New Rules

Wrestling Rules Changes – 2023-24

By NFHS on May 04, 2023

ART. 3 . . . No wrestler shall represent the school in more than one weight class in any meet or wrestle in more thanfivesixmatches (championship or consolation), excluding forfeits in any one day of competition.Exception: No wrestler shall wrestle in more than six matches (championship or consolation), excluding forfeits in any one day of a tournament conducted by the state high school association for qualification to the state high school championships or the championships themselves.
Rationale:With the rule change to allow six matches in post-season events after experiments were conducted by state associations last year, and there was no reported increase of injuries. Allowing six matches during the regular season events is a normal progression and will be monitored throughout the season.

ART. 4 . . . No contestant shall wrestle in two consecutive matches with less than a45-minute30-minuterest between matches. The conclusion time of each match shall be recorded.
Rationale:The sentiment is that the recovery time of 30-minutes is adequate rest between matches and is of the opinion that since there is no peer-reviewed data to suggest any additional risk for using a 30-minute rest/recovery time versus a 45-minute rest/recovery time. This is a reasonable rule modification.

ART. 7 . . . No contestant shall wrestle in more than 10 matches in a two-consecutive day period.
Rationale:The rule to allow 6 matches in a day was more for meet management on one-day tournaments and is not to allow more matches in a season.

ART. 1 . . . The referee’s uniform consists of a short-sleeved knit shirt, with alternating black and white 1-inch stripes; or gray with black pinstripes, or an event provided shirt common to all referees at that event, full-length black trousers, black belt (if trousers have belt loops), black socks and black wrestling/gym shoeswithout colored highlights.Shoes with white or gray trim are allowed.The referee shall be neatly attired and have other accessories, including a colored disk, a black lanyard and black whistle, red and green armbands, and a kit to conduct the random draw. The red armband shall be worn on the left wrist and the green armband on the right wrist.
Rationale:Allowing the referee’s shoes to have trim gives them more options and opportunity to find more comfortable shoes and does not hinder the appearance of the official.

ART. 1 . . . A legal uniform consists of:
a. a one-piece singlet cut no lower in the back or front than the level of the armpits and under the arms no lower than one-half the distance between the armpit and belt line. A suitable undergarment, which completely covers the buttocks and groin area, shall be worn under a one-piece singlet. Any other undergarment worn under the one-piece singlet which extends beyond the inseam shall be tight-fitting and shall not extend below the knee. The one-piece singlet may be worn with full-lengthform-fitted tightswith stirrups. The one-piece singlet shall be school-issued.

NOTE: Female contestants wearing a one-piece singlet shall wear a sports bra that completely covers their breasts and minimizes the risk of exposure. Compression shirts worn underneath a one-piece singlet are permitted but not required for female contestants unless needed to ensure complete coverage.
Rationale:The tights worn by wrestlers today are compressed and form-fitting reaching just above the ankles. These tights do not ride up the wrestler’s leg causing a disadvantage to the opponent. By removing the stirrups requirement wrestlers will not have to use tape at the ankles or wear long socks to hide the lack of stirrups while wearing full-length tights.

b. compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling shall have a minimum 4-inch inseam that shall not extend below the knee; shorts designed for wrestling shall have an elastic waistband and a drawstring that is not exposed. Compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling shall not have exposed drawstrings, belt loops, zippers, snaps, button or pockets. A suitable undergarment, which completely covers the buttocks and groin area shall be worn under shorts designed for wrestling and compression shorts. Shorts designed for wrestling may be worn over the singlet. Compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling may be worn with a form-fitted compression shirt. Compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling shall be school-issued.Compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling may be worn with full-length form-fitted tights.

c. Remains the same.
Rationale: For consistency, either uniform style is available for full-length tight-fitting tights usage.

