Foley's Friday Mailbag: March 28, 2014

T.R. Foley

3/28/2014
T.R. Foley, InterMat Senior Writer
foley@intermatwrestle.com, Twitter: @trfoley

Logan Stieber stepped off the mat Saturday night in Oklahoma City as one of only four men to have won three straight NCAA titles and still be in pursuit of a fourth. It's an incredible individual accomplishment that's worthy of celebration and long-winded odes to Stieber's psychological and physical makeup. The boy can flat out roll and there is no hyperbole in any description of his toughness.

That's exactly why Ohio State's athletic director Gene Smith deserved every penny of the $18,000 he was awarded for Stieber's victory.

Non sequitur? Exactly.

Logan Stieber's NCAA title put $18k in Gene Smith's pocket (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)
Stiebergate gained notoriety in the mainstream media largely because all of the NCAA's lecherous business practices are under increased scrutiny across the country. Northwestern football players are unionizing, Ed O'Bannon has cracked the NCAA's grip on images and rights, and the fabric and old-timey mysticism of amateurism is fraying at the edges. Meanwhile a young wrestler with battered ears and missing a tooth wins an NCAA title, but only the AD gets a pay bump?

I agree with the argument that the athletic director of a Division I institution is in charge of making mega-moves that influence the wins and losses of a team. The job of the athletic director is to hire the correct coach, create an "environment that breeds success" and raise some tax-free dollars from well-to-do suburban alumni.

That's their job, and like the CEO of a major company the AD is only judged by output. In the case of the CEO that's stock price and profit, and for the AD that's wins, losses and number of NCAA sanctions levied in a single year. The only real difference between the CEO and the AD is that the CEO must pay his employees for their labor before he can ever benefit from his strategy. The AD just employees their overseers.

Stiebergate struck a funny-bone with fans because it corrupted the suspended reality many fans and supporters had created when analyzing the NCAA and its arguments for the validity of amateurism. Until Stieber the popular belief was that Coach is God and that he can replace any one unit and get the same results. If the AD is worth his chedda' then he hires good coaches who in turn recruit good players. "Remember, Son! No one athlete is bigger than the team!"

Coach Tom Ryan might've been instrumental in Stieber's success, but his leadership then should have guided the team to an NCAA title. If the Buckeyes win the 2015 NCAA title you can see how Smith would be incentivized. He was GENIUS for keeping Tom Ryan, right? But is he responsible for the actions of a single wrestler? What did Smith have to do with anything that happened Saturday night? Nada. Zip. Zilch. The direct actions of an unpaid 23-year-old earned a professional man an $18,000 bump in pay. It's filthy, and I need to shower.

Logan Stieber is an individual athlete who has bled for his three NCAA titles. He has stood up in the middle of 20,000 people wearing nothing but a thin piece of gray, shiny lycra and asked the nation to throw out their best. He's been triumphant three times, and yet it was Smith, tucked away somewhere watching basketball who checked his bank account's mobile app and noticed the window.

Direct Deposit: NCAA Championship, Logan Stieber, $18,000.00

Wonder if Smith ever looked into using their transfer function on his Chase account? I'm sure Logan wouldn't mind replacing the tooth he lost in pursuit of Smith's blood money with some more substantial. But then again, you can't buy a bagel for a kid who's lost his father so looks like it's one less tooth until graduation.

To your questions ...

Q: 1. Instant replay is used way too much.

2. Overtime needs to change. Rideouts are no fun and I don't necessarily see riding a guy for 11 seconds versus 9 seconds as a victory.

3. Stalling is getting out of hand. It's not one person or one team. Everybody does it. They need to start hitting guys for stalling and doing it right away.

Am I just exaggerating these problems or does everybody notice them? What do you think?
-- Ryan R.


Foley: These are concerns that I'm hearing again and again and again, by fans, wrestlers and coaches.

Instant replay was bad last year, but reached a new level of momentum-crushing terribleness this past weekend in OKC. There were three, yes THREE, reviews issued in the first two minutes of the 125-pound match between Jesse Delgado and Nahshon Garrett. Yes, there was rolling around, but at no time was there evidence that Delgado did anything but fight his normal fight.

The logic of the Cornell coaching staff seemed to be that if they had the challenges they might as well use them early. A single takedown could mean the momentum and the match. The only problem is that they used two and with the additional referee challenge in a three-minute first period which suddenly gobbled up 10 minutes of real world time. It feels like the older brother who pushes the RESET button every time you scored first in Super Tecmo Bowl. The review system is supposed to not interfere with the pace of the wrestling, but in this situation it completely changed the composition of the match.

