Mishicot head wrestling coach Mike Pratt has resigned.
MHS Athletic Director David Gordon confirmed that the school received Pratt’s letter of resignation Wednesday morning.
The move comes while the wrestling program is dealing with a WIAA rules violation. Pratt did not mention the rules violations in an email to HTR Media, but did say, “I officially resigned my position as coach this week due to family and personal matters.”
Gordon confirmed that Pratt, who was in his 12th season as head coach, pointed to the same factors in his letter of resignation.
“I really enjoyed my 11 plus years coaching at Mishicot. I have nothing but fond memories,” Pratt said. “Also, I’d like to say good luck to the wrestlers and their parents on the upcoming year.”
According to Gordon, a third party informed Mishicot officials of a possible violation on Dec. 5. The school began its investigation of the matter on Dec. 8.
“As we got deeper into it, new things developed and different information came to light,” Gordon said.
Prior to the start of each season, wrestlers must take a two-part test to determine the minimum weight they are allowed to compete at. First, wrestlers must pass a hydration test. Once adequate hydration is confirmed, a skin-fold measurement is taken to obtain an approximate body fat percentage.
Male athletes can wrestle as low as the weight class they would fall into if they had seven percent body fat. The limit for female wrestlers is 12 percent.
In theory, being dehydrated prior to the skin-fold measurement would help a wrestler register a lower minimum weight.
“The violation had to do with the hydration part of the skin-fold test and falsification of information regarding to that hydration test,” Gordon said. “As far as the WIAA is concerned, as a rule violation, that is deemed falsification of information.”
Mishicot reported the findings of its investigation to the WIAA.
Gordon read from a portion of an email from WIAA deputy director Wade Labecki which stated, “We appreciate the matter in which you dealt with this issue.”
As of this time, the school is aware of two violations which took place this season.
“That has been addressed with the WIAA,” Gordon said. “Those are things we have taken measures to correct.”
Gordon did not specify specific measures that were taken, but WIAA rules stipulate that in cases such as this “A violation, resulting from a student or parent (guardian) falsifying records and/or providing misleading information to a school, will cause that student to be ineligible in all sports for one calendar year from date of last game or meet in which student participated.”
School officials felt the need to act on the matter to help ensure the well-being of its students.
“Our first priority is always students’ health and safety. Obviously, we want to do well in wrestling and we want to be successful, but that can never compromise the health and safety of the students here,” Gordon said. “The tests are there as a safeguard to ensure that wrestlers are wrestling at a healthy weight.
“Everybody has seen wrestlers. The guys get skinny, but you have to rely on the fact that, that safeguard is protecting those athletes. When the validity of that safeguard is put into question, that was cause for concern, so that’s why we had to take action and make sure that didn’t happen any more.”
Assistant coach Jim Reynolds is leading the team with Gordon handling administrative responsibilities.
With the issues addressed, it is back to business for the Indians, who began the season as the No. 10 team in Division 3 according to Wisconsin Wrestling Online.
“I think the boys have maintained a pretty positive attitude. The older athletes, the seniors have really demonstrated some leadership throughout it,” Gordon said. “Moving forward, I think the hope is to kind of put these things behind us. They have a lot of high hopes for the rest of the season.”