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Punching is not allowed in NCAA Wrestling

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In nearly 5 years of watching and covering UB wrestling I can’t recall a match that has had a more controversial ending that Colt Cotten’s match versus Missouri’s Lavion Mayes.

With less than a minute remaining and with Mayes having the match well in hand, Cotten was working for a takedown and locked up with Mayes. Mayes then wound up and punched Cotten in the stomach.

According to NCAA Wrestling rule 5.6.1 intentionally striking an opponent at any point either before, during or after a match the offending wrestler will be assessed a flagrant misconduct and be disqualified from the match. The offending wrestler’s team is docked a team point and the opposing team is awarded six points. The full rule is below:

During the prematch, match or postmatch period, flagrant misconduct committed by either wrestler, such as intentionally striking an opponent, deliberately attempting to injure an opponent, or any act serious enough to disqualify a wrestler from an event, shall be penalized by the deduction of one team point, disqualification of that contestant, removal from the premises, declaration of the opponent as the winner and the award of six points to the opponent’s team. For tournaments, a team point shall be deducted from the offender’s team score, the opponent declared the winner and two team points awarded for advancement.

Now that you’ve read the rule, here’s the punch in question:

WRESTLING Cotten Mizzou Mays punch
UB Wrestling’s Colt Cotten takes a punch from Missouri’s Lavion Mayes

Mayes clearly wound up and struck Cotten with a closed fist and clearly violates NCAA rule 5.6.1. Mayes should have been disqualified from the match, Missouri should have been assessed a team point penalty and UB should have been awarded 6 team points.

It’s hard to understand the referee’s thinking in awarding Cotten a single point on an unsportsmanlike conduct when he had the same view as the above clip when reviewing the sequence after Coach Stutzman demanded a review.

You’ve seen the clip and know the rule, you be the judge.