Other coaches this past weekend seemed to use the challenge as an injury timeout without the consequences. Some even used it at the end of the match when a call was clear, hoping that somewhere in the video replay will be something that could cause sufficient doubt. It's a Hail Mary, but wrestlers aren't known for quitting. We're still fighting Title IX, aren't we?

Maybe the coaches should recognize that the tournament success rate was only 8.5 percent, or 4 out of 47 challenges issued. Those are terrible odds, and odds that make me think there should be fewer and an in-match limitation on the number of calls allowed to be challenged. New rules need to reflect the increase in calls or else next year we can suspect more challenges and more in-match dithering.

Like the NFL, a simple rule has been mutated to the point where more rules need to be implemented in order to avoid corruption. Maybe it's better to simply eliminate the review?

As you pointed out the ride-time criteria has changed the entire ethos of wrestling. What was once a battle for domination has become the ability to get up by a fraction of differential and then try to game the referees into not being able to call stalling. It's not as much fun for the wrestlers or the fans.

Q: You often suggest takedown-only tournaments as an exciting alternative that will drive fan demand. Based on the NCAA Championships I'm not so sure. Isn't there just as much of a possibility that the fans are turned off by wrestlers who never engage their opponents and only respond with counters and funk (e.g. Delgado)? I think the solution has to involve awarding points for initiating offense. Obviously, it introduces subjectivity but it's clearly what the fans want to see. Thoughts?
-- Bryan R.


Foley: I don't see takedown-only events as taking the place of American folkstyle, freestyle or even Greco-Roman. In my grand vision I think takedown-only tournaments would be an addition to our current offering that would allow higher levels of participation and increase the fun-quotient among part-time competitors. Also, the rules would be based in the touching of either the elbow, knee or hip to the ground -- all of which would eliminate the new jiu-jitsu scrambles that popped up this year.

Takedown-only should be part of a fair-like experience that welcomes any and all takers. There could be a national champion and with work a nice little subculture of athletes could emerge. There are a million places to take this variety of the sport, but it'll take hard work and some solid salesmanship.

The real question is whether or not AD Gene Smith would agree to help us manage the project. For a fee, of course, it's always about that skrilla!

Q: I heard Columbia endowed their second assistant position and now their entire staff is funded (genius, btw). Upon learning the news that Boston had an endowment, were any additional safeguards put in place there?
-- Frank C.


Foley: The safeguard is that they've raised a $6 million endowment and bring in more than $100k a year. When it comes down to it they don't cost Columbia a dime and with a coach like Carl Fronhofer and freakazoids like Steve Santos they are doing enough on the mat to keep the administration happy.

No word on if the AD gets paid for every endowment the program raises, but I bet Super AD Smith gets a 20 percent finder's fee!

Q: Lots of fan response to your last mailbag bemoaning the lack of offense. Last year, FILA finally woke up after the IOC tried to drop wrestling from the Olympics. FILA changed the freestyle and Greco-Roman rules to make the sport more exciting for the spectators. Thank you, Nenad Lalovic!

Who in college wrestling is going to stand up and be the one to lead the charge to make the college sport more exciting for its spectators and save it from extinction?
-- JM


Foley: The problem with NCAA wrestling is that there is no centralized body to make all these changes, whereas with FILA, for better or worse, there is an executive committee and a bureau to help make decisions.

We know about the NCAA committee that makes recommendations and the referees who influence the manner in which rules are interpreted, but the flow of information between those committees and the leadership needed to direct change is fairly opaque. I have no idea who comes up with a full rule change and who directs when calls need to be improved. There are guesses, but I'm mostly left wondering who holds the power (outside of the ADs of course).

The NCAA wrestling tournament was a bit more exciting than I expected, but there were still some awfully boring matches. Much of that can be blamed on the rideouts, which have incentivized wrestlers to slow the pace and play for overtime. Referees haven't been calling stalling nearly enough and the four-point stance is about to kill the sport, or I'm about to kill the four-point stance.

