Oklahoma s Crump Ineligible by Big 12 Standards

By Bob Colon | Jan. 10, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
Leonce Crump, Oklahoma's unbeaten heavyweight, is ineligible and may not wrestle the rest of the season. "He is not eligible and is going through an appeal process," said OU sports information director Kenny Mossman on Thursday. "He is eligible under NCAA and Oklahoma University rules but not by Big 12 Conference guidelines." The Big 12 mandates athletes pass six hours with a grade of C or better in their degree field to remain eligible the next semester. "It is not final and is still under review," Mossman said. "We should know in a week or two." Crump, the two-time Big 12 champion, was 10-0 with six falls the first semester and is ranked second and third in the two rating services. He is a junior and was fourth in the NCAA tournament as a freshman. "We're in a world of hurt if we don't get Leonce back," OU coach Jack Spates said last weekend. "We are very vulnerable with three starters out of our lineup." The other two starters are Matt Grice at 149 and Mark Worthy at 157, but both were sidelined after being injured in an open tournament in November. OU was ranked fourth with Crump in the lineup and has gone 3-1-1 since the OU-Oklahoma State match Dec. 8. The Sooners dropped from fourth to fifth after losing to Cornell last weekend and will fall further after a 21-21 match with 14th-ranked Arizona State Wednesday. Sophomore Joel Tapler and junior Erin Helvey are sharing heavyweight with Crump sidelined. Tapler is 4-4 and Helvey 4-6. Notes Oklahoma State's Zack Esposito is 17-0 as a true freshman and is ranked second at 141 pounds. Everyone knew Esposito was good, but the perfect record may have been surprising. "He has had a great year," said OSU coach John Smith. "He is the type of kid who expects a lot out of himself. He is pretty hard on himself when he doesn't have the match he expects to have. "He is a great competitor, one of the finest young competitors I have ever coached. He is very exciting to watch. He has very little fear when it comes to doing low percentage moves. "He is not somebody who is going to hold back. He is still in the learning stage and getting better. He is going to find his niche and what he wants to accomplish as far as wrestling on the mat." The New Jersey freshman has six falls in his 17 victories. OSU's Shane Roller was Big 12 wrestler of the week after upending top-ranked Luke Becker of Minnesota, 9-5, in the Cowboys' 26-6 dual match victory over the Gophers Jan. 3. Roller, a Bixby senior, is 12-2 at 157. He has been third and fourth in the NCAA tournament the past two years. The Cowboys are in the match of the week again Sunday as they host No. 2 Iowa at 2 p.m. in Gallagher-Iba Arena. You can get hot walking by Oklahoma State's wrestling room. How hot is it? "They keep it at 82 degrees so we can sweat," said OSU heavyweight Willie Gruenwald. "There's a rule the temperature can't go above 85. It helps the smaller guys lose weight." When Oklahoma played Washington State in the Rose Bowl New Year's Day, OU wrestling coach Jack Spates had some of his squadmen over for a watch party. "I'll have pizza," Spates said. After a wrestler told the coach he was trying to make weight and couldn't handle pizza, Spates added, "I'll have vegetables, too.