I am writing this open letter to USA Wrestling due to problems with the non-Olympic wrestling styles world qualification processes. These are situations I have observed or been a part of during the selection of world teams for gi grappling, no-gi grappling, belt wrestling, and beach wrestling.
I believe the cause of these problems is the failure to have a functioning committees to make well thought out decisions in running theses programs and their world team selection or allowance to wrestle if no trials.
Thanks are due to all USA Wrestling staff and workers, both paid and unpaid, for the hard work and often excess amount of work they often do to keep programs functioning. However, I believe this is the major problem: Too few people doing too much, with a failure to have a functioning committee to
offer and make sure good decisions on the various processes and issues that have arisen.
Just because the USA has done well at some world championships at various times does not mean that all is well and that competitors have not been denied due process and fair process in qualifying or participating for world teams.
2016 World team Trials: For some reason the 92kg and 100kg weight classes are combined, and the posted wall bracket sheet is heavily modified with cross outs. No clear explanation is given to the 3 competitors who had to wrestle each other.
I lose 2 matches, receive a silver medal, which I believe was wrong - so I exchanged it for bronze.
On my way home I stop at a library and go on the computer; I see the results posted that I am 2nd at 92kg and Carlos Soto is champion at 100kg. Later Carlos told me has no idea why we had to wrestle, we were not asked, just paired up. He thought I asked for the match, which I didn't.
I should have had a best 2 out of 3 wrestle off with the other wrestler, which I did not get as we only had 1 match. I should not have had to wrestle someone not in my weight before my official trials match which ended the trial prematurely and incorrectly. USAW rep did not appear to see this.
2015 World Team Trials: No wrestle off for gi grappling, as UWW supposedly dropped it. I am 2nd at 92kg no-gi. We leave to competition site and meet several other places for social time.
Rusty Davidson, the head USA referee, later tells me that they will have go grappling at the World Championships in Turkey, and thinks I'm sure to be the selection at 92kg gi. He thinks since I was on the last gi world team at 92kg in 2013, and was 2nd here in no-gi, they will select me.
Rusty thinks that surely they will take the number 2 man in the no-gi trials to represent in gi in Turkey. Rusty was the team leader for our 2013 gi and no-gi world teams. Logic to him and I was you offer the position to the 2nd placer in no-gi to give more people a chance to participate and stop fail to enters.
I had my gi with me just in case UWW changed their minds and there were wrestle offs. Later, the USA wrestling rep tells me that there will be gi at the world championships and the no-gi champion will be offered the gi spot also. I was not given an answer on who made that decision.
I called USA wrestling multiple times, sent emails to multiple USAW staff with cc's that included Rich Bender, and I could never get an answer on who made the decision to offer both gi and no-gi positions to the no gi champ. There was no process given to make a protest.
Running my own wrestling club, being an officer and athlete rep for sombo in both national and world organizations, organizing the USA sombo world cup team multiple years, being a team captain on multiple international teams in sombo and Greco, and coaching my club the multiple
national titles and top 3 places all told me you do not offer positions to people who did not wrestle for them, who wrestle in one style and can say that they do not want to wrestle in the other style for whatever reason.
Of course that is what happened it appears: Getting the on site entries and actual participation numbers - there were only 2 of the 8 mens weights filled by USA grapplers in gi with the USA as 12th of 20 teams. Other than Holt and Beauperthuy who often do gi also, the people who said they would do gi did not according to UWW records. A lot of gi grapplers were cheated out of participating in a world championship.
2014 World Team Trials: Held close to the world championship times. For me and others there was a question of time enough to prepare. The 92kg rep at worlds did not wrestle the senior division, but chose veterans at the last minute at the world championship weigh in I was told.
When it was determined I could go health wise and $ wise, of course, I was given assurance that the trials champ was going and would participate (a half truth I guess). Both myself and another competitor I have met in the finals at other trials were quite disgusted over the opportunity missed.
2015 No World Team Trials:
As a national medalist in several forms of grappling that have a belt as part of the uniform, sombo/judo/gi grappling, I wanted to try my hand at the world championships in Poland. i had wrestled in Poland before and wanted to return.
USAW staff kept putting me off. I talked to the FILA head of belt wrestling who told me USAW was not the governing body for belt wrestling. To shorten the story, I missed the world championships as neither of the USAW staff who I was dealing with contacted me to say I could go in time to make plans.
Trying to go through proper channels with USAW, who acted like they were the governing body, cost me this trip.
2016 Nationals - were these World Team Trials?
I competed in the nationals and placed 2nd at 92kg. There was someone there giving a clinic and overseeing the belt wrestling part of the trials. It appeared that a world team would be organized. However as time passed, I saw nothing in USAW about the world championships or sending a team.
Later USAW had a story how 2 athletes appeared to have gone on their own and competed at the worlds. Of course, one was at my weight who did not compete at 92kg in the nationals.
USAW needs to make it clear if they are the governing body for any or all the belt wrestlings and long in advance whether a team would be set/appointed for worlds. Stan Dziedzic could clarify who is if any is the belt wrestling governing body per UWW and related info.
2015 Nationals but no World Team Trials: Placed 6th at 90kg but the competition was a few weeks before worlds in Romania.
Would have liked to have gone to worlds as I have/had many friends I knew and trained with there.
USAW could have let people know 6 months in advance that they would not send a team and given people time to go on their own.
IMPROVED PROCESSES AND PROBLEMS TO SOLVE WITH USAW HANDLING OF NON-OLYMPIC STYLES
1. There needs to be functioning committees for these particular styles with people who
a. Have some experience in the style in some form
b. Have independent judgement - They will not just let one or two people ramrod a particular agenda or way of thinking that could be logically criticized or rejected
2. The committee members name with contact information needs to be readily available on the USAW website themat.com (FS,GR, LF all have this)
a. The contact people need to be some one or ones that you can actually get a hold of or response from in a timely manner - which has not been the case for issues with the non-Olympic styles
3. There are a published set of rules and procedures if someone does not agree with world team selection criteria or the way criteria is applied or questionable trials procedure
a. It needs to be clear when USAW procedures have been exhausted and a higher power is appealed to: (?) US Olympic Committee, legal courts, etc.
4.USAW needs to clarify that it is following the same types of procedures for all its wrestling type sports world and olympic team trials procedures. USAW predecessor USWF came into being in part to assure fair trials procedures using same style rules, without preference shown
Shaun W Scott
Edited by grsombo1, 28 July 2017 - 10:33 AM.