Iowa wrestling head coach Tom Brands announced on Tuesday that Austin DeSanto has been suspended for the upcoming home dual against Maryland on February 8. DeSanto, a sophomore, is 14-1 on the season and is ranked #3 at 133lbs on Flowrestling.
To properly understand the suspension and the events that led up to it, please check out our Iowa vs Nebraska recap. But for a quick summary, things got a bit chippy during the tightly contested dual. Iowa had a 16-13 lead going into the final and decisive match of the night and of course it had to be DeSanto’s match. He could’ve wrapped up the dual meet and neutralized and defused the ongoing tensions with a quick win. Instead he totally MacGruber’d it, lit that fuse, and exploded Brian Peska right out of The Husker’s own gym. He capped off his bludgeoning 25-10 tech fall with this…
Austin DeSanto closes out the dual for Iowa with a tech fall and the Hawkeyes win an outstanding dual, 21-13. pic.twitter.com/W0gAlnPw7U— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) February 3, 2019
I’m willing to bet it wasn’t the thumbs up that cost him, but more the throat slash and the aggressive handshaking that followed. I personally believe that “What goes around, comes around,” and Nebraska deserved to eat what Austin dished out. But ultimately that’s beside the point.
Either way, this marks the third time this season that Austin has been hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct that cost Iowa a team point. The previous two incidents both came on the heels of upsetting higher ranked opponents. The first following his win over Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak, then the second only five days later against Rutger’s Nick Suriano.
After this outburst with Suriano, head coach Tom Brands benched him in favor of Paul Glynn in the subsequent dual against Illinois. Following his most recent incident against Nebraska, Brands finally had enough and threw out another suspension.
Coach Brands went on to say,
“Austin knows his behavior on and off the mat is a reflection of this university and program, and I am very pleased with his response to this matter. I know he is eager to move forward.”
DeSanto also released a statement saying,
“I want to apologize to my opponents and teammates for my actions on the mat. I know they are disrespectful and there is no excuse,” DeSanto said. “I accept the consequences of my behavior and the decision of Coach Brands, and have assured my teammates and coaches that I will better represent our team when I return.”
This is about as robotic of a response as we could’ve expected from both Brand and Austin, but the suspension is fair and just. He needs to learn to control his temper and emotions following a dramatic win (or loss), but I hope he doesn’t turn it off so much that it effects his attitude on the mat. Because, quite frankly, he is the team’s sparkplug and we need his energy.
I could do without some of his theatrics, but it’s undeniable how entertaining he is and how much he means to this squad. I’d much rather have him with us than against us. Austin DeSanto is 100% an old school Iowa Hawkeye. Whether we like it or not, he’s bringing swagger to this team.
A large portion of the fan base is concerned that he’ll eventually deduct us a point in either a close dual or come tournament time. To be honest, it’s a fair concern, but let’s cross that bridge when we get there. Right now, every incident has been in either a blowout meet or after the win has already be secured. Personally, I think he’ll reign it in in March and take care of business the way he needs to, but until then, I want him to continue to take names and kick ass.
I expect to see Paul Glynn get the nod against Maryland.
What do you guys think? Is this a continuing trend or is this even a cause for concern?