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Archive for August 2008

Sifting through the smokescreen of administrative “bull”

As wrestling fans, we’ve seen it with Fresno State, Eastern Illinois, James Madison and Oregon. There’s more schools to add to the list with wrestling programs cut, but when administrations are questioned, it’s enough political spin-doctoring to make Bill O’Reilly say “What the…?”

We’ve read through the misinformation offered by Athletics Directors, analysis, consultants and university presidents about athletic cuts, usually to men’s Olympic sports. We’ve heard backers from other sports within the school basically say “who cares” when it comes to sports not named football or basketball.

When JMU, a school I nearly attended, eliminated 10 sports officially, fans on the CAAZone.com basically cast their fellow students, classmates and future alumni aside, citing the sports which were cut were of no interest to them. I argued, often in the face of staunch JMU students and alums, everyone who represents JMU should be treated the same, no matter if you’re a fencer, archer or backup punter. An apathetic student body cares not about anything other than what they are interested in, showing no room for expanding their own horizons with new sports and new friends.

That was an battle that got ugly, primarily because of my closeness to the school, being a member of the CAA and having spent many a great weekend in Harrisonburg.

Now take the case of Rutgers, which spared wrestling from the axe in 2006, but other sports took the hit. What followed? Alleged budget numbers which never saw the light of day and scapegoating. Oh, then there was a fact sheet issued about how successful Rutgers’ programs were.

SwimmingWorldMagazine.com, which I linked to with the InterMat blog during the Arizona State debacle, has re-printed the Coalition to Save Our Sports response to the school’s chest beating. Read it here.

Now, when all of this stuff went down with JMU, reclassifying to “club” status seemed to be what most supporters of the cuts pointed to as “opportunity.” This excerpt from the Coalition response makes the most sense for those who don’t know what it’s like to lose a varsity opportunity.

“WITH MORE THAN 50 RECREATION AND CLUB SPORTS, RUTGERS PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PARTICIPATION TO THOUSANDS OF STUDENTS” – COALITION RESPONSE: THE CLUB SPORT COMPARISON

Club status is for recreational athletes, many of whom are novices. It offers informal and infrequent opportunities for training and competition at a level totally different from NCAA Division I competitions. Club status does not confer athletic scholarships, and although the Olympic sports program receives a meager scholarship allotment compared to the spectator sports, athletic scholarships have encouraged and/or enabled some of our top Olympic sport athletes to attend Rutgers. The simple and unassailable fact is that top athletes do not matriculate at a school to be part of a club or recreational program.

Food for thought. The Coalition folks are using something most Title IX reparationists and budget-hackers don’t use — common sense.

Written by Jason Bryant

August 27, 2008 at 1:20 pm

Well, it’s official — Donahoe and G. Scott to the ‘Boro.

Got this release from Edinboro Sports Information Director Bob Shreve today.

Edinboro University wrestling coach Tim Flynn has announced the addition of a pair of transfers to his squad. Paul Donahoe (Davison, MI/Davison), a two-time All-American and a former NCAA champion, has transferred from Nebraska, while Garrett Scott (Alexandria, PA/ Juniata Valley) competed this past year as a freshman at Penn State.

Donahoe must meet NCAA transfer requirements and will not be able to compete until at least the end of the first semester. He has one season of eligibility remaining. He captured the 125 lb. national championship in 2007, upsetting top-ranked Sam Hazewinkel in the finals. Donahoe defeated Hazewinkel, 3-1 in sudden victory to cap a 35-5 campaign, two weeks after dropping a 12-3 major decision to Hazewinkel in the Big 12 Championships 125 lb. title match.

This past year Donahoe earned All-American honors for the second time with a third place finish at 125 lbs. Three wins put him in the semifinals against Minnesota’s Jayson Ness. Ness’ takedown with ten seconds left was good for a 4-3 win, but Donahoe came back with a pair of wins on Saturday. He reached the third place match with a 5-3 decision over Stanford’s Tanner Gardner, then defeated Mark McKnight of Penn State, 6-3, to take home third place.

Donahoe finished the 2007-08 campaign with a 25-4 record, winning the Big 12 Championship. He had a 26-9 record as a sophomore, going 2-2 at Nationals. He departed the Cornhuskers with a career record of 86-18.

Scott is a former three-time PIAA Class AA champion while competing at Juniata Valley High School, compiling a 130-2 career record. He did not lose a match his final three seasons.

A year ago he stepped into the starting lineup at Penn State at 141 lbs. when starter Jake Strayer went down with an injury. He proceeded to finish with a 21-7 record and qualify for Nationals thanks to a seventh place finish at the Big Ten Championships. He was ranked tenth in the USA Today/ NWCA rankings, seventh by Amateur Wrestling News, and fourth by W.I.N. Magazine.

Scott went 3-2 at Nationals, losing by fall to Army’s Matt Kyler in the round of 12, falling one win short of All-American status. That loss was his lone defeat to an unranked wrestler. His most impressive win was a 4-3 decision over Michigan’s Kellen Russell, ranked fourth at the time.

Scott will redshirt in 2008-09 and have three years of eligibility remaining after that.