Though the committee has proven as susceptible to criticism as AD Smith, it's the referees who also NEED to call more stalling from top and possibly even appeal to have the riding time point eliminated altogether. To be clear, the riding time point was established as a passive means for an in-match tiebreaker and prevent extra overtimes. Then, in 2002, guys like Jesse Jantzen started with the half-ride tilts, which eventually morphed into aggressive SADDLING like we saw with J.P. O'Connor. Soon the ride-time point wasn't a difference maker in a high-scoring match. It was a third of all points in a low-scoring snoozefest.

I also think we should ask AD Smith if he has any ideas. It's possible we'll have to pay for that type of gold-assured input, but my god it's worth it. He's led Logan Stieber to three NCAA championships!

No more #snoreride. #instalegend

Q: With all the recent complaints regarding the rideout and the Delgado-style wrestling (see last week's mailbag), how's this proposal? Folkstyle adopts the one-point pushout. I think you'd see a lot less overtime, a lot less double overtime, and a lot less stalling. For example, under the current rules, in the Big Ten finals Delgado ran to the edge of the mat in the third overtime. Megaludis pushes him out; give Mega a point. Match over. This doesn't solve riding or stalling, but I think limits stalling and overtime. Thoughts?
-- Mark K.


Foley: I love the pushout rule. Again, college wrestling's mysterious overseers did get together to try and solve the lack of scoring. Their solutions have been the flash takedown and an increase to the size of the mat. The idea was that the action never stops, but if there is a boundary that lacks consequence it will always be a matter of getting to the edge. As they could before, defensive wrestlers can force action to the edge of the mat and wait to shoot or defend, only now they can score from ridiculous positions like front head cradles.

Pushouts make sense to common fans and wrestle-heads alike. Instead of everything is in, making everything out and award points for getting your opponent to breach that zone. There are sure to be plenty of consequences, but I guarantee there would be less backpedaling at the end of match and way, way fewer ties. The matches would also go faster because wrestling would happen in the middle of the mat with the clock running.

For those of you who think this is just like sumo, it's not. But if it were ... AWESOME. Have you seen sumo? It's the biggest sport of the world's second-largest economy! Still, lighter weight wrestlers in 30-foot circles shouldn't let someone push them around the mat. They should be able to stand their ground. And when someone is pushing in too hard they are met with pass-bys and shucks. For every move there is a countermove, for every offensive strategy, a better defense.

The new mats are too big and the risks are too high. Too many heavyweights are going to double overtime and too many small guys are in their three-point stances. Incentivize action. Don't try to democratize the sport by making every surface imaginable up for competition. Limit the competition surface and make the guys do what they've been training to do since their AD inspired them to greatness: wrestle.

MULTIMEDIA HALFTIME

They might be out-of-touch with their stance on amateurism, but this is one heck of a video. Well done, Oz.



Fun 26-minute episode of Wrestling TV that recaps the action from the Men's Freestyle World Cup and gives the full Iran vs. Russia match.



To quote every college girl in America, "I just can't handle ..."



Q: This is for those who did not watch the World Cup. You missed out. A lot of fuss has been made lately about the lack of action at the college level (rightly so). If you're sick of boring matches then you better have tuned in to the World Cup. There were many great matches (not just those the good ol USA wrestled) and I was on the edge of my seat for the Iran vs. USA dual. The skill level and the increased action has made the international style a great product. Time to buy in folks.
-- Erik B.


Foley: Exactly. See the above video for confirmation!

Q: What's your opinion on Mike Evans' possible defensive fall against Chris Perry in the NCAA semifinals? Regardless, how can refs catch the defensive falls more effectively (for example, the refs blew the call when Matt Brown had, in my opinion, a defensive fall against Chris Perry in the PSU-OSU dual)?
-- Mark K.


Was it a fall?
Foley: I think that it's as much about calling it evenly as it is "catching" the defensive fall. Was Perry stuck? Almost certainly. Was he OK to not get called? Sure. That's the nature of a defensive fall, there has to be another extra heartbeat for the referee to call it in any match, much less one of that magnitude.

To be more effective there needs to be a better technical understanding of what is and is not control from the funk position. We've gotten way too lost in our interpretations of the rules. Things like dropping to a single leg need to be called immediate escapes. When someone rolls around overtop and they get caught for more than a few swipes of the leg it's time to start calling backpoints and looking for the fall. What's going on out there is as much jiu-jitsu as it is wrestling, and when the ankles and knees start getting locked up the idea of control is lost.

Let me check with Gene Smith and get back to you with some ideas. You don't happen to have a few extra buck(eyes) laying around do you?

COMMENT(S) OF THE WEEK

By Jeff N.

