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Another PR blunder for IHSAA on state wrestling duals

January 29, 2013 - Troy Banning
Iowa High School Athletic Association, you’ve got some explaining to do.

In a story filed Tuesday, Des Moines Register wrestling beat writer Andy Hamilton – a Northeast Hamilton graduation, by the way – says the IHSAA sent out a memo last week to teams that will compete in the regional duals, telling them that they are expected to use “regular varsity wrestlers … except in the case of injury, illness or ineligibility declarations.”

Essentially, the IHSAA is threatening sanctions on those programs that qualify for the state duals and then use junior varsity wrestlers once the competition begins.

This stems from last year’s state duals – the first of a two-year “experiment” where the tournament was held the day before the start of the traditional state tournament.

I’m sure you remember ... coaches screamed foul because of the added strain on wrestlers that qualified for both. Southeast Polk, the overwhelming favorite to win the Class 3A dual title, sat all 10 of its traditional state qualifiers and went 0-3. West Des Moines Valley advanced to the state dual finals and then sent its individual qualifiers home before the championship round.

Long story short, the state duals were a public relations disaster.

And yet the IHSAA has only increased that PR nightmare with this memo.

The majority of wrestlers, coaches and fans raised holy heck when the state duals were moved – the tournament was held the weekend after the traditional state tournament for years – and this latest development will only add to the outrage.

Does the IHSAA really want to step in and tell coaches who they should and should not wrestle? Is that how deep the state’s governing body wants to micro manage this situation?

The IHSAA has no business stepping into any team’s decision-making process. It is only adding to its own PR headache if it does so.


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