A dispute at a Jan. 22 match has resulted in North Idaho College standout wrestler Deondre Wilson and coach Pat Whitcomb serving a belated suspension that will keep both out of the national tournament.
Whitcomb said Wilson “made a mistake” for his involvement in a post-match altercation with his Southwestern Oregon opponent, but the coach was told by the official that Wilson received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and not a flagrant ejection, which would have called for the loss of six team points, the wrestler’s ejection from the gym and a two-match suspension.
Wilson was recorded as the winner 9-3 in the scorebook and in the official results at trackwrestling.com, Whitcomb said. Whitcomb sat Wilson for the unsportsmanlike penalty for his next match versus Clackamas on Jan. 23. Wilson returned for the Clackamas Open the following day, a tournament that included Southwestern Oregon.
“All of sudden, 10 days later we hear rumblings of this (flagrant ejection),” Whitcomb said.
NIC athletic director Al Williams said if a flagrant ejection is called, the school should have been notified by the host school A.D. within 24 hours, or in this case by the next business day of Monday, three days after the Jan. 22 match. Williams didn’t receive hear from Southwestern Oregon’s A.D. until Monday, Feb. 1.
“He sent me his report and it didn’t specify it was a flagrant ejection,” Williams said. “On Tuesday, the next day, he basically said I guess I should have made it a flagrant.”
Had NIC been made aware of the change in a timely fashion, Williams said Wilson could have sat out consecutive matches and still had a chance to compete at regionals last weekend.
“There were so many things that could have happened that could have prevented it, all it would have taken is a call by one coach or Southwestern Oregon’s A.D. or the official before it got to this level,” Williams said. “Not one thing was mentioned to Pat at the Clackamas Open.”
NIC’s appeal to the NJCAA was denied.
Williams noted that because Wilson didn’t serve his two-match suspension in consecutive matches, NJCAA rules require a two-match suspension of the coach.
Wilson tore his ACL last year just before the regional tournament. He was one of the top-rated wrestlers in his weight class this season.
“It’s unfortunate for the kid,” Whitcomb said. “I’m going to coach in other national tournaments and we’re going to compete for other national titles.”
NIC canceled a Jan. 27 match against Simon Fraser and didn’t participate in the Apodaca Duels in Powell, Wyoming, on Jan. 29-30 – its last event before regionals – because of injuries. The Cardinals have been injury riddled over the second half of the season.
Only six Cardinals wrestled at regionals and two qualified for nationals. Whitcomb said the Cardinals are in good hands at nationals with assistant coaches Keri Stanley and Tyson Springer.
“It’s been one of those years,” Whitcomb said. “It’s like what else could go wrong.”
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