realpolitik is that wrestlers either change their minds, see the development of a program's stars on teams they were meant to join, or simply grow and mature into wanting different things. In a hypothetical situation a top 100 recruit commits to a solid Big Ten school, but later finds out that his test scores and grades make him academically eligible (and desirable) to wrestle in the Ivy League. If that wrestler's parents and stakeholders value education they'd probably re-examine what they want out of their collegiate and post-collegiate experience.

A 16-year-old might not think much about those things, really, until that moment that they do. They are at the age where new inputs come into their orbit and they begin encountering new people and new ideas which may change that original decision matrix. So, whether it's for grades, culture, or wrestling experience there does seem to be substantial reasoning for a high schooler to change their decision without fear of reprisal.

Q: I thought they passed the rule that allowed college wrestlers the choice not to wear headgear and to have limited facial hair this season? I saw some beards, but see everyone still wearing headgear.
-- Michael Ca.


Foley: Big Headgear lobbied hard to keep ear protectors on the heads of 18-22-year-old college athletes. In the end it was an easier political decision to keep them than it was to make them optional. Too bad, since their removal would mean way fewer head slaps, head butts and erratic attacks.

The facial hair rule was adopted and we should see a reduction in some skin diseases commonly transmitted through face-to-face contact.

Q: How about all the exposure for college wrestling at last week's Bellator event? That was awesome! Cael commentating ringside for Ed Ruth's fight. How cool would it be for UFC to do the same thing at Ohio State to counter that?
-- Willy D.


Foley: The UFC is hosting a Fight Night Saturday night in Norfolk. My guess is that Oklahoma City (though not necessarily Stillwater) could host a decent night of fights. The distance might take away from some of the action. I could've seen a Johny Hendricks, Shane Roller, Daniel Cormier, and Jake Rosholt card earlier in their careers, but that time is well past. Forgiving Roller's retirement and Rosholt not being in the UFC, Hendricks is a former champion and Cormier can sell out major arenas.

I wouldn't be surprised if Bellator did the same thing again, but this time in Minnesota. Logan Storley is an absolute monster and could help draw a lot of fans who remember him from the mats not too long ago.

Q: Ohio State wrestles Arizona State on Sunday. I hope we see Bo Jordan vs. Zahid Valencia. It seems like often times coaches rest wrestlers in big matches, which is frustrating as a fan. If the match goes down, how do you see it playing out?
-- Mike C.


Foley: Oy. I'd be very frustrated to not see that match, too. It's only November and seeding is so far off that I'd hope coaches could see the benefit of being able to compete against their wrestler's top opponents. The mindset should always be to provide more opportunity for athletes to engage with the best competition. Or simply put, "What would Kyle Snyder do?"

Comments

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bradhpa01 (3) about 2 weeks ago
Quick, to the point, and non-political mailbag. Well done!
Whitetailwhisperer (2) about 2 weeks ago
Good bag. Thanks for the scoop!
lesman67 (2) about 2 weeks ago
I'm so sorry to post this, you may have to go back to your safe space.

Cauliflower ear occurs after someone gets a hit or repeated hits to the ear. Wrestlers and boxers are more likely to have cauliflower ear because their ears may be hit while they're in a match. These blows can damage the shape and structure of the outside of the ear.

For cauliflower ear to form, the ear has to be struck hard enough for a large blood clot (lump of blood) to develop under the skin. Another way cauliflower ear can happen is when the ear's skin is stripped away from the cartilage, the flexible material that gives a normal ear its shape.

This cartilage needs oxygen and nutrients carried by the flow of blood. A tear, severe bruise, or blood clot can block the blood flow. If that happens, the cartilage can die. Without cartilage to keep its firm, rounded shape, the ear shrivels a bit and the cauliflower look begins to appear. Once this happens, the person's ear may look like this permanently.

You may be wondering if there's any way to prevent cauliflower ear. Wearing the right headgear when playing sports — especially contact sports — is a must. Helmets not only can save you from developing cauliflower ear but protect you from serious head injury as well. Always wear a helmet if you are biking, blading, riding your scooter, or playing any sport where helmets or other forms of headgear are recommended or required (like football, baseball, hockey, boxing, or wrestling).