I am sure some of this is already on your mind or you've already ran it down. My thoughts on the effect of seeding out to 16 vs. only seeding 12. Many predicted that there would be less unseeded guys to place.

Double check my math but only comparing to last year:
2013: 8 unseeded All-Americans
2014: 6 unseeded All-Americans

13-16 seeds that placed in 2014: 6

In theory if they hadn't seeded out to 16, there would've been 12 unseeded All-Americans.

My take: it is irrelevant. The fact that the seeding "system" is not only inconsistent but arbitrary makes all the nonsense revolving around it "much ado about nothing."

It affects matchups only. If you can't beat them all then you shouldn't be crowned the champ. If you need a select path to win it, then you really don't deserve to win. Bottom line is champions get it done and All-Americans earn their spots as well.

By Dave C.

I've been following wrestling for years. At the Big Tens I was very disappointed in the amount of stalling I saw in most all the matches. My opinion? It's killing the sport. I thought the officials were going to be more aggressive than during the dual meet season but there was only a slight dial-up in warnings. I don't recall any stalling points being handed out. Maybe there were one or two cases. I think it would really improve the sport if they instituted two changes. Like international competition, they should have pushouts be one point to the aggressor. And officials absolutely have to hand out more stalling calls, not just warnings but awarding points to the aggressor, and if necessary in the waning seconds of a match. When fans are literally screaming at officials, it's frustrating that in many cases the fans see what the referees apparently don't. What are your thoughts on this? Also, fleeing the mat to avoid a takedown should not be a warning, it should be a point awarded to the opponent.

Comments

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hwtsrgr8 (1) about 9 months ago
I too do not like the ride out to break ties, but I don't like the suggestions to make OT an unlimited SV period on the the feet. Wrestling is more than just take downs.

Lets reverse the order with two 30 second periods with each man going top and bottom, and if still tied, then go unlimited SV from nuetral.
mstann (1) about 9 months ago
I think you are not seeing one side of the Gene Smith controversy. In my experience how do you get an AD to put resources and support behind the minor programs when football and basketball rule the money world. It sure seems one way would be to give an incentive for NCAA champs in the minor sports. More likely to actually see that the minor programs are taken care of. If Gene Smith had not hired Tom Ryan would Logan have taken his talents to Iowa, Minnesota or Penn State like so many great Ohio wrestlers have before Tom Ryan. I think you guys may be just a bit jealous. I know that if I brought in a guy who was turning out a NCAA champ on an average of one a year I would want some of the credit for doing so.
trfoley (1) about 9 months ago
So the AD makes $18k because Logan Sitieber stayed in-state? The whole system is a sham and SteiberGate proves as much. Tell me this, if I walked up to Sieber and handed him $18k would he be allowed to wrestle next season? No. Every justification you want to make for not paying athletes is just malarky. The system tilts in favor of the powerful who every four years gets a new batch of unpaid talent to exploit. This was a one-to-one relationship and it's slimier than anything else happening right now.
cptafw163 (1) about 9 months ago
You DO know that coaches get bonuses for winning. They get bonuses for bowl games, all americans, beating rivals, and being ranked etc. So lets hang the coaches as well as the AD.
mstann (1) about 9 months ago
I never said the athlete shouldn't be paid. IMO he should get the biggest bonus, the coach second and the AD third. Also the assistant coaches. There are a lot of people who contribute to the success of that athlete. However, that is not the world we live in. So your saying since the system is flawed your AD should not be rewarded for athletic success in the wrestling program. And if that is the case then why should he care about a program that generates no income and is a pain in the butt when it comes to Title IX compliance. Does not the AD that hired Cael at Penn St deserve some of the credit for 4 straight championships? Tell me how this is slimier then a university making hundreds of thousands of dollars off the athletes who truly generate income (football and basketball stars)
takedown95 (1) about 9 months ago
Student athletes do get paid. They get paid in scholarships, and housing, and meal plans. Why does everybody forget about this? If someone offered me $72k (4x 18) for the giving up my degree I'd never do it. The education and experience these kids get is worth way more than $18k. If it weren't for the Universities and AD where would Logan Wrestle? Try taking a holistic look at the situation. I don't know of any schools that really consider wretsling a revenue sport. It's a privledge to do what these athletes get to do with the facilities they have just like it's a privledge to have them compete at our schools and to watch them.
mlantz (1) about 9 months ago
The coach can take that scholarship away at any point and wrestlers don't get full rides. You can get a 10% scholarship and if you want to change schools and the coach won't release you from that measly 10% scholarship, you can't get another one. I've heard this BS of an argument my whole life, it's time for people to wake up, these student-athletes are being exploited.
trfoley (1) about 9 months ago
Spot on.
DannyClarke (1) about 9 months ago
HA! Have you ever heard of a fixed cost? The professor is already getting paid and expenses are covered regardless of whether or not the athlete is receiving a scholarship.

