The New Rules on Weight Certifications: The Aftermath!

Bloged in Body of a Champion by John Rizzuti Tuesday November 7, 2006

By Brendon Lowe
ITW Strength and Conditioning Columnist

Warning: Wrestlers mentioned will remain nameless for confidentiality purposes.

Two months ago I told all the opponents of the weight certifications to wait it out and give them a try before they started complaining about the rule changes. Now that the official weight certifications are complete, let the criticisms roll, because I’m right there with you on a few points.

Who is to blame for the catastrophe known as the ’06 wrestling certifications? I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the University Interscholastic League (UIL). How can the governing body of Texas high school athletics wait till the last minute to throw something together when so much is at stake? Isn’t the whole point of the weight certifications to protect the health of our wrestlers? The lack of planning on the part of the UIL lead to some of the most heinous weight cutting that I’ve seen in a long time.

What have we achieved through the first season of weight certifications? Forrest Gump might say that the wrestling certifications where “like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”. You open the box and see delicately prepared chocolates presented in such a way that made you feel that everything’s all right. Unbeknownst to you that box of chocolates is a box of chocolate-coated dog crap.

The certifications where a great idea and the methods for certifying, in my professional opinion are the most accurate and safest methods to use. How can you screw that up? When you wait till 2-3 months before certifications begin, it’s kind of hard to make everything right. This wasn’t a slumber party where you invite your friends over a week in advance. This was supposed to be an official process to ensure the safety and health of the wrestling community in Texas.

The DFW certifications where accompanied with controversy and pissed off wrestlers, coaches, and parents. Wrestlers where not educated on the process to be used. Is that their fault? Is it their coach’s fault? Is it their parent’s fault? No, because no one knew what was going to happen until August when the UIL finally decided what would happen. Of course, all you had to do was read my August article that went step by step through the certification process.

You may be asking why I’m so pissed at the UIL. That’s because if they had taken the time to organize and plan then the certifications would have been a smashing success. Instead they threw together a half-assed attempt to comply with the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

I would like to commend the assessors for stepping up and putting in the extra work, especially during the football season when they’re already working about 70 hours per week. They had to put up with many wrestlers and coaches whining about things that the assessors had no control over. My first beef, however, is with them. There was absolutely no consistency amongst the assessors testing body fat.

It seems that some of the assessors felt bad for the wrestlers and figured that they where helping them out by pinching not only fat, but also muscle with the calipers. This was to such a degree that many wrestlers had bruises the next day on their triceps and shoulder-blade pinch sites.

Prior to the certifications I tested many wrestlers’ body fat to determine where they may certify. I feel bad for those wrestlers that came to Intensity Wrestling and Sports Performance for weight consultations, because every single one of them certified with a body fat percentage that was around 6% higher than what I tested them at. Call me conceited, but my measurements where correct. Seriously, how does a kid that struggles to break 100 pounds at 5’ 6” test out with 14% body fat? One of the wrestlers that I tested had a difference of 10% higher compared to my results!

Some of the “stingy” assessors where pulling the right body fat, but how is that fair to those wrestlers? If you test one portion of the kids with high percentages, then you MUST test the other portion the same. There was no consistency when it came to body fat analysis.

The other blunder by the UIL was not planning for cheaters. When a state championship is on the line, there will be cheaters who work the system. In the DFW area, there were rumors running rampant. They started at the first site, Arlington Bowie. The assessors claim that dipping of cups into the toilet (and I know all you wrestlers are familiar with what I’m talking about) was not a problem until the Fossil Ridge site, but that’s a gross misstatement.

The word soon spread that, “if you dehydrated yourself to make weight then dip your cup and mix it with some of your urine to pass the hydration test. The testers don’t watch.” This simple technique for all of those who cheated negated the validity of the whole process.

One specific wrestler that I know of has really shown the folly of the UIL this season. When I saw him this summer he was around 127 pounds. Virtually no fat could be seen on this kid. He decided that he wanted to certify to wrestle at 103 this year, which is ridiculous! Sure enough, that same wrestler weighed under 103 for his certifications and his father was later reported to be bragging about how his son lost 30 pounds to certify at 103!

Now, I was not in the bathroom stall while this young man was peeing in his cup, but my question is how can someone weighing 130 lose 30 pounds in about two months without dehydrating and abusing diet pills? I know, if you cut off one of his legs he could, but trust me that kid is still walking around on two legs.

The weight certifications have proven to be a big waste of time and money this season. The UIL has solved absolutely nothing and has given Texas wrestlers yet another season to continue using unhealthy weight-loss methods. I beg, please UIL, learn from your mistake and utilize this system for the good that it was intended.

One Response to “The New Rules on Weight Certifications: The Aftermath!”

  1. fvondra Says:

    You are correct in this observation. I know a few very good wrestlers who were punished by this testing and it will take a few weeks for them to recover. The body fat test was ridulous in some cases. This system was poorly planned and executed by the UIL.

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