Confused by Wisconsin’s decision to cancel Sunday’s wrestling match
Badgers cancel despite Iowa being medically cleared to compete after COVID-19 pause
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Normally, I wouldn’t question a decision that was made out of an abundance of caution, but will make this one exception.
I’m not necessarily criticizing the decision by the Wisconsin medical staff to cancel Sunday’s wrestling match between the Badgers and top-ranked Iowa.
I’m just confused.
The decision to cancel was reportedly made out of an abundance of caution, and yet, the Iowa medical staff has cleared the Iowa wrestling team to compete.
Iowa had been on a two-week pause due to positive COVID-19 tests within the program, including head coach Tom Brands.
“The University of Iowa medical staff, using Big Ten and institutional guidelines, has cleared the Iowa wrestling team to return to competition,” Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta said in a release. “Coach Brands and his team returned to full in-person activities Thursday. We are disappointed in the decision to cancel Sunday’s dual.”
Tom Brands made it clear in a statement that his team has met the requirements from a medical standpoint.
“Our medical team did their job to the nth degree,” Brands said. “We have been diligent. We have followed protocol. We have the green light to compete from our medical professionals and per Big Ten Conference protocol.”
It’s just odd that Iowa’s medical staff believes it’s safe to compete, while Wisconsin’s medical staff doesn’t believe it’s safe.
How can there be a difference of opinion about guidelines and protocol that is followed by all of the Big Ten teams?
What is it specifically that is a concern to the Wisconsin medical staff?
And what would stop other teams from cancelling under similar circumstances?
Those are just three questions that come to mind.
The Big Ten announced the cancellation Friday evening, with Wisconsin saying in a statement its medical staff had canceled the meet “due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19.”
The meet was to be the last of the regular season for the top-ranked Hawkeyes, who had been fully cleared Thursday to return to competition after missing two duals and dealing with a week-long pause in in-person team activities because of positive COVID-19 tests within the Iowa program.
With the cancellation, Iowa finishes the regular season with a 5-0 dual record, and had four of its scheduled duals canceled because of coronavirus-related issues.
To lose nearly half of your regular season would be tough under any circumstance.
But Iowa is ranked No. 1 and considered the favorite to win the 2021 national title.
Iowa was also considered the favorite to win the 2020 national title before the NCAA Championships were cancelled last March due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Iowa has been dominant for much of the season, and would’ve been a heavy favorite to win Sunday’s match against the 1-6 Badgers.
Again, I’m not criticizing Wisconsin’s decision to cancel the meet because safety always should come first.
I’m just confused by the lack of consistency, and wonder how and why two medical staffs can view a COVID-19 health-related matter so differently.