The IHSWCA's timeline for extending bids to Indiana wrestling teams was planned for March 15. Last week, the IHSAA decided to throw a curve ball at the association and withdraw their prior blessing to allow the IHSWCA to utilize an "additional weigh-in" for this event. IHSWCA officers, regional reps and the event selection committee met this past Saturday evening in Indianapolis to address this issue and make decisions surrounding the event. We did decide that the IHSWCA will push forward and support our Classed Team State Duals project. Contact has been made with those schools who have already "locked" a position in the event.
Our thought was to contact the "locked" teams to 1) extend them their official bid into the event and 2) see if they are willing and able to adjust their schedule to participate in the event next season. So far, I have heard back from 9 of the 19 teams contacted and all but 1 have eagerly accepted their position and are willing to adjust their schedule in order to participate in this event. I expect to hear from the other schools over the next few days regarding their decision.
The IHSWCA would like to apologize to those schools/teams who are on the bubble for a bid. Our plan is to finalize the remaining wild card teams by our spring clinic which falls on April 20. This will give us time to 1) receive the responses from the "locked" teams, 2) identify any additional wild card positions that may open up and 3) meet again as a committee to finalize the remaining bid offers. Again, we apologize for this inconvenience, but some of this has been placed out of our control by the IHSAA.
I have a number of e-mail correspondence between the IHSWCA and the IHSAA over the past couple of weeks. The best way to convey what has transpired during this time frame is to simply share with you the final few e-mails that took place between Bobby Cox and I. I have included those e-mails below, so those people throughout the wrestling community can evaluate the situation for themselves and weigh in on the situation. Start from the bottom and work your way up.
I have ready your plea and I have not changed my position. I have no doubt that the IHSWCA will move forward with this event and IHSAA member schools will make programmatic decisions as to the events they choose to participate in. Providing an exemption to the sport of wrestling in this matter is problematic and as I stated earlier, I will not support.
Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc.
From: McCormick, Trent [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 9:53 AM
To: Bobby Cox
Cc: Robert Faulkens; email@example.com; ExecStaff; firstname.lastname@example.org; 'Cale Hoover'; Danny Struck; Trent Staggs; 'email@example.com
Subject: RE: IHSWCA Team State Duals Event
I have received your response below, and I have some concerns. We (the IHSWCA) began planning our Team State Duals event last fall after our officers met with Assistant Commissioner Faulkens in Indianapolis. At that meeting the IHSAA Assistant Commissioner over wrestling gave us the IHSAA’s blessing to move forward with a very positive project for Indiana high school wrestling. There has been a tremendous amount of excitement generated around this event across the state, and we have continued working hard on this event over the past six months based on Mr. Faulkens’ directive that we could utilize 1 additional weigh-in for the teams participating in this event. Our IHSWCA officers and regional representatives from all over the state have met on numerous occasions in Indianapolis and Columbus in planning for this tournament. We are at the point now of sending final invitations to the qualifying teams and selecting a facility. I sent bid packets out several weeks ago to high schools in the Indianapolis area as well as one university that requested a facility bid packet for this event.
I would also like to point out your quote from an IHSAA press release that was printed in a number of newspapers across the state this past November:
Taken from November, 2011 IHSAA Press Release -- “The Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association (IHSWCA) has expressed interest among their membership to sponsor a dual meet tournament in January. This opening will allow the coaches association to garner much needed revenue in their efforts to promote the sport, provide recognition to student-athletes and further professionalize their ranks through clinics and other educational opportunities. Executed properly the decision will prove to be a win-win for Indiana high school wrestling and the over 8,000 youngsters that participate in the sport.” --- From Bobby Cox
Approximately six weeks ago, I e-mailed Mr. Faulkens regarding our duals event to keep your office in the loop with our progress, and I attached our event flyer for his review. I did not receive any alternative directives from this correspondence, so we have continued to operate under the premise that our event could move forward with the additional weigh-in. We have been transparent and forth-right in our communications with your office regarding this event at all times. If the IHSAA had concerns with granting an additional weigh-in, why wouldn’t Mr. Faulkens, or someone from your office, have responded to my earlier e-mail? Why have you waited until now to question our plans for this very positive event?
With regard to your position on regular season contests, we are merely adding three dual meets for 24 schools across the state. I will again attach our event flyer for your review. This is the same document that I sent Mr. Faulkens roughly six weeks ago.
Additional items to note:
• There are many coaches, wrestlers, schools and fans across our state that enjoy the dual meet championship atmosphere. Many people are looking forward to our planned IHSWCA Team Duals Championship event slated for next season. The excitement grew even more after wrestling fans across the state read your November press release.
• One of our coaches’ survey questions at the 2011-12 sectional sites across the state asked, “if you were to be invited to the IHSWCA Team State Duals Championships, would you bring your team?” ----- 91% of the coaches responded that “yes, I would bring my team to this event.”
• We have selected December 22, 2012 for this event as that date is “clear” for most every wrestling program in the state due to how the calendar falls next season.
• We have also included a component where small, medium and large school wrestling teams alike can showcase their skills and have their team in the spot light.
• You will also find in the event document that we have guaranteed representation across the state, so every semi-state will be represented by at least one team. Again, we have put a lot of thought and planning into the design of this tournament.
• The IHSWCA has gladly done all of the work to this point and will run the actual event as well. We are not asking to place any further burden on the IHSAA other than to grant 24 teams 1 additional weigh-in for this event.
In closing, I implore you, Mr. Cox, to reconsider your position on the additional weigh-in for the teams participating in this event. We (the IHSWCA) would not have put all of the weeks and months of work into planning this event if not for the blessing that your Assistant Commissioner over wrestling gave our officers last fall coupled with your press release last November. Again, I would ask you to reconsider your position on this matter given the circumstances.
Yorktown High School
Center Grove High School
IHSWCA Past President
Jeffersonville High School
Martinsville High School
From: Bobby Cox [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2012 2:15 PM
To: McCormick, Trent
Cc: Robert Faulkens; email@example.com; ExecStaff
Subject: IHSWCA Team State Duals Event
I am in receipt of your message to Assistant Commissioner Robert Faulkens regarding the potential IHSWCA team state duals event. I appreciate the IHSWCA and their efforts in providing this opportunity for Indiana schools that choose to participate in the event. My sense is that the IHSAA Executive Committee also supports your efforts and wishes you every success. Having said that I will not support nor will I encourage our Executive Committee to exempt this event from the normal computation of wrestling events for a season.
Quite honestly, I believe many of our sports have too many regular season contests. Additionally, I cannot be responsible for decisions made in other sports decades ago, as you reference in your Hall of Fame example for basketball. I am certainly not comfortable granting such an exceptions for all sports and should I allow this in wrestling, it is my sense that other sports would be lining up for similar consideration for whatever causes they feel worthy. It is simply something I will not support.
Indiana High School Athletic Association, Inc.