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Womens wrestling coverage hurts credibility

The most recent example of distorted reporting is the Pacific University women's wrestling results in the March 14 issue of the News-Times.

The deception begins by not recognizing the author, which was undoubtedly the sports information director at Pacific. Instead of acknowledging his role in the article it is referred to as a 'Staff Report.'

The main headline was: 'Ramos, Lee pick up individual titles as Boxers finish second at nationals.'

The smaller headline read: 'Andrina Ramos and Jordyn Lee win national championships in the competition's two lightweight classes to lead Pacific.'

The deception continues with a statement that 'before competing in the Women's Collegiate Wrestling Association national meet in late January, Pacific's female wrestlers had not competed - let alone practiced much - in folkstyle wrestling.'

From the foregoing one would assume either that they did not practice at all or that they spent most of their practice time on freestyle.

If they spent the time practicing freestyle, why did the Pacific team only score two points in the collegiate freestyle meet in Tennessee two weeks before the WCWA meet, compared to the winning team's 141 points?

The deception does not end there, as nowhere is it mentioned that the total number of entries in this WCWA 'National Tournament' was 38 girls in a total of nine weight classes - about four entries per weight class.

The 105-pound weight class that was 'dominated' by Pacific (placing first and second), had only three entries total. If you just entered the tournament at this weight class you were an All-American (according to Pacific standards).

Furthermore, after some research it turns out that this event is open to anyone that is willing to pay the fee. The only requirement is one must be properly enrolled in college. I'm sure if the writer was interested in reporting accurate information he would have disclosed this fact.

In a true national tournament one must typically qualify by competing in a regional/district tournament to earn a spot to compete.

So the real questions are:

Why does Pacific continue to participate in a 'National Tournament' that is so poorly attended? Surely the thousands of dollars spent to send five girls and coach(s) to Florida might be better spent otherwise. You could find far better competition by driving to Simon Fraser University.

Why does the athletic department continue to publicize the results as if these young ladies had accomplished something outstanding? Through no fault of their own they are being used to lessen the accomplishments of numerous past Pacific University All-Americans.

Has there been a single Pacific female wrestler in the last five or six years who has finished the season and not been 'recognized' as an All-American, as a result of competing in some marginally attended 'national' tournament? I believe the answer is 'no.'

Please do not suggest that I am opposed to recognizing women's achievements. I know Pacific had several women place in the U.S. Open National Championships in the early years and those should rightfully be recognized as All-Americans. All I ask is for Pacific's athletics department to fairly report the scope of these young ladies' achievements by providing all the facts.

Many of the wrestling alumni would like to support our sport and the university but have been forced by the athletics department to withhold it. The frivolous use of funds and the distorted reporting of the accomplishments have put us in this position.

The following adage attributed to Mark Twain seems applicable:

'The best way to destroy your credibility is to stretch the truth.'

Lee Garboden, of Beaverton, is member of the Pacific Class of '75 and the Pacific Athletic Hall of Fame.




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