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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (March 11, 1996)
Boxing , /
Continued from Page 1
were instituted in amateur boxing that
improved safety measures.
Some of those measures included in
creased monitoring by doctors, a ban from
boxing for 30 days after a knockout and a
standing eight count, where the referee stops
the bout and counts eight seconds, issued
after a strong blow.
The rules were instituted, at the time, to
further separate amateur boxing from
According to Doug Emery, an interna
tional amateur boxing referee based in
Lincoln, amateur boxing has about as much in
common with professional boxing “as
amateur wrestling and professional wres
Emery, who has been involved in boxing
for 41 of his 45 years, said both professional
wrestling and professional boxing were
spectator sports, so the rules were skewed to
In amateur boxing, however, a fighter
scores no more points for a knockdown than
for a well-executed punch.
“It takes away from T have to knock him
down to score,’” he said.
Fighters can score by being smart and
jabbing their way to victory, Emery said.
The positions taken by the
; AMA were again cited by
Griescn later in a letter he sent
to all facility schedulers at UNL.
The letter, dated Oct. 18,1995, said the
Boxing Club, which had been recognized by
ASUN as a student organization by this time,
was to be allowed to use UNL facilities to
meet. They were not, however, allowed to
have any practices or matches.
That letter marked Griesen’s first involve
ment with the club.
Grace later would ask for Griesen’s help in
getting the club back on campus. \
“When Chad came to me, I said to him I
would see that he would get a fair hearing,”
v Griesen couldn’t attend the hearing he set
up in November. He had a prior commitment
that he could not reschedule.
Daryl Swanson, director of the Nebraska
Unions, filled in for Griesen. He was given all
the correspondence and articles that had been
exchanged thus far.
That correspondence included nine articles
from Grace and other members of the Boxing
Club detailing rule changes and studies
disputing claims that boxing causes brain
One of those studies was a 10-year,
ongoing study done by Johns Hopkins
University, one of the country’s premier
medical institutions. The study was started in
1986 and involved more than 500 boxers in
The study says amateur boxing does not cause
Griescn said the information Grace sent
him was not “medical enough” for him. He
asked the University of Nebraska Medical
Center in Omaha to search for medical
articles dealing with amateur boxing.
What he got back was a pile of opinion
pieces, which he rejected. Only two articles,
both conducted in England, were kept from
Of the two studies, one supports Grace’s
claim that boxing is safe. The other disputes
the first study and contradicts itself.
“It’s not an easy matter,” Gricsen said.
The studies, which were both done outside
of the United States and not under USA
Amateur Boxing Federation rules, were both
published in January 1996.
Griesen said he did not have a problem
using foreign studies. When asked, Griesen
said one article did support Grace’s claim tha
amateur boxing was safe, but he defended the
The study, by four English doctors, used
British Royal Navy and Army boxers, who
have different rules than the USA Amateur
“I think it is a pretty good study,” Griesen
said. “I think there is conclusive evidence thal
boxing causes brain damage.”
• Griesen said Grace asked him to consider
other studies that proved the opposite. Grace,
and many other defenders of amateur boxing,
relied heavily on the Johns Hopkins study.
During the hearing, Grace said, he stayed
away from comparing the safety of amateur
boxing to football, soccer and rugby. He
stuck to the study.
On Feb. 23, two months after the hearing,
Griesen wrote a letter to those present at
Grace’s hearing: Peg Blake, interim director
of the University Health Center and former
associate vice chancellor for academic
affairs; Campbell; Ralph Ewert, who is on the
medical staff at the health center; and
In that letter, Gricsen wrote that, in his
opinion, boxing should not be welcomed on
campus. He asked the others for their
“These findings'(of the two foreign
studies) coupled with Stan Campbell’s basic
opposition to the sport because it includes the
head as part of the point-scoring area, lead
me to conclude that we should not lift our ban
on amateur boxing on the UNL campus.”
Grace said Campbell’s position was
“Of course it is the target area,” he said.
: “It is the target area of all combative arts.”
Campbell could not be reached for
On Feb. 23, Griesen sent Grace a letter
rejecting the Boxing Club’s request.
In the Office of Campus Recre
ation, just inside the doors of the A
Sapp Recreation Center, a list of
club sports sits in a bin for interested '
On that list arc sports ranging from
badminton to women’s wrestling.
Most of the sports are non-contact. But a
short list of sports includes rugby, hockey and
men’s and women’s lacrosse.
Five combative arts are listed: Goju Ryu,
fencing, Judo, medieval combat and Tac
Only fencing and medieval combat have
enough interest to practice as a club. And
medieval combat exists only as an academic
club — it doesn’t meet for recreational
But they arc listed by Campus Recreation
as club sports.
“I don’t think it is a double standard at
all,” Griesen said. “1 think there is a big
difference between a sport where (getting
across a line, like rugby) is the objective to
the sport where the objective is hitting your
But Emery said there was no comparison
between the number of injuries sustained in
amateur boxing and those sustained in
football and rugby.
“I personally can’t see how any of those
(contact and combative arts club sports listed
by campus recreation) can be any safer than
boxing,” Emery said. “If you are going to ban
one, you ought to ban them all.”
The problem, Emery said, was one of
“I am sure it is a mind set,” he said. “It is
not whether we can prove boxing is safe.
They think boxing is a brutal sport, and they
want to be against brutal sports.
“There is no question that boxing has an
But Grace said he avoided comparisons.
“I stayed away from throwing rocks at
other sports,” he said.
Grace stuck with his studies and came
The road ahea
Griesen’s decision rejecting the
club was a major disappointment to
members of the club.
Grace was expecting it.
“I am not surprised at this outcome,” he
said. “I expected this, and I needed this.
Nowhere did anyone ever say no to me the
whole first semester. They just carted me
But the disappointment may have been
great enough to decrease interest, Grace said.
“They have ruined our club,” he said. “If
we would have gotten on campus right away,
we had a lot people.
“They have destroyed the club.”
Members had been practicing at the
Lincoln YMCA, but monthly fees became too
much for the club to handle.
Now all he wants is to hit bags, Grace
said. His next proposal was going to be a
boxing club that would just hit bags — no
sparring, he said.
Campus Recreation does not have the
equipment to allow the Boxing Club to hit
bags, said Leah Hall Dorothy, director of club
sports at Campus Recreation.
But the boxing club does. When the club
was removed from campus, Campus Recre
ation confiscated its equipment.
On Jan. 27, 1995, the equipment was
returned — two medicine balls, five speed
bags, five hanging devices for speed bags,
one chest protector, eight head protectors,
three jump ropes, 10 pairs of boxing gloves
and 10 pairs of heavy bag gloves.
The equipment release was signed by
But barring a change of mind in adminis
trators, Grace said the Boxing Club may
never practice on campus.
Griesen said administrators had spent a
great deal of time on the issue — before and
after Grace asked them to review the new
“In light of new evidence, we felt there
wasn’t enough to make a change,” he said.
“We’re not alone on this either. We’re not the
only (university) taking this stand.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s closed,”
Griesen said. “I’ll stay open to new evidence
... that may tip the balance the other way.”
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