IHSWCA Members and Wrestling Community:
I believe the time has come for me to address several situations that have occurred over the past few weeks. We have seen blatant weight loss program violations, the integrity of our state tournament put in jeopardy, a weigh-in controversy, and sadly kids being eliminated from our tournament series without an opportunity to compete.
The coaches association sits squarely in the middle of these controversies and we will stay strong and lead through these times. I am disappointed and upset that things have come to this, but I will work and do what I can to make things right. I obviously can make no promises, but we are working with the IHSAA.
Coaches are obligated to help wrestlers develop into outstanding citizens and responsible adults. Winning of course is fun and great, but it is a byproduct of doing things right. I cringe when I hear stories of defaulting matches trying to get a better match-up the next week. We need to be mentors and role models for our wrestlers. Coaches, we must do a better job of following the weight loss program whether we like it or not. We will be working to make the system more user friendly, but we have people who knowingly violate the program.
The situation at the Jay County Regional is unacceptable to me. This event should not have taken place. I will not cast blame because many factors went into the decision. We are working to try to give the student-athletes involved their opportunity. I can make no promises, but I hope a solution can be reached that is fair.
Finally, I have heard and been told the IHSWCA does not care about small schools. I will repeat this until everyone listens and believes. I love wrestling and I care about all schools and wrestlers. I wrestled at Central Noble HS where the largest team we finished with in my four years had nine wrestlers. We won two dual meets in four years! After my junior year, our AD went to the school board and recommended the program be dropped. It was saved with a fight from the community, and I went on to wrestle at Purdue for two years. I came up short on my dream of being a state champion, but wrestling has taught me many lessons that have helped me get to where I am at today.
The wrestling community must stick together stay the course in these tough times. If we ever want to improve our sport through the IHSAA we must conduct ourselves in a professional and ethical manner and stop making decisions that put wrestling in the crosshairs of the governing body.
Head Coach, Center Grove HS