Also wrestlers rarely receive a full ride as there are 9.9 scholarships allotted to a 30+ man roster.

However, the athlete is sacrificing 40 hours a week giving their time, body and abilities to the university. Where would logan wrestle without OSU and the AD??? The Olympic Training Center - for America.

In all aspects of life things are incentivized and there are results-based compensations. I'm not saying the AD didn't deserve 18k.... I'm saying he didn't deserve 18k WHEN Logan gets $0.

Yes, the athlete needs the AD to compete and the AD needs the athlete to have a job... so why does the AD get MILLIONS of dollars a year and a bonus for the athlete winning a national title and the athlete can't even sell his own autograph without being deemed ineligible?
jamper1 (2) about 9 months ago
So in the last 2 championships PSU has had 4 national championships and Ohio State has had 2 so should they take $36k from AD Smith for not getting Cael as a coach and getting his recruits as opposed to what Ryan has done?
2xTCAA (2) about 9 months ago
The push-out rule is the ANSWER! Just make the first push-out a warning (separate from the stalling warning). It will increase the action and speed up matches. Add a second referee and Scrap the video review except for timing questions. Make the OT period an untimed period and scrap the ride-out. Somebody is going to get pushed out or taken down at some point and IT WILL BE SUPER-EXCITING!!!!
AFurnas (1) about 9 months ago
I like the pushout from neutral too. You've coupled this with ideas of untimed OT, which is brilliant ... untimed OT by itself will most certainly NOT increase excitement unless there are more opportunities to score, or we accept referees deciding matches with stalling calls 2 or 3 or 4 minutes into OT.

But if there were a pushout rule, then suddenly untimed OT becomes a real possibility!
mlantz (1) about 9 months ago
+1
TooOld (1) about 9 months ago
Dave C.'s last point about fleeing is spot-on. I'd hate to complicate the rules even further, but I wish stalling were a two-tier system:

1. Penalties (warning, then a point, etc.) for *failure to improve* (not shooting from neutral, not trying to turn the man when on top, not trying to get up and out when on bottom).

2. Stiffer penalties for *avoidance*. One point the first time you flee, two points the second time. This would stop the nonsense of somebody protecting a slim late lead by running like it's a game of tag and his opponent is "it". That ain't wrestling.
cptafw163 (1) about 9 months ago
1. The only reason we need pushout rule is that refs don't call stalling for backing out of bounds. If refs called it, it would not be a topic.

2. Staling is never called and enforced (except at 197). Staling should be called more when it happens and the score is 0-0. Stalling in wrestling is only called when you have a lead. Then there is the obligatory WARNING with 10 seconds left in the match. Refs are killing the sport.
rruddy2 (2) about 9 months ago
I've done some high school level reffing. Stalling is one of the most difficult things to call. Part of what makes it difficult is that you are awarding points based on your subjective call. We could add an extra warning before a point is given and also add a position choice for every warning. You wouldn't see guys with a one point lead stall out with 30 seconds to go and refs would be more inclined to call it.
cptafw163 (1) about 9 months ago
I am a HS ref. I have NO QUALMS to give a stall warning a minute into the first period with the score 0-0 if someone repeatedly backs up. Then I also have no qualms on calling it with 10 seconds left to send it to overtime. If the kid is better he can take down the other guy in OT. And if he doesn't, maybe he learned something.
DDavis (2) about 9 months ago
Die hard wrestling fans are tired of watching our sport. At the same time MMA/UFC has exploded & wresting almost gets kicked out of the Olympics. A number of recommendations I'm reading have already been tried (ie: unlimited SV) and scrapped. Stalling is killing our sport. We have to be careful with stall calls. Everyone calls for stalling and then complains when referees decide matches late.
My Recs
1 - If there are no points at the end of the 1st period, then ref awards 1 point to aggressor.
2 - Going out of bounds results in a 2 points takedown. If no takedown is scored then a 1 point pushout is awarded.
3 - No more riding time. Being able to hold an opponent down used to be a sign of domination . . . not anymore.
If wrestling fans are falling asleep watching a much anticipated duals, we have a problem.
hwtsrgr8 (2) about 9 months ago
The way that the out of bounds rule is in today's day and age, one wrestler stepping acrosss the line does not stop the action.

