The Lost NCAA Tournament

By | March 16, 2020

I’m not sure I agree with most of the posts on Facebook that would like to see an extra year of wrestling given to those who were denied the final weekend of the season.

I certainly understand everyone’s frustration, but this isn’t the first-time something like this has happened.

There were no championships in 1943, 1944, or 1945 either. The reason is quite obvious, World War II. Not only was the tournament canceled during those years, but many collegiate teams discontinued wrestling all together during that time.

And, although is wasn’t the NCAA’s, there was 1980, when 20 well deserving athletes didn’t get a chance to win Olympic Gold and instead, were forced to choke down a streak dinner at the White House.

As to the counter points relative to extending another year of wrestling, here are a few.

98% of the season has been wrestled. Matches won, matches lost, qualifiers completed. Out of the 40 or so matches, on average, that wrestlers compete in every season, for well over 90% of this years competitors, their season had ended.

So, we’re only talking about less than 10% who didn’t get a chance to complete the year.

On what basis is it reasonable to say that everyone should receive a fifth year of competition, when so many had already completed theirs?

Remember, when we make blanket statements like, “everyone should get another year,” the term everyone, means just that, everyone.

Then one might ask, is this reasonable, or fair, to the thousands of athletes that came before this years group.

Now, I know the cries are for those wonderful, hard-working, and accomplished athletes who were denied their shot at a national title, and we have to remember, that’s in all three of the NCAA Divisions, just not D-I.

But what does it mean, if you take your thinking beyond the empathy you feel for those who no longer have shots at national titles, or All-American certificates?

Let’s take a closer look.

How many individual records might fall? Why is it fair, or reasonable, to provide athletes from this year with another full year of eligibility so they could possibly amass records that would usurp those who set theirs before them, in four years?

Why is it right to give Lee, as an example, 5 shots at the Hodge, or Schalles Awards, when Dake and Stieber, as examples, only had four. The same is true for amassing the most wins in a career, or takedowns, or tech falls, etc.    

What about the tremendous financial burden this would create on the institutions themselves? Certainly, an Iowa or Penn State could weather the storm, but what about the less affluent, and smaller D-I and D-II programs? Where do they go to get the additional 50k to 200k in scholarship aid for their fifth-year returners?

Remember, most of the lesser schools have already sucked dry alumni giving and community support. How would they pay for say 13.5 scholarships instead of 9.9? They don’t have a money tree out back.

Hmm, I wonder, might it be easier for them, could they use this financial burden as the excuse for deciding to discontinue wrestling at their institutions?

It could happen, that exact reason has been used before, almost exclusively for dropping programs. And it wouldn’t come across as being the schools, or the AD’s fault. “You know, it’s that darn NCAA. They’re coming up with rules that we can’t afford.

What about the underclassmen who redshirted this year, with the understanding that the varsity wrestler in their weight was graduating? Now they’re going to lose a year of varsity competition because they’re sitting the bench behind someone who’s already had four years of eligibility.

Does that sound fair? Or do all the underclassmen get special compensation and a fifth year of wrestling as well?

Are you beginning to see the unintended consequences of all this?

How about the various service academies. Those athletes have obligations beyond wrestling. They’re in, and they’re out in 4 years. There’s no fifth, or sixth, or seventh year for Uncle Sam’s boys. So, why would it be fair to extend another opportunity to others, and not them?

Another thought; would the NCAA, upon giving everyone another year, allow graduating high school seniors who signed at X, Y, or Z universities to negate their letters of intent and start the process over again?

It’s only fair, because Johnny might have signed with Penn State knowing that Hall was graduating and he would step right in and be their 174-pounder next season.

But not anymore.

Or, what about the redshirt freshman who did sit this season waiting for Hall to graduate. He’s locked in and next year he’s sitting the bench again and losing a year of eligibility. Can anyone say technical violation?

There are always unintended consequences. I’m sure there are more than I covered here, but you get the idea.

If you ask me to come up with a solution, the best I could do would be this. Allow the Top 4 seeds in each weight class to show up in Minnesota’s wrestling room next week, after each of the 40 have passed Coronavirus testing, and wrestle it out. No fans, no coaches, 4 referees and there you go.

The odds are 96.372% for the above, I made that number up if you wonder where the figure came from, that you have the best kid in the country in every weight out of the Top 4 seeds.  

Is that ideal, heck no. But you’ll end up with 10 NCAA Champions and it’s the best let’s meet in the middle solution that the NCAA won’t approve.     

There’s no doubt, what happened is a shame. Actually, it’s a damn shame. I really feel for the athletes who worked so hard for a crack at the pinnacle of our collegiate season. But, using part of old saying, what doesn’t kill you, might someone else if we would have allowed this year’s tournament to go forward. Nothing is worth that.

Just as the athletes from the 40’s and in 1980 have learned to shrug their shoulders, and move on, this too is being handled so much better by the athletes, than the fans.

And with crystal ball in hand, I’m afraid this crisis is far from over. The Olympics could very well be in jeopardy, and, if the CDC isn’t able to get a handle on this, Fall sports might be affected as well.     

6 thoughts on “The Lost NCAA Tournament

  1. Chuck Coryea

    Great POV Wade. Going back to the 70s, you have had many ideas I wish the wrestling leadership considered more earnestly.

