02/12/14 – Wrestling Time Schedule
For nearly a year, the KHSAA staff has been working and preparing for the upcoming state wrestling tournament. After evaluating the last three to four years of tournament schedules and activity, three major problem areas were identified that needed immediate resolution:
- The “break” prior to the last wrestling round had to be eliminated, or certainly minimized. The circus atmosphere that had developed, which some may have viewed as fun, in fact resulted in at least five individuals being hit by thrown objects, including two police officers. Coaches and other adults refused to take charge of the situation, and in fact participated in many cases. And despite having more than double the security staff as had ever been in place in the previous facility, the situation came to a point where the future ability to retain security assistance from trained and sworn police officers was in jeopardy, as well as the future use of this venue. That concern had to be addressed.
- Many senior school administrators expressed concern that the lateness of the conclusion of action on Saturday, especially the last couple of years, put them in a position of having to stay an extra night in hotels, with the necessary supervision and expense logistics. While this may not be an issue for local schools in close proximity to the arena, it is a huge issue to the administrators who fund the housing, bus drivers, and other travel costs for a team that cannot make it back at a reasonable hour on Saturday, and therefore feel compelled to stay an extra night.
- The lateness of that Saturday hour also had another negative impact, although perhaps not as critical as the first two issues. Due to the lateness of the conclusion of wrestling, the students, coaches and everyone else involved with the tournament received much less of the promotion and media coverage that they so richly deserve and for which the staff spends nearly the entire year trying to generate. The lateness also has a profound impact on the ability to alternatively schedule should inclement weather occur, and this is a major concern for winter events.
These concerns were brought forth to a large number of people, including the Wrestling Advisory Committee (a group made up primarily of coaches), individuals from other states, national wrestling experts and many others. In the end, the coaches were steadfast that they desired to adhere to one of the fundamental principles from which the tournament schedule has always been drafted, allowing the coaches to not have to cover multiple mats during the medal rounds.
With that feedback, staff developed a revised schedule for 2014 that would have ensured the coaches covering only one mat during the medal round, but a schedule that would have combined the medal matches into a single round, and would have specifically addressed the three identified problem areas.
Once that information was finalized and produced in preparation for the state tournament, the members of the Advisory Committee received considerable feedback from the wrestling community asking that this decision be reconsidered. Committee members concurred with the need for immediate further revision to the schedule, even if it meant the coaches having to “double up” on simultaneous matches during the medal round.
Based on this request from the committee members to create a schedule where coaches might have wrestlers involved in matches on multiple mats during the medal round, staff has revised the planned schedule for the 2014 event in an effort to be responsive to the committee’s requests. The members of the committee also asked for an opportunity to emphasize to their traveling school parties about the need for a change in conduct. The schedule change however is for the 2014 tournament only, and the future schedule will be predicated on the ability of the three identified problem areas to be addressed within the schedule. Coaches and all adult attendees must insist that the conduct within the arena be controlled, respectable and befitting of the fine traditions of this great sport. Security will be directed to have a no-nonsense attitude about individuals throwing objects or inciting fans into negative and perhaps injurious behavior within the arena, and violators will be escorted out of the building. The schedule and adherence to the schedule will be closely monitored to determine any future enhancements or revisions. Suffice it to say that repeats of the identified problem areas again in 2014 will result in substantial changes for future years.
It is hoped by both the staff and the members of the committee that the problem areas can be addressed within the wrestling community and that the tournament can continue its growth and development for all involved.
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