Greetings. I would like to say a few words about the proposal to change the nature of the Team Championships.
For the sake of everyone's time, I will forego a long preamble. I am not a college coach, but my life is as much entwined with wrestling as many of yours, and these proceedings affect me greatly. In addition, I have no professional risk in speaking my mind, and I am no one's rival here. I speak only for myself, but many conversations give me confidence that my views are shared by many here.
Never mind the quality of this proposal. I have serious doubts as to whether the outcome will be good, but I could be wrong. I don't actually know what will happen if the proposed changes are enacted. Of course, neither do the proponents of the plan.
I want to address the manner in which this has been handled.
There is a reason things like Robert's Rules of Order exist. They are born of hundreds of years of yelling and brawling in town halls and churches. Organizations follow procedures not only to avoid impropriety, but to avoid the *appearance* of impropriety; and in doing this, foster trust and allow people of different views to work productively together.
Mike Moyer has complained about allegations of "unethical and dishonest conduct by the NWCA as it relates to the National Duals initiative." Pat Tocci has complained about rumors and misinformation.
Well, let's consider why.
At present, the NWCA website *still* makes no mention of the proposed change. A video, described as a "Promotional piece outlining key reasons to attend 2012 NWCA Convention" does not hint at it.
We are told that, "Several emails were sent to each college coach telling them this was going to be a major discussion topic at the convention." So far as I have been able to discover, the relevant content has consisted of two bullet points:
2. Discuss the implicatons if the NCAA sanctions a DI National Dual Meet Championship.
1. Final opportunity to discuss the National Duals plan that will go before the NCAA Championship Cabinet in September
Neither of these come close to communicating the substance of the topic.
At the conference itself, the question actually put up for an informal poll was, "Who is in favor of the national duals?" That any answer to such a question was taken as an endorsement of such a fundamental change to nationals is so astonishing that I had to confirm it with a representative of the NWCA itself.
No forum for debate was given at the meeting, as is customary in any proceeding where legislation needs the approval (formal or informal) of membership.
The text of the proposal itself did not go out until August 28th - 7 days after Kerry McCoy started the email debate on the topic, and not two weeks before the Committee vote, intended to be taken with no further input from the coaches.
The email ballot which finally went out read, "Do you support the NCAA Division I National Duals Proposal?" While this, at least, directly addresses the question, it continues the pattern of the email notifications: conveying the least possible information as to what the thing was actually about.
It was announced that Mike Moyer *would* tell the NCAA Committee that the organization wished to table the issue; then, a last-minute vote was orchestrated.
Let me be frank: this looks as if information was withheld, deceptive words were used, an effort to avoid debate was made, and a last-minute vote contrived in order to push though a proposal which might not pass under full scrutiny. At this point, the NCWA looks terrible. In fact, you look dishonest. You may well not *be* dishonest; it is quite possible that the complete lack of formal procedure in any of this resulted in mistakes and the appearance of deception where none was intended. Nonetheless, there is widespread anger and distrust over this.
This is not the kind of leadership our sport needs. We need the NWCA to unite our small community, and build consensus.
Rob Koll has said a number of wise things, through this. Here are two of them:
"I sincerely believe this discussion will ultimately help unify and grow our organization."
Indeed, ultimately it will, if allowed to continue. The proposal may be a good one. To push this legislation through now, however, would be to sow discord for years to come, and seriously compromise the NWCA's ability to lead.
"It is apparent that we have far too many concerns to move forward at this time. I voiced my opinion to Mike Moyer and he also agrees that we need to put the brakes on until we have a greater consensus amongst all coaches."
Also true. While the barest majority was obtained through the vote, there is clearly no consensus. The membership was not consulted as to whether a vote should be taken, or debate allowed to continue.
Clearly the NWCA believes that the proposed change will be good for wrestling, though they give the disquieting sense that working out the details later will be adequate. What they have to decide now is whether they are an organization of principle, accountable to their membership for holding fair proceedings, or whether the end justifies the means.
There can be no question that, although "This has been discussed and looked at for a few years now," it caught a great many people off-guard. Despite the objections listed above, it may well be that the coaches bear some blame in this as well, as I have heard suggested. Be that as it may, it is a deeply undesireable state of affairs for anyone interested in fair proceedings.
At this point, there can be no question that the business has the full attention of the Division I coaches, and is becoming known to the wrestling public. In a year's time, a great deal more will have been said.
Opponents of the plan will have had adequate time to form their arguments, and proponents will have made proper responses.
Will be made which may cause people on one side or the other to change their minds, and suggestions made which could strengthen or even replace the proposal.
Coaches will talk to their fans about the idea, and have a better sense of what the public wants.
At the convention next year, there could be proper debate on a proposal which actually exists, and is in the hands of those concerned.
And finally, a vote held next year, under procedures understood to everyone, would carry with it the kind of mandate which the NWCA desires. Instead of seeming to push a fractured and unwilling community to support what has been the NWCA's own tournament, the NWCA would retain the moral authority required for leadership... no matter what the outcome of the vote.
Against this, we are told that:
"It is the NCAA Wrestling Committees opinion that tabling this proposal will in all likelihood kill this legislation for the foreseeable future." No reason why that would be the case is given. Likewise, it has been said that if the idea doesn't work out, we can switch back; yet if changing over is so very hard that we have only this one moment to do it, the notion that we could simply change back again certainly bears more explanation. Again, we have a failure to communicate.
This is no way to make a hundred-year change in our sport. Integrity is not something we should expect others to assume we have, but something we continually demonstrate, such that there can be no question.
This is an opportunity for our leaders to do just that. Tell the Committee we should table this proposal.
Yours in wrestling -