  2. Hryhoriy Davydenko

    I went back and found the submission teaching wade was involved in after searching around and it is called scientific wrestling and that appears to be a new way to brand catch wrestling. I notice that mma websites had tons of questions fans asked about catch wrestling and it basically boiled down to what the hell is it and where can I learn it and why does BJJ have a proven way of learning and catch wtestling has ole silly Billy Robinson putting on standing submission holds that I could cleary see were pro wrestling holds the old fart used to use that he was pitching as catch wtestling submission moves. I can hardly imagine anyone getting a submission move on another without being one the floor which is using the leverage of the floor. I will get to my point on how this applies to folk wrestling and why it is dying in a second. Personally, that crap Gotch and Farmer Whatever and Hackysackenshit were doing was silly nonsense and totally works or choreographed wrestling with a ton of folklore that talks about matches going 14 hours and other stuff so idiotic and dumb yet sadly fascinating to lots of people as they are buying into the crap in their search to find the ultimate fighting discipline so they can daydream and debate with others who the ultimate ass kicking machine is and why. Clearly, some clever entrepreneurs are enticing them with catch wrestling and they have been searching everywhere but the mysterious knowledge must lie with the greats like Billy Robinson so let’s pick his brain for this goodies before he dies. Of course, ole Billy was never short of some good bullshiting and he looks to have cashed in on this catch enigma. The point of this is that catch wrestling exists as an abstract because doing it in reality was something Billy, Farmer, Gotcha man were not doing. I understand catch wrestling to be pinning or submitting your opponent. Thus, to the extent wrestling is used it will be a takedown and since there is no point in standing around for 14 hours, you would go for it immediately. You want to get you opponent down to pin and for the fact that unless yoir silly Billy your chances of submitying a standing man are as laughable as Billy bullshiting people abiut the lost secrets of the great Wigan catch rasslers. If you cannot pin then you are going to start jerking an arm to get that damn thing so bent around in a way it is not to be bent and just pull and pull and if you don’t hear an uncle just snap that arm. If the arm is not giving you luck thing ride the man’s body down and get a leg and jerk the shit out if it. Maybe you can get that old toe hold put on that sucker so he will cry so loud that Gotch is proud. Real catch wrestling would not give you any training for folk wrestling other than getting the other on the ground quick which us the point but they are trying to do the same. If not a pin, then all you would see is the most violent jerking motions and hell yes UT would not be enjoyable or pain free in the least which is why Billy Boo, Gotcha, and Farmer poo poo were bullshiting you with their amazing abilities of 14 hour matches some even saw them standing the whole time. My point is that I can see how youngsters could view folk and freestyle wrestling like catch wrestling in the sense that they hear all this chitterc chatter and evrn guys doing it, geberally horribly, but they do not know the theory of how to get from a to z. Basically, they do not have shit yo teach them the damn sport and the fact that Gable has infected them with his godlike ability yet has zero books to my knowledge that discuss anything remotely as to a building block approach to learning the sport. I could be working on one right now but I am explaining the problem. The problem I have is that like most kids I had the shop teacher as coach who never wrestled but was available to babysit. So, I got animalistically strong and won off of pure violence and could never catch up to college teammates that were grounded in fundamentals and had both technique and positioning knowledge. Over time I picked it up but I don’t want kids learning like that as it tore up my joints and I played workout partner for two years. When you learn like I did it is all muddled and I suspect others could design the house plans or fundamentals and progression better than myself but I am going to start. Lol at and Askren have tapes but the books are not written well from what I see as professional writers end up editing out the context which makes them read like automotive instructions. Some written literature is needed so that live time coaching can start hopefully around 10 years of age. if you live in a rural area, then boy it is going to be the shits finding any coaching let alone that which is quality coaching.

  3. Hryhoriy Davydenko

    I thought I had discovered all the good wrestling blogs on the internet, which I think I have around three I consider good while the 600 others are the absolute runny shits. I certainly have long known of Mr. Shalles one of my favorites, but I somehow missed his site that I currently have spent the last 3 plus hours reading through. Without question this is the best site of any I have seen regarding wrestling. I left this comment on this latest article hoping Mr. Schalles sees it because he needs to be praised for articles that are damn insightful and the writing is incredible. The last time I saw Mr. Shalles on the internet he was doing some form of combat wrestling where he was demonstrating how to apply submission holds. I think it might have been catch a coo coo or that stuff the Farmer guy and Gotcha too worked. Wade seemed knowledgeable, but I doubt I will be submitting anyone in the remaining years I have left here so I ventured on without much interest. But, I do have interest in folk wrestling and, as aforementioned, the articles and writing on this site surpass anything I have seen. Thank you! Sincerely, Hryhoriy/Greg Davydenko.

    1. Wade Schalles Post author

      Greg . . . you are very kind. Appreciate your note. All I try and do is make people think. Maybe they think I’m a blow hard, sometimes a jerk, other times insightful. But regardless, I try. If you like my writing style, may I suggest you give my latest book of fiction, Jacob’s Cradle, a try? You can get it through Amazon. Receiving strong reviews, it’s a simple fun read of 220 pages. Love story, with some good guys and bad guys centered around wrestling.

  4. Dave Robinson

    Are there videos of your competitive years?
    I’ve watched all of your incredible matches at Midlands, and wonder if there are recordings to view.

    1. Wade Schalles

      Dave . . . you’re very kind, but the tapes of all our matches at Clarion were thrown out by an unknowing member of the cleaning staff. And to top that, I wrestled, unfortunately, just before it became simple and inexpensive to video tape people, places and things. Short answer, sadly, no.


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