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Jagger's Friday Mailbag - 11/12/2021

2021 Cadet World Champion Bo Bassett at the Super 32 (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)

By now, we've all heard the news out of Pennsylvania and the punishment handed down to Bishop McCort's athletic department. There've been enough tweets, news stories, arguments, mission statements and plain old mudslinging in the last week or so to last a lifetime. I've always prided myself on seeing both sides of an argument and this matter has been no different. My knee-jerk reaction was to say, good, it's ridiculous what's going on over there. But I'm just an outsider who's not privy to the daily ins and outs of the PA scene, nor am I checking the message boards for every post by disgruntled parents and coaches.

While I do believe something is going on there, where talented wrestlers want to join forces and form super-teams, I also believe the punishments handed out are completely out of line and the most damage it inflicts is to most innocent of victims and that's the children. Erik Gibson is by all accounts a fine young man who's headed to Cornell next Fall. What you've done is basically put him in double jeopardy by once again taking away his chance to compete for a PA state title for the second year in a row for the same crime and that crime was merely leaving a place where he did not feel comfortable. For good measure, you decided to bury every other athlete there, including numerous future stars who've yet to even arrive. Families have uprooted their lives for the betterment of their children both in sport and education to be in the place they want to be and you can only see this in black and white, that it's for athletic advantage and it might somehow ruin whatever luster is left in the world of high school sports.

The physical building is not going anywhere. Bill Bassett can coach for twenty more years if he so pleases. The kids only have so many chances for these moments and you want to take
that away because they crossed some imaginary lines with their bookbags and headgears. They train every day and all year to reach the goals they've seen their heroes reach when they were just little kids and dreamt about standing on that podium one day themselves and they don't deserve to have that taken away by some stuffy adults sitting in a conference room somewhere.

I was nearly killed by a car at 13 and the only thing I cared about then and now is that I missed football and wrestling that year. I took some years off, as a kid, but knew I would wrestle again in high school, so I wanted to come back in eighth grade, but that Mercury Cougar changed all those plans. Did it affect my development as a high school wrestler? You bet it did, and it will do the same to them, but not only on the mat, but as human beings. They shouldn't have to worry that the choices they think are best for them, can ultimately harm them, while being bitter at the establishment.

Do I like the grade manipulation? It's a bit tiresome, but also common and it's not like they are beating up 12-year-olds out there as all of their competition has been age-level anyway. You want to say they can't compete in the team-based postseason? Fine, I can live with that. Suspend the coach for a year? Eh, the person on top usually has to bear responsibility anyway. But don't take these kids' dreams away. They worked too hard to be penalized for things most likely out of their control and now you're taking away the one thing they can
control, which is what they do on the mat. To the powers that be in PA wrestling, I implore you to rethink what you're doing here and figure out a way to right this.

The holiday season is upon us and you're being a real Grinch about things by stealing Christmas and I don't think you want that on your resume when you're about to enter the
Pearly Gates. Anyway, on to way more important topics!


How many pairs of cuts off do you own? @WhatDidImiss

When you create the perfect pair of Daisy Dukes on your first try, you need not evolve, my friend.


Who is 1 wrestler nobody is talking about that is going to surprise us this weekend? @luke_w_wise

The guy I've been waiting to see for over two years now is Cornell's Jacob Cardenas. The former Bergen Catholic star has been away from the scene for a while now, but not-so-long-ago, was the primary challenger to AJ Ferrari's spot as the best 195 pounder in the country before joining forces for half a season in 2019. Cornell is allegedly competing at the Bearcat Open this weekend and it's been rumored that he and Darmstadt are neck-and-neck in the room, so with any luck, we can see that match and the rest of the gang from Ithaca. Come on, guys! It's been so long! Put Yianni on the scale, as we've speculated long enough!


Should you have to compete in so many matches on the year in order to compete for the national qualifier? @Swayzhappens

That's a no from me, dog. In my opinion, if you don't wrestle all year, but you're on a roster, you should be allowed to compete in the postseason. Everyone says duals don't matter anyway, so why should they matter here? If a kid can mosey into a conference tournament with no matches under his belt and qualify, then more power to him. Plus, we don't know the extent of these injuries. What if the earliest you can go after major surgery is early March? Now you have to risk that to get qualifying matches in? Get bent.


I know u finished HS in an era before wrestling was invented, but if u were graduating now, what school would be most appealing for u to compete at? @PelikanHead

Personally, if I'm beating myself up all winter indoors, I'm going to need some decent weather outdoors. Add in a mix of my East Coast bias and I'm probably looking at NC State or something of that ilk. It really all depends on the best buffalo wing sponsorship I can get and it is the Tobacco capital of the country, so that's cool.


Mork or Mindy? @JohnnyG7613

I'm a Joanie Loves Chachi guy.

That's all, folks! Yours truly has to work all day Saturday, so please no spoilers. I want to be able to see my Caturday Saturday tweets without updates from the Bison Open.

Comments

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Jefe (2) about 3 weeks ago
Question about the McCort situation: why don't they compete at National Preps instead of PIAA?

McCort is trying to have it both ways: they want to recruit athletes and compete against schools that aren't allowed to recruit athletes. (And to make matters worse, compete in the PA small schools division.)
Mikecarter1001 (1) about 3 weeks ago
Great 👍 article! I keep saying separate the kids from the adults . The problem is some parents who don't like the ruling want the whole shabang and saying it's fueled by jealousy is not helping at all .