USA Wrestling Iowa heavyweight co...

Iowa heavyweight coach suspended for meet

By UL | Feb. 14, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa wrestling coach Jim Zalesky and heavyweight Steve Mocco have been suspended from Friday night's meet with Minnesota because of their conduct at Michigan State last week. Athletic director Bob Bowlsby said Thursday that Zalesky and Mocco's actions were inappropriate and violated Big Ten policy on sportsmanlike conduct. Bowlsby apologized on behalf of the university. Big Ten commissioner James Delany accepted Iowa's findings and publicly reprimanded Zalesky and Mocco, a sophomore who is 25-0 and ranked No. 1 nationally. Zalesky will be on probation for the rest of the season, Delany said. In a statement released by the university, Bowlsby said Zalesky made "inappropriate and unacceptable physical contact" with meet official George Kun. He also said Zalesky violated league policy by criticizing Kun. Bowlsby said Mocco was suspended because of an altercation with Michigan State heavyweight John Wechter after their match, which Mocco won on a 27-11 technical fall. "Steve Mocco's altercation with his opponent outside the bounds of competition was inappropriate and will not be tolerated," Bowlsby said. "We, as a university, apologize to all those involved or affected by these acts of misconduct. "Incidents like these have no place in college athletics." Michigan State was awarded a criteria victory in the meet last Friday night after it ended in a 19-19 tie. Iowa trailed 19-14 going into the heavyweight match and needed a pin by Mocco to win. Mocco had Wechter on his back and Zalesky said he thought his wrestler should have been awarded a pin. Zalesky said he saw that time had expired and Kun had made no signal, so "I hit the guy on the back and said, 'Time's up.'" Michigan State coach Tom Minkel told the Lansing State Journal that Zalesky ran onto the mat, kicked at Wechter and grabbed the official. Zalesky told the Iowa City Press-Citizen that Kun was fraternizing with Michigan State coaches and fans before the meet. He also said Kun worked four straight Michigan State home meets. "I just want to make sure this guy never refs a match of ours again," Zalesky said. "There's no way I'll let him ref a match of ours. I think it's unethical. Are there no other referees that will go to Michigan State and ref?" This is the second time this season that Zalesky has been suspended for a meet. The Big Ten gave Zalesky a one-meet suspension for violating a rule that determined the starting weight for meets. That incident occurred last year. Zalesky sat out Iowa's 34-3 victory over Wisconsin on Jan. 24.