If someone receives a sharp blow to the ear, there are ways to prevent cauliflower ear. A doctor can drain the blood from the ear through a cut and then reconnect skin to the cartilage by applying a tight bandage. Sometimes stitches are needed to sew the ear if the skin is badly ripped. The doctor may sometimes give the patient antibiotics to prevent an infection. If it's caught and treated early enough, a person usually will not get cauliflower ear.

With a little protection, you can make sure that the only cauliflower you see is on your dinner plate!

And now even YOU know why the coaches want the kids to wear head gear. You know, if you weren't stupid, people wouldn't pick on you.
ResiliteMarine (1) about 2 weeks ago
Happy Birthday to the United States Marine Corps!!!
mzendars (2) about 2 weeks ago
Does anyone know/have seen the BTN networks TV schedule matches for this year. Please provide URL if possible. Thanks Mike
Andrewmah (2) about 2 weeks ago
"Big Headgear lobbied hard to keep ear protectors on the heads of 18-22-year-old college athletes."

Hahahaha! spoken like a true socialist.....If you put ALL the wrestling headgear manufacturing companies together they STILL wouldn't qualify as being a "Big" financial concern. Why not cut to the quick and just say, I hate capitalism.....lol!
wcokeley (1) about 2 weeks ago
Wow lesman67, thank you for that very enlightening comment! I'll bet you just opened the eyes of the entire wrestling community. I always thought cauliflower ear was caused by bad genes and a poor diet, boy was I wrong!
BTW I guess you're right, people wouldn't pick on you if you weren't stupid.
rfgilles (2) about 2 weeks ago
I really enjoy and look forward to reading the mailbag every Friday. For the most part the writing is measured and thoughtful. However there is always an unfounded sentence or two that I am left scratching my head. This week's entry: "Too bad, since their removal would mean way fewer head slaps, head butts and erratic attacks." This is pure nonsense
mdmontague1 (3) about 2 weeks ago
Andrewmah what are you even talking about? Sounds like you don't know the first thing about capitalism.
cmbcii (3) about 2 weeks ago
How about freedom of choice on the headgear......just like the facial hair? What is wrong with that?
yakrider (2) about 2 weeks ago
@ cmbcii (2) an hour and a half ago
How about freedom of choice on the headgear......just like the facial hair? What is wrong with that?

What are you? some kind of freedom loving American freak? I need a governing body to tell me what i should do and not only that, they should provide me with said headgear as that is my deserved right and entitlement.
bradhpa01 (1) about 2 weeks ago
I'm calling BS on the headgear preventing cauliflower ear. I never practiced with a head gear in 12 years of wrestling. Ears are perfectly fine. My son wore his headgear every single match and practice for his 10 years of wrestling and has both ears 'cauliflowered'. And we tried multiple different styles, none worked. Either you are prone to this injury or you are not. Just like many other things in life. Headgear are definitely not 100% effective in preventing ear injuries. In my opinion, they're not much help at all.
lesman67 (1) a week and a half ago
Wcokeley, Let's do a quick check, footballers, nope, basketballers, nope, tennis players, nope, bowlers, nope, weight lifters, nope, golfers, nope, tracksters, nope, volley ballers, nope, soccer players, nope, lacrosse players, nope, fencers, nope, swimmers, nope, and of course baseball players, nope...none of those that participate in those sports get cauliflower ears. Hey, let the wrestler make the choice that's fine but don't be so stupid that you think like the author of this article and believe that there's any other sport that you get this from. Yeah, there's no way you can slap someone in the head or head butt them if they're not wearing one. Now you see how stupid that comment was and perhaps, yours.
DDiehl (1) a week and a half ago
I thought it was 'the other Valencia' who lost
cmbcii (1) a week and a half ago
@lesman67

Rugby
vietvet (1) a week and a half ago
Cauliflower ears are retarded - Steve Mocco