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Five Thoughts on the Controversy of the Fix-Suriano NCAA Final

Thoughts on the headgear grab, the stalemate, and the review process



The Cowboys finished third place behind Penn State and Ohio State and ahead of Iowa at the NCAA tournament for the 14th time in program history. But the obvious match of the evening was Daton Fix losing to Nick Suriano of Rutgers in the finals. Here are a few thoughts on the wild controversy that unfolded in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

1. Suriano definitely grabbed Daton Fix’s headgear: Let’s be real about it. This is a pro-OSU blog. A person with no orange-colored glasses on would look at it and see that there was definitely a grab of the headgear that should’ve given Daton 1 point and the match.

I can’t decide what happened on the review. During the broadcast of another match early in the tournament they said that the ESPN view was not the same review angle the officials had. I don’t know if it was the same for the finals. Maybe they were looking from some different angle during their review that didn’t clearly show it? Or maybe they just didn’t want to own up to the mistake? I don’t know how this could not be seen as grabbing the headgear in a video review.

To add to the Big 10/Penn State conspiracy theories on this. Penn State challenged a review of a headgear pull in the NCAA tournament a few years ago that essentially gave Mark Hall his only NCAA tournament win over Zahid Valencia and his only NCAA tournament title. The action below is what was reviewed, assessed as a penalty point to Valencia, and took away his takedown.

Valencial Headgear.gif

2. Hopefully this helps get the review process changed: The weird thing about these challenges is the same ref that makes the call is the same one that reviews the video. Inherently as people it’s hard to admit when we’re wrong. My wife tells me I’m wrong all the time, she’s right some of the time. I still don’t like to admit it, and some of the time it’s really black and white that I made a mistake.

These refs don’t like when a coach tries to point out that they were wrong and don’t want to admit it. That’s a systematic problem. There should be review officials that are not involved in the match that review these calls and challenges. Especially in big matches like the NCAA finals.

3. Fix still should’ve wrestled though it: The call was bad and I get why he would have the reaction he had. His headgear was pulled for a few seconds and they weren’t calling it. His natural reaction was to make the refs aware. That ultimately opened him up to give up the take down. There’s no doubt Fix realizes that and is probably more frustrated with it than anyone or anything in the match. Ultimately he should’ve just wrestled through what was a really bad call, and he probably could’ve defended the shot and continued on in the match.

4. The stalemate during the ride-outs was an even worse call: I’ve never seen a stalemate called in that scenario. At that point it’s literally ride outs to win. They’re not trying to turn and get back points or anything of that nature. They just have to try and ride each other out. I really have no idea why they called that a stalemate and restarted them when Daton got his legs in. It even still looked like he was working toward a turn when they called it.

I could maybe understand it mid-match but never in a ride-out scenario. Sam Hazewinkel is an Olympian who wrestled at the schools biggest rival OU. He even saw it that way.

5. The OSU wrestling Twitter just trolled everyone with this highlight video and it’s awesome: I couldn’t love this subtle jab by the OSU wrestling Twitter account more. A highlight video showing the clear headgear pull followed by John Smith staring dead into the camera is one of the most baller moves I’ve ever seen by an athletic department social media account.

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