ART. 1 . . .Facial hair is permissible.Trimmed to a length so that the skin is visible for skin checks is allowed. Facial hair that does not allow for skin a check to be performed, as determined by the referee or a designated, on-site appropriate health care professional overseeing the skin checks, shall be immediately trimmed to within the guidelines. A wrestler may not compete until the facial hair is trimmed and the skin check is completed. Hair control devices and other adornments in the hair that are securely fastened and do not present an increased risk to the wrestler or the opponent are allowed.A wrestler’s hair may be contained in a legal hair cover. The legal hair cover, if worn, shall be attached to the ear guards. A bandanna is not considered a legal hair cover. The legal hair cover must be of a solid material and be nonabrasive. The wrestler opting to wear a legal hair cover must wear it to the weigh-in procedure and be checked for grooming with it on. The legal hair cover must be removed prior to the wrestler stepping on the scale to be weighed. If a referee is not present at weigh-ins, the hair cover must be checked by the meet referee upon arrival at the site.

Wrestlers that do not meet the requirement shall wear a face mask.All legal hair covers and face masks will be considered as special equipment.
Rationale:It is important to be cognizant about skin disease and keeping all involved safe. If there are any questionable areas on or around the face, we would inquire with the wrestler about a physician’s note or get input from the on-site approved health-care professional (AHCP) if one is present. If there is no on-site AHCP and no note, then we would deny the wrestler the opportunity to compete. The length of the facial hair does not have any influence on the referee’s decision.

5-13, 10-2-4 and 10-2-5 SECTIONS 13 and 2 FORFEIT/MEDICAL FORFEIT:
It shall be considered a forfeit when the opponent, for any reason fails to appear for a match. In order to receive a forfeit the wrestler shall be dressed in a legal wrestling uniform and appear on the mat.It shall be considered a medical forfeit when the opponent fails to appear for a match due to injury or illness that occurred during the tournament. This determination will be made by the Tournament Director.
Rationale:The term medical forfeit will better describe that the forfeit was due to injury or illness that occurred during the tournament. A medical forfeit would not count against the wrestler’s record.

ART. 4 . . . In case of injury or illness after verification of entries, the tournament director, in consultation with the designated, on-site meet, appropriate health-care professional(s) and the coach of the injured or ill contestant, shall determine the contestant’s ability to continue. Extenuating circumstances concerning the injury or illness as it relates to default,orforfeit or medical forfeitfor scoring purposes, shall be considered by the tournament director.
Rationale:By using a medical forfeit, it will clearly define that the wrestler was not able to report to the match due to injury or illness. Like regular forfeits the wrestler would not take a loss on their record.

ART. 5 . . . A forfeit shall eliminate a contestant from further competition in a tournament, except when the forfeit isdeemed a medical forfeitbecause of an injury or illness which occurred during the tournament.
Rationale:There is confusion when choosing an injury default versus a forfeit in tournament situations. Rule 5-7 defines a default when one of the competitors is unable to continue wrestling for any reason. Rule 5-13 defines a forfeit when the opponent, for any reason, fails to appear for a match. Using medical forfeit versus an injury default will better define when a wrestler shows a loss on their record. A default counts as a loss a forfeit does not.

Change: a. When down on the mat, the usual points of support are:

  1. the knee(s)
  2. the side of the thigh
  3. the buttocks
  4. the hand(s)
  5. the head
  6. foot/feet

Rationale:Feet are regularly supporting the wrestler’s weight during the match while on the mat. We allow a wrestler’s feet to be considered supporting points while in a near-fall situation. By adding it to the list of usual supporting points on the mat it will create more clarity and consistency for the wrestlers, coaches and officials. No higher rates of injury will occur with this addition.

ART. 2 . . . The wrestlers shall shake hands and the referee shall declare the winnerby raising the winning wrestler’s hand or raise the color wristband of the winning wrestler on their (referee’s) arm or have the winning wrestler raise their own arm.wrestler’s hand.
Rationale:Wrestling remains the only sport where it is required for the official to touch the student athlete as part of the post match/game procedure. There truly is no need for adult officials to contact the student athletes unless the health and safety of the athlete is in jeopardy. During the pandemic we adopted a number of protocols to help avoid the transmission of the disease, one of those was to no longer raise the hand of the wrestler, rather raise the color wristband of the wrestler who won, this was very successful and widely liked among officials. This is the end of match procedure would still indicate the winner and alleviate the requirement of the official from touching the athlete.