Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby issued a public reprimand of Oklahoma’s Josh Heindselman and Oklahoma State’s AJ Ferrari on Wednesday after their altercation following the Sunday, Dec. 12 Bedlam wrestling match.
As the in-state rivals shook hands, a fight broke out between the Sooners’ heavyweight Heindselman and the Cowboys 197-pounder Ferrari. After the two briefly exchanged heated words following OSU’s 31-3 defeat of the Sooners, Heindselman shoved Ferrari then attempted to grab the defending national champion.
Heindselman was restrained by multiple Oklahoma State wrestlers, then Ferrari grabbed the OU wrestler's legs and brought him to the ground. The two were eventually separated by wrestlers, coaches and staff members, but Ferrari appeared to continue chirping at Heindselman afterward.
“The basic tenet of sportsmanship dictates that competitors compete hard, and following the competition, treat one another with respect,” Bowlsby said in a press release. “What occurred between student-athletes Ferrari and Heindselman fell well short of that expectation and has no place in sports, at any level.”
The Big 12 did not mention a suspension or additional penalties in its release. According to a Dec. 13 Facebook post from Ferrari's father, AJ Ferrari Sr., Sunday's incident wasn't the first time his family has faced an issue with Heindselman.
Ferrari Sr. alleges the Piedmont native “shoulder bumped” and “smacked” his younger son, Anthony, at a United World Wrestling junior tournament this past summer. He also says he contacted the OU coaches and asked for Heindelman to apologize publicly but was ignored. Accompanying his description is a video that allegedly captures the incident.
“I gave OU and Heindselman the opportunity to rectify this with a simple apology months ago, and they didn’t,” Ferrari Sr. said in the post. “Instead, Heindselman blew kisses to our coaches at the end of his match (on Sunday) and then physically attacked AJ during handshakes.”
The Oklahoma and Oklahoma State athletics departments declined the Daily’s request for comment on Ferrari Sr.’s allegations on Wednesday. While Heindselman and Ferrari won’t wrestle each other this season, the two will meet again when OU and OSU rematch on Feb. 20 in Stillwater.