AJ Ferrari is the name that once echoed triumph in the NCAA wrestling scene. The wrestler experiences both glory and controversy in a short span.
Ferrari won the NCAA wrestling championship at 197 pounds, only to be followed by a sequence of tumultuous events that overshadowed his athletic skills.
The memorable 2022 victory was marked not only by his skillful performance but also by a notably peculiar post-match promo on ESPN. Ferrari’s journey hit an abrupt halt when he struck an approaching automobile while attempting to pass in a no-passing zone.
He was later dismissed from Oklahoma State’s football team after a sexual battery accusation against him. This led to Ferrari’s departure from the university, marking a turning point in his collegiate wrestling career.
The charges were eventually withdrawn. This effectively made Ferrari a free agent, as he still had three years of eligibility.
Amidst the turmoil, the wrestling world witnessed a strategic shift as the renowned Iowa Hawkeyes made a calculated move.
With 24 team championships, Iowa is the second-most successful program in NCAA history. However, Penn State has been playing more of a lead role than the Hawkeyes lately. Ten of the previous twelve titles have been won by the Nittany Lions.
Coaches Tom and Terry Brands orchestrated a sequence of strategic acquisitions. Ferrari’s younger brother Anthony was a member of the Oklahoma State team. Iowa acquired him first.
Ferrari’s youngest brother Angelo was the top-ranked recruit in the class of 2024. Iowa also picked him up as well.
When AJ finally made an official trip to Iowa, it was almost a given that he would be taken.
The Hawkeyes wanted to reclaim their former glory, and saw Ferrari as a pivotal addition to their lineup.
This year’s ‘Soldier Salute’ competition was held on Friday and Saturday by the Hawkeyes. Ferrari took part separately since he isn’t officially enrolled yet.
However, controversy ensued when Ferrari clashed with Iowa’s Zach Glazier in the finals.
Glazier and Ferrari were deadlocked 2-2 going into overtime. Ferrari secured a takedown late in the first round to win the match 5-2.
Following the game, Ferrari and Glazier got into a furious brawl that culminated with Ferrari punching his (potential) future teammate and giving him the finger.
Ferrari was then disqualified for the punch by the authorities.
Amidst jeers from the crowd, Ferrari dropped into a split and directed offensive gestures towards the audience.