Without a doubt, this has already created a stir on the forums over on themat.com. I’m wondering how many people will be quick to bash Tim Flynn and the staff at Edinboro over these two incoming recruits. I’m sure folks will take the high-and-mighty road proclaiming the “anything to win,” and start questioning Edinboro’s academic and ethical integrity … whoopdie do. I know plenty of well-educated folks from the land of the Fighting Scots, so that argument (at least with me), is pointless.

Yeah, Donahoe’s actions weren’t exactly what I would classify as tactful </sarcasm>, but other than the snickering and the jokes, does he deserve the NCAA death penalty as a result?

Scott, on the other hand, has had a litany of issues and hopefully Flynn can get his head on straight. It’s time for people to be accountable for their actions. Perhaps Scott needs a change of scenery and a smaller atmosphere where the big-time campus activities are less and the distractions are also less. I’ve been to Edinboro.

For both of them, hopefully Flynn’s room and Baumgartner’s watchful eye can keep them in line … Donahoe’s on short time, while this might be Scott’s last (of many) chances.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out.

Written by Jason Bryant

August 25, 2008 at 3:17 pm

A tale of two blogs

I got into a lengthy and somewhat heated discussion with one of my wrestling friends over the weekend. The topics ranged from media coverage and access, to of all things, blogs.

Well, as I read over a few wrestling-related ones in the past 24 hours, some things are apparent. Lest one be self-serving and repetitive or else don’t think freely. The best wrestling blogs often go unread because they are either too long or don’t have any teeth, meaning, they don’t throw stones. I mean, we’re a society built upon drama, conflict and opinions.

The winning side of yesterday’s debate was the fact that no where else can we find less qualified people spouting off about basically anything they want. Yes, we have the right, and it’s a great one. But take the two stances the following blogs take in the wake of the Olympic Games.

Jim Brown’s View from Section GG, a personal favorite read: Here.
Martin Floreani of Flowrestling had a blog post coming back from China, impressively written with his thumbs in an airport on a blackberry (which honestly, I found pretty amusing). Here.

What’s the difference in the two? As Radio Shack would say, “You’ve got Questions, We’ve got Answers.”

But who has solutions? We have two ideas which are similar, but they’ve got vastly different approaches.

Written by Jason Bryant

August 25, 2008 at 11:04 am

Posted in Blogging

Tagged with ,

What do you really know about Joe Heskett?

A normal Sunday morning troll of my e-mail, I figured, wouldn’t involve much news, that was, until I read a story from the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

All I’ll say is this — if you’re one of those people who won’t read a story because of how long it is, do yourself a favor and snap out of it. Read this story, it’s worth your time and will help you understand some things about an individual who isn’t just a great wrestler, he’s a great human being and role model.

Read Joe Heskett’s story here.

Written by Jason Bryant

August 24, 2008 at 11:05 am

Posted in Good Stuff

Tagged with ,

All moved …

With the Olympics coming to and end overall and wrestling completed a few days ago, I can relax a bit. I can kick back and watch “Best in Show,” and I can start prepping for the upcoming wrestling season.

Oh, I’m officially in Minnesota now, having drove across seven states to arrive on August 21 … my 29th birthday was on Wednesday, so I will remember a 14-hour day as one of the most recent birthday memories.

I’m back to updating the news links feed, but one of which was pretty offensive. It didn’t have a byline, it didn’t have any real merit to it, it just made light of Daniel Cormier’s hospitalization issue.

To read quite possibly the dumbest story from the Olympics, click here.

I’ll be back to talking about wrestling soon, but I think I might check out the Minnesota State Fair today.

Written by Jason Bryant

August 23, 2008 at 12:19 pm

Congrats Randi!

Before I moved to Pennsylvania, Danielle Hobeika and I would routinely have long, sometimes goofy conversations over IM. One night, she was tired and told me to go bother Randi Miller, who was at the time, at Northern Michigan with some online game of MASH or something of the like.

This became an on-going joke as Randi and I would, almost routinely, bother each other around 3:30 or 4 in the morning for no other reason other than we were both awake and incessantly bored.

The typical opening message would resemble something along the lines of “Go to BED!”

Well, first time she signs on getting back to the states, I’m sure I’ll fire that at her, but Randi’s come a long way in a short amount of time to bring Olympic bronze back to the states and her home town of Arlington, Texas — a state where girls wrestling is a sanctioned high school sport.

So congrats Randi! Get some sleep … but live it up.

Written by Jason Bryant

August 17, 2008 at 4:44 am

This is freakin’ great

Nothing on a full blog today, I’ve been pretty active posting on thematforums.com, thewrestlingtalk.com and Flo in regards to international wrestling, alleged corruption in FILA, etc.

Arkansas was the 49th state to add wrestling with a well-documented crusade from Greg Hatcher, the NWCA and several prominent wrestling companies. What’s next? MISS-ISS-IPPI!

Yup, all 50 states have sanctioned wrestling. To those in the man-hating propaganda laden groups that say wrestling’s a dying sport … keep on spinning, because Mississippi’s got wrestling!.

Written by Jason Bryant

August 16, 2008 at 7:24 pm