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NCAA: Olympian/U of Minnesota’s Deitchler Ruled Ineligible For Season

January 14th, 2010 by Tom

University of Minnesota freshman wrestler and former Olympian, Jake Deitchler has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA for the 2009-10 academic year.

The University of Minnesota received initial notice in September and appealed the ruling hoping for a review of the situation. Deitchler has not competed for the Gophers this season, while awaiting the results of the final appeal. Deitchler's eligibility will be reinstated under the conditions that he is withheld from competition for the 2009-10 academic year, forfeit a year of eligibility and repay the $4,000 prize money he received.

A 2008 graduate of Anoka High School and an Anoka, Minn. native, Deitchler represented the United States at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Following the Olympics, Deitchler spent the 2008-09 academic year training and competing full-time with USA Wrestling at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"In the NCAA's ongoing effort to promote student-athlete welfare I do not think the NCAA is following or supporting their own ideology. The NCAA has handed a very young student athlete an overly harsh penalty, "head wrestling coach J Robinson said. "The punishment is quite severe and is a three part penalty. First; Deitchler must sit out a year, second he will lose one of his four years of eligibility, and third he must repay the money he received.

I understand that there needs to be a penalty, Robinson said but to deny a season of competition, take away an entire year of eligibility plus repay the money is excessive. People make mistakes, and as an 18 year-old kid who just represented his country in the Olympic Games and got lost in the moment I don't think this decision is in the best interest of the athlete, the NCAA, or the Olympic movement."

Robinson went on to add, "We had a very similar situation at Minnesota a few years ago where an athlete took money after the Olympics, in this case more money $6,000. The penalty the NCAA imposed was that the student athlete had to sit out two weeks and repay the money. That same year, this student athlete was eligible to compete in the NCAA Championships and became an NCAA All-American."

Deitchler will remain on the team and participate in all team practices, but cannot compete in 2009-10 for the University of Minnesota in any NCAA sanctioned events.

This is bigger than Jake Deitchler and I think it hurts our Olympic movement by setting a bad precedence. Robinson hopes that the NCAA will review and reverse their decision in the spirit of student athlete welfare and what best for a young student athlete that got caught up in the excitement of the Olympic Games while representing his country.

Robinson also said that Mario Mason has been reinstated and will resume competition with the team. Mason had been suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules, causing him to miss the Southern Scuffle and the Iowa State Dual.

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Anoka wrestler, Jake Deitchler, pulls off a stunner

June 16th, 2008 by Tom

Jake Deitchler Wrestler

Jake Deitchler became only the third high school wrestler to make the U.S. Olympic team with a shocking upset of Harry Lester -- considered one of the best Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world at any weight.

By RACHEL BLOUNT, Star Tribune

LAS VEGAS " Eighteen-year-old Jake Deitchler knew no one expected him to make the U.S. Olympic team. Only two other high school wrestlers had ever done so, and a person his age hadn't been on the team since 1976.

Still, Deitchler wondered: What if?

The three-time state champion from Anoka High School finished his senior year in April so he could train full-time, sweated in the wrestling room every day and came to the U.S. Olympic Trials thinking he had a chance. On Saturday, Deitchler pulled off an enormous upset in the challenge round of the 145.5-pound Greco- Roman division, then swept his opponent in the finals to earn a spot on the Olympic team.

Deitchler beat Faruk Sahin 0-5, 7-4, 1-1 in their first match of the final round at Thomas and Mack Center.

Deitchler then overcame a deep deficit in the second match for a 2-3, 7-5, 3-0 victory and a sweep of the best-of-three finals. In the semifinals, he beat heavily favored Harry Lester -- considered one of the best Greco-Roman wrestlers in the world at any weight -- in a shocking upset that left Lester in tears.

As the clock ticked down on Deitchler's victory, he drew a standing ovation from the crowd, while coach Brandon Paulson -- a 1996 Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman -- jumped up and down and pounded his hands on the mat.

"People say I'm not a very realistic person, "said Deitchler, smiling for the first time after a grueling, emotional day. "To tell you the truth, it doesn't really matter, if I can do things like this.

"I didn't have any pressure on me the whole tournament. In that second match, I thought, 'This is going to be a lifelong dream in about six minutes.' I just wrestled hard and came out on top."

By making the team, Deitchler formed the next link in Minnesota's grand Greco-Roman wrestling tradition. At least one man from the state has made the Olympic team in the sport every year since 1968.

Deitchler is the second Minnesotan to make the Olympic team at these trials, joining Ali Bernard of New Ulm, who earned a trip to Beijing by winning the women's 158 1/2-pound weight class Friday.

Other wrestlers who won their weight classes and Olympic berths Saturday included T.C. Dantzler (Greco-Roman, 163 pounds), Brad Vering (Greco-Roman, 185), Doug Schwab (men's freestyle, 145 1/2) and Henry Cejudo (men's freestyle, 121).

Paulson has been coaching Deitchler since 2004, when Anoka coach Todd Springer called him to say he had a young wrestler aching to work as hard as he could.

Paulson said he knew Deitchler would be a champion even then -- when Jake was 14 -- because he called Paulson every Sunday, begging him to work out.

Deitchler showed a flair for drama Saturday, losing the first period of every match he wrestled. Though he entered the trials as the runnerup at the 2008 U.S. championships, his youth kept expectations low.

Besides, Lester was favored to make the Olympic team and perhaps win a medal in Beijing.

Lester, a two-time bronze medalist at the world championships and six years Deitchler's elder, whipped him 5-0 in the first period of their semifinal. He scored early in the second before Deitchler was able to turn him for three points to win the period 5-2. In the final seconds of the third, Deitchler scored on a reverse lift and took the period 5-3 and won the match.

Lester walked out of the arena and buried his head in his hands. He came back to win the third-place match and retired immediately after.

Nearly three weeks ago, Deitchler walked in his graduation ceremony. In a little more than a month, he will take another walk, in the opening ceremonies in Beijing.

"What he's doing is historic, "Paulson said. "He is a phenomenal athlete. He's got to win, because he hates to lose."