How about a second line like the old Zone in freetyle. If both wrestlers are outside the 1st line, wrestling stops. If one wrestler is completly outside the second line, bang him for 1
bobsoltis (1) about 9 months ago
I usually enjoy these Mailbags, but this is one of the worst ones I've read. It's OK to present the Gene Smith controversy up front, but then you went way overboard and added a jab in virtually every one of your responses. Obsess much?

I wonder if your "research" identified any other programs that offer incentives to the AD or president for individual or team championships? Would Smith have received a bonus if Heflin won instead of Stieber? I'm not saying I agree with this mechanism for incentivizing ADs, as an argument can be made on either side, but to focus on just one wrestler/school seems to show bias.

Stiebergate? Give me a break. It's bad enough that the press likes to downplay what this kid has been able to do on the mat with all the "controversial" wins, and now this. He's on the verge of accomplishing what only 3 others before him have done. Let his accomplishments on the mat speak for themselves.
trfoley (1) about 9 months ago
Why is research in "quotation marks"? His contract was for any individual title. Ian Paddock could've won and he'd be $18k richer.

Did you read the piece? I didn't downplay his accomplishments and I wont apologize for advocating that Logan be paid $18k instead of the suit and tie crowd sipping martinis and making mega-moves.

What's overboard about afflicting the comfortable? This guys is raking in millions and yet if Logan Stieber is like any college kid I've ever known he's rationing his meal money so that he might have a few beers this spring.

Don't rah-rah for the have's -- defend the have-nots.
cptafw163 (1) about 9 months ago
Give me a break. Defend the have-nots (You running for office?). I think the NCAA should allow scholarship money to be put into a bank account, lump sum every year. Then the tuition being paid is the responsibility of the student to pay. Then when they don't pay, they can take out a student loan like everyone else.
trfoley (2) about 9 months ago
I was thinking of making a run for NCAA president. Do I have your support?

I don't hate your scholarship idea, but what about adding performance bonuses, too? Johnny Manziel accounted for $715 million in new giving to Texas A&M. Just think it's about time to be more realistic about the world of college sports and who it really benefits.
cptafw163 (1) about 9 months ago
Football and wrestling are apples to oranges when it comes to revenue. But I will take a stab at this one: Football/basketball has "counter" scholarships. That means they get a full ride and the schollies can't be partial. SO manziel is getting a lot of money for education AND he is getting a stage to increase his stock for the pros. Lets put it this way, would Manziel be in the position he is in WITHOUT college sports?
DaveAmmon (2) about 9 months ago
Steiber is a beast, no doubt. But do not forget his wins WERE controversial not to mention he's a 23-year old JUNIOR. Geez, does he have any grand kids?
mlantz (1) about 9 months ago
I thought one jab per letter was the perfect amount! Best mailbag yet.
mlantz (1) about 9 months ago
It's called humor.
howiefartz (1) about 9 months ago
I don't think riding time needs be eliminated, just make it tougher to get. For instance, if, after 30 or 45 secs (take your pick), there have been no turns for back points and of course no reversals or escapes, return both wrestlers to their feet.

I also think the pushout rule should be applied, just wondering about the finer points of criteria?

