Tucson-area college athletes

Roman Bravo-Young on Winter-Sports Athletes Not Allowed Another Year of Eligibility: “We Just Gave a Free Year of Labor to NCAA”

Sunnyside wrestling great Roman Bravo-Young already made it clear last weekend that he hoped the NCAA would grant another year of eligibility to winter-sport athletes because his season was cut short with the chance to earn All-American honors and a national title.

The NCAA decided Monday to not grant another year of eligibility for winter-sports athletes because it reasoned the regular-season competition for many of them was already completed.

Bravo-Young responded with this tweet, accusing the NCAA of profiting from their competition all season with the athletes not able to reap the benefits of their own work:

Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic forced the NCAA to cancel the wrestling championships the week they were about to start. All-American status in wrestling is not an arbitrary vote like in basketball. It is earned by going through the first four rounds of the championship bracket.

Bravo-Young, a 133-pound sophomore who was 19-2 this season at Penn State, was denied the opportunity to be an All-American, and with that, his chance to achieve his goal of being a four-time All-American was taken away.

He earned All-American honors last season by progressing past the fourth round of the consolation bracket.

Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State photo)

Bravo-Young, a four-time state champion at Sunnyside who led the Blue Devils to a state title in 2018, took to Facebook to post more comments of the NCAA’s decision.

“Trust me, I am beyond grateful I’m getting an education on a scholarship which was earned throughout years of dedication as it wasn’t just a gift handed to me,” wrote Bravo-Young, who also mentioned he feels for seniors Spencer Lee, Kollin Moore, Ryan Deakin and Aaron Brooks for not ending their careers with titles. “And I am not being ungrateful when stating “Labor”. Wrestling is our job. Labor means work, especially hard physical work, we all know how hard wrestling is. A big part of collegiate wrestling is ACTUALLY the national tournament.

“You are remembered for what you do at NCAAs, not what happened during the season. I could have a losing record of 6-14, but … everyone would remember me as an All-American. We do all this free work under the thumb of the NCAA, but now many of these people miss the opportunity to advance their professional careers or continue to grow their resume all because of something we couldn’t control, as well as the world can’t control.”

Bravo-Young continued about the millions the NCAA pockets while the athletes do not get compensated.

“Think about all the sold out arenas, TV ratings, merchandise sold, all our vids on YouTube; that is profit towards them not us,” he wrote. “Being a Student-Athlete is the life I chose, but I did not get compensated with the labors I dedicated my life too.

“I wanted to earn an All-American status at NCAAs for the second time. Along with many other athletes that was stripped from us. But I think this is a well learned lesson for many. Just puts a lot of perspective on things as wrestling is just something we do as it is not our life! Really showed me that no matter what never take ANYTHING for granted and life goes on.”


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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