West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Wrestling and the Integrity of Officials

Did you know that the "referee" is a human being?

It seems that every year I have to listen to perennial complaints about the officials. They call stalling too slow or they give takedowns too fast. And on and on!

How can I get it across to wrestling enthusiasts--the referee is a fallible creation like you or me. Therefore, he is occasionally subject to questionable judgment.

True, as a coach, I've often been dissatisfied with an official's opinion, but then, I'm not very bipartisan during a match. However, given time to calm down and evaluate, I finally arrive at the realization that the "ref"--right or wrong--is trying to do the best job he can.

Yours truly becomes very disturbed when told an official deliberately "cheat." I can not believe that a referee or official in any sport would knowningly plan to be unfair to an athlete or team. In my 40 years as a participant, coach and referee, not once did I feel the referee intentionally erred during a meet.

Believe me, if there were "instant replays" in wrestling to study officials' calls, a lot more fans and coaches who complain about officiating calls would be served "crow" for supper.

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Updated June 28, 1997