Lastly, I would like to say I'm appalled at the criticism that has been thrown Chris Perry's way. Everything from people insinuating that the refs were bought off, to some sort of home cooking that prevented the defensive pin from being called (mainly by Hawkeye fans I'm sure), to Sunday morning QB style whiners making it sound like he has no skills and didn't deserve his two titles. Like if it was THEM out there that they would be going all Ruth and Taylor on people (yeah right). The parody at 174 the last two years has been nuts, and while you may not always like his style I think the guys at Flo said it best- Beyond a doubt, after his finals match, Chris Perry has shown that he IS the best 174 pounder in the country.
cptafw163 (2) about 9 months ago
I am a ref and I saw the defensive pin. His shoulders were down for one second, the criteria that needs to be met. However, the referee was IN FRONT of the action and had to whip around. The referee must see/witness all actions. The assistant referee cannot make a call in the match. He is just there to signal clasp, call out time, and to notify the mat ref if a pinning combination turns illegal while the ref is looking for the fall. Ie a headlock and the arm slips out.
howiefartz (1) about 9 months ago
I do not doubt what you say you saw, however, it does not justify the criticism coming Chris Perry's way. To claim the refs were bought off? That he didn't deserve to win a second natl title? Logan Stieber won his first title on a much more controversial call and that was in the finals! People can say what they want. CP proved who was the best in his finals match, I still whole heatedly agree with the guys at Flo!
HuskerClockman (2) about 9 months ago
I am in favor of 2 changes. First add the push out rule which should keep wrestlers away from the edge. Then make calling stalling a point of emphasis with the officials. Kids will learn if they get called enough. We can all see it and recognize it from the stands---admittedly not always the best vantage---so call it !!!
Jared Hall (1) about 9 months ago
How about we decide what stalling really is. How does a claw ride "aggressively attempt to break down the opponent," (rule 5.9.3.1)? How often do we see bottom wrestlers not "initiate action to escape or reverse the opponent," (rule 5.9.3.5)?

But then we see stalling called when the wrestler A stands and wrestler B attempts to take him down but cannot. The rules simply state that he must attempt to return him to the mat. Define attempt.

Or we see Wrestler A get taken down and wrestler B is still on the legs, attempting to move up into a better position, while wrestler A continually attempts to kick out, resulting in wrestler B getting warned for stalling.

Too often we see stalling called incorrectly, and as fans, get annoyed when it is or is not called in our way.

How can we make stall calls more objective.
ched64 (1) about 9 months ago
Does anyone else out there worry that this pay for play discussion might threaten non or low revenue sports? I understand those that get upset over the amount of $$ made off of unpaid athletes but somewhere in the back of my head a warning bell goes off everytime I read a story on the topic.
Great ideas by commenters today regarding overtime but Dake/Howe in the WTT last summer could be used as a possible shortcoming from the unlimited SV approach...both were totally spent by the end of that marathon session. It certainly has the potential to effect ensuing matches in a tournament format.
Duhawk45 (2) about 9 months ago
Foley,

As always, great article and comments. I think you truly speak for the masses whenever you post.

I agree with you. The Gene Smith payout is an injustice, but there is a worse injustice going on in college wrestling, and that's a flawed scoring system. The fans of the sport are the ones being victimized. Stalling is murdering the sport of wrestling. Somehow I managed to get a few of my friends (who don't like or just don't get wrestling) to sit down to watch the NCAA Tourney on ESPN. After several scores of 2-1 going into the 3rd period, I would look over to my friends to see their zombie like expressions and glazed over eyes. I don't blame them. I was even getting a little bored, myself!

Whoever is the governing body of college wrestling needs to go back to the drawing board and re work this "ride em out" centric scoring system. They need to keep just one question in mind when re thinking this whole process,
"WHAT CAN WE DO TO FAVOR THE AGGRESSOR?"

It's as simple as that. We need go getter guys like David Taylor, Taylor Walsh, Logan Stieber, and Nashon Garrett. Not guys like a Chris Perry or Jesse Stallgado. But, it's not even their fault. They are just working the flawed scoring system. Current rules favor their styles, and they just want to win.

I loved seeing the stalling warnings in the Finals. It created a sense of urgency. The most dramatic and exciting moment in the finals happened due to a stalling call on Heflin from Ohio State. It forced Heflin into action and the takedown and the national title came down to a rarely warranted video review. It was exciting, and I'm sure other wrestlers besides Ohio State were taking note of the call. Yes, you can lose a National Title if you stall! Great message.

I love the idea of a folk style/ free style form of wrestling. The push out for a point is an excellent idea.

New rules need to favor the aggressor, and in turn, that will favor the fans. And, the fans are the most important at this point considering College Wrestling's current state of affairs.

