Skip to comments.Wrestling parents say Tech misled
Posted on 05/19/2006 11:22:06 AM PDT by Mr. Blonde
Parents of the five Virginia Tech wrestlers who plan to follow former coach Tom Brands to Iowa say Tech athletic director Jim Weaver's decision to deny their sons immediate transfer releases flies in the face of a promise he made during the recruiting process.
Brent Metcalf, Joe Slaton, Dan LeClere, Jay Borschel and T.H. Leet -- all of whom redshirted as freshmen last season -- plan to enroll at Iowa but will lose a year of NCAA eligibility unless Virginia Tech releases them from their scholarship obligations.
The fathers of Iowa natives Slaton, LeClere and Borschel said Weaver promised to do just that when they met with him in his office in fall 2004. Brands, a former Olympic champion, was the sole reason the five touted recruits were considering the Hokies and their families wondered what would happen if he left for another coaching job.
"It was clear what [Weaver] told us," Jim Borschel said. "He said 'We have a practice of releasing any athlete at any time for any reason.'"
Brands left Virginia Tech last month after two seasons and Weaver, who declined to comment for this story, announced the Hokies would not grant transfer releases until after next season.
A three-person university panel upheld that decision in an appeals hearing last week.
Lynn Metcalf, Brent's mother, said Brands promised a release in writing, but Jon Jaudon, the Virginia Tech associate AD who oversees the wrestling program, said that was "absolutely not" an official document.
"I would characterize it as a scribbled note, to be honest with you," Jaudon said. "That wasn't the assertion that the athletic department made. That was an assertion that they claim Coach Brands made to them. Coach Brands was acting outside the scope of his job description with that claim. ...
"We've completely lived up to our end of the bargain."
Tech offered to release the wrestlers if they agreed to transfer somewhere other than Iowa, the parents said.
"We feel like they have a problem with Tom and they're taking it out on our 19-year-old sons," said Matt Shaver, Slaton's father.
The parents said they will consider legal action against Tech if university president Charles Steger does not overrule Weaver and the panel.
"Had we not been promised this, we wouldn't be saying anything," Lynn Metcalf said. "We're not whiners."
Former Hokies wrestler John Laboranti, now taking summer classes at Penn State, said Virginia Tech released him from his scholarship in January after he left the team during the season.
Mark Logan, who redshirted as a freshman last season, left Virginia Tech for reasons unrelated to wrestling, said Kevin Dresser, the Hokies' new coach.
"I don't think he needed a release," Dresser said, noting that Logan only received scholarship aid to cover the cost of his books. "I think his situation was quite a bit different ... than these guys."
Dresser also said that Mike Faust, a senior All-American last season for Tech, decided to train full-time at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., instead of helping to coach the Hokies as a graduate student.
Why any kid from Iowa would choose Virg Tech to wrestle is beyond me. I was stunned to see Zalesky leave Iowa after his release. Hell, the guy coached 3 NCAA championship teams in 11 years, but that is not good enough for Iowa.
Incidentally, Iowa is going to be in real competition with Iowa State now that Cael Sanderson is the new head coach--my prediction heard here first.
This had bad news written all over it. I know several people involved (from the Iowa perspective) and I'm actually surprised Brand decided to move because of the commitments of the wrestlers to VT. In the long run, it's good for Iowa wrestling (especially with Gable coming back short-term), but I feel bad for VT.
The only reason they went there is because of Brands. I remain skeptical of how good of a coach he is. But now with Dan Gable being his assistant I think he will be Head Coach in name only.
I want to know what will happen if Brands doesn't immediately start winning national titles. Having to finish better than just top five every year is a lot of pressure.
It may be first on FR, but I think this has been common knowledge in the wrestling world for a while. What a quick coaching maelstrom took place there with everyone panicking to get who they wanted. ISU was NOT going to lose Cael to Iowa (I don't know how realistic that scenario was, but it got things moving).
Well they were worried of making the same mistake as they did with Gable.
I disagree. Tom Brands is for real. Gable coached him and was able to not only turn him into a great wrestler, but taught him how to inspire others, er rather, squeeze every ounce of aggression and drive out of them.
Just as a side, we all know where the real wrestling mecca is, right?? For the record, that would be two states south to Okie State.
From my information, Brands was the reason that the really good wrestlers (all things being relative) chose VT. My nephew's best friend waited before committing to VT because of the questions and now he's headed to Iowa.
Absolutely. But I really thought they made a good decision when they brought in Douglas. Didn't work out as well as expected.
Douglas was a great coach, but maybe not the best recruiter in every case. Let us not forget, he coached Cael to the highest achievement ever in NCAA wrestling. What was Cael's record?? 159-0 in 4 years including OW at 4 NCAAs.
So that would be Mexico???? Oh, you must mean that state north of Texas and 2 states south of Iowa. The one that took an Iowa person as their football coach (OK, literally).