What happened at MSU wrestling’s Sunday afternoon dual against No. 6 Ohio State exposed a flaw in the NCAA rules regarding unsportsmanlike conduct.
For those who don’t know, senior 125-pounder Eric Olanowski was disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct and penalized further for what appeared to be a statement made to the referee and throwing down his headgear down in frustration. The initial infraction awarded Ohio State six team points while the last two deducted two points from MSU’s team score, making for a grand total eight point swing in Ohio State’s favor.
However, it’s the last two violations that I have issue with. In all my time spent around sports, this is the first I’ve seen points taken off the board as a because of a penalty that wasn’t somehow related to the points being scored. It would be like taking away a home run because five minutes later the manager gets tossed for arguing a call.
Admittedly, wrestling is a different breed, and individual performances play a bigger role in wrestling than in most sports. But for Olanowski’s minute of frustration to take away from the prior wins of his teammates seems wrong to me.
Olanowski’s actions now overshadow a brilliant performance by his teammates and literally take away from their own personal accomplishments. The Spartans wrestled harder than they have all season, and that should be the story coming from MSU’s final home dual.
So why does his moment of passion trump the hard fought battles of his teammates when it comes to scoring?