The NCAA doesn't have to... they NEED to put a better product out on the mat, so fans like me can convert their friends to the one of a kind sport of college wrestling.
KjlMkl (1) about 9 months ago
I have always understood wrestling to be just that....wrestling! Yes defensive does play a part in strategy, but what I see going on more now is STALLING wrestling by theses defensive type wrestlers, it's ironic that nobody is really talking about how DAKE was much more of a defensive STALLER against Taylor, Im not saying Taylor would have won, but I do believe that if Dake would have been forced to wrestle, it would have been quit different in those matches...Taylor loves to get in and mix it up, pressure ride, tilt, control....etc Dake knew not to do that, he knew not to get in there and mix it up, he knew to counter and play defense (stall), countering is a big part of wrestling, but stalling is not, either wrestle and mix it up or watch the sport slowly start to die..
Hyhu28 (1) about 9 months ago
Two comments-
First, TR, as you are well aware, ALL journalism comes with personal bias, spin, and perspective shaped by the life experiences of the author. What you provide on a regular basis to the world of wrestling is, in my opinion, very well thought out and very well written. Folks don't have to agree with your approach or opinions, or even read the columns. All are entitled to a voice. With that said, I agree the whole OSU AD thing is a joke...bash away my friend!

Second, enough with the Jesse Delgado bashing! I don't know the now 2X NCAA CHAMP, but I'm willing to bet that when he's busting his ass seven days a week he's not concerned with the entertainment value for the peanut gallery. Fact is, this season everyone paints a target on him and almost everyone goes into the three or four point stance on him too. He, in turn, has adjusted. Or perhaps he should just go ahead and take a chance with a traditional whizzer and his leg up past his skull! Again, all entitled to opinions, but you all are collectively disrespecting a hard working kid for being a VERY TOUGH TAKEDOWN! Fight on young warrior - good look becoming Illinois' first ever 3x champ and 4x All-American!!!
Zman (1) about 9 months ago
Was Gene Smith even in Ok City when he earned his $18,000?
Stalling is bad at all levels in the US. There needs to be a major over hall on how the refs call it.
Review might have its place in wrestling but the first thing that needs to be done is, the ref that made the call or not make the call shouldn't be the one reviewing. To many of these refs have big egos and they do not like to admit being wrong especially on national tv. I see it every year on the big ten network some ref make s a really bad call and after 5 min still does not correct it. Case in point Michigan/Pennsylvania state dual this year. Last year Michigan/ Ohio state dual. Both times there were two refs and neither of them knew the rules to make the right call? Please the ego was the problem.
What's the point of the second ref if he is not going to step in and help make the right call? The second ref is just a way the refs got into the higher ups so they could get more of them paid.
Don't pay the athlete colleges should have to increase scholarships. Instead of paying all the suits money should go to more scholarships so coaches don't have to split them up so they can build a championship team. I know title 9 will be said about this but there is a lot of money being thrown around and it's not to the student athletes.
gaertner (1) about 9 months ago
1 Point Pushout! Back to their feet after 30 seconds on the mat. Need more time for a turn? Take him/her down again!

Mr. Foley, how can the public push for these rules that many seem to want? Does it start at the high school with the NWCA or does it have to come from the college level down?

I really feel like these two rules need to happen to make our sport so much better.
gaertner (1) about 9 months ago
Excuse me, the NFHS.
JMHWSM (1) about 9 months ago
The problem with letting Perry get away with that one is that it was not a defensive fall as people are saying, it came from the neutral position. From the neutral position, the goal is to establish control over the opponent. If the offensive wrestler (Mike Evans in this case) can put the opponent in a position where intelligent people even think it might have been a fall, he is most certainly controlling the opponent (Chris Perry) and should be awarded the win (remember, this was sudden victory). In short, Evans was robbed. In Perry's defense, though, he wrestled the match of his life in the finals, probably the best performance of the night. He may not have deserved the championship, but he completely deserved the win over Howe.
jws22462 (1) about 9 months ago
the gene smith theme is a great example of "much ado about nothing"... All professionals have incentives in their contracts. i'm happy the bucks have some re wrestling!
Lehigh Fan (1) about 9 months ago
I think its awesome that there is a longer comments section than the article itself. Shows the passion is still there for so many of us. For the most part its even positive recommendations. Carry on my wrestling friends. The sport still needs all of us.
hcraig4 (1) about 9 months ago
Someone mentioned this earlier but I like the idea that if a second stalling is called on wrestler A then wrestler B should have choice of position. I would then think that stalling would be called more often. Ref's wouldn't be reluctant to call it knowing that it would have a major impact on the outcome. Then possibly on the third stalling call a point for the other wrestler.
HighCrotch247 (1) about 9 months ago
STALLLINGGG.. Riding time needs to go or the refs need to start banging the top wrestler for stalling. Riding on the ankle and dropping down to a leg is stalling in every sense of the word but doesn't get called in college wrestling. I am tired of watching this boring style of wrestling. Stalling has to be called more on top. Point blank.