Sunday, February 22, 2009

Indiana High School Wrestling

Once again another season of high school wrestling has come to an end.

Sad really as it's one of few sports in my opinion that can take on basketball--but don't get me wrong, I love basketball too. It's just that in wrestling, like swimming, track, tennis and golf, it's one of the few sports where your team may lose, but if you win, you go away with at least a degree of satisfaction. Nevermind good teamwork for once.

The only problem I can see with wrestling is in Indiana.

Oh the wrestling is excellent and top-notch, but there's only one class. The state needs at least two and possibly three classes like in the neighboring states. The reason for that is pretty obvious--money, but for some reason the powers that be that run the Indiana High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) don't see it that way and they've never seen a dollar sign they didn't like.

That was evident when they made class basketball a decade ago. It backfired in their face, but they would never admit that. Same here. I've been given the same lines "well it's great there is only one champion. Makes us better than Iowa."

Not quite.

Now I don't want to get into a discussion of who's better (we already know it's Iowa), but even that grand state has three classes for the masses. And they make more money at it and in the long run there's more collegiate wrestlers in Iowa than Indiana as a result.

Colleges look at two, three and four time state champions more than a one-timer and in Indiana, it's rare to win more than two or three times. Sure it happens, but a three-time champ lost last night in the semis. A couple of kids could have been champion had there been class wrestling and what's so wrong about that? Not only would a little extra pride in a community reeling under a current deficit be great, but don't you think that would help out everyone involved--wrestler, coach, parents, students, school, community?

Class wrestling has many benefits and can only lead to more exposure for all (see the above paragraph) not to mention the fan base would grow and reach into their pockets.

And maybe then you can compete with Iowa.

Is the IHSAA listening?

Probably not and for that reason unfortunately, wrestling will always be a side-show for Hoosiers when it deserves better.

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