RULES INTERPRETATION MEETING FOLDER – 2013-2014
Forfeit Doesn’t Count Toward Daily Match Limit
Effective with the 2013-14 season, forfeits in high school wrestling will no longer count toward a wrestler’s daily match limit. Wrestlers are limited by rule to five matches in one day.
The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee adopted the change in Rule 1-4-3 after determining that a forfeit did not pose a risk to an athlete.
“The limit on the number of matches permitted in anyone calendar day was established as a safeguard to prevent any wrestler from undo fatigue, thus increasing the possibility of injury,” said Dale Pleimann, chair of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee and former assistant executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association. “Since there is no fatigue or exertion involved with accepting a forfeit, the committee felt that it was not necessary to count forfeits in the daily match total for any wrestler.”
Situation 1: In the consolation finals, the head coach of Wrestler A informs the referee that Wrestler B has already participated in five matches during the day, which included a forfeit, and is ineligible to wrestle in the consolation finals.
Ruling: The head coach is incorrect. Forfeits no longer count as matches wrestled when considering the limit of five matches in one day.
Therefore, Wrestler B is eligible to compete in the consolation finals.
Situation 2: Wrestler A received a forfeit in the pigtail round at the 106- pound weight class. Wrestler A is called to wrestle in the first round 30 minutes later. Wrestler A’s head coach informs the referee that his wrestler did not receive 45 minutes of rest before this match.
Ruling: The head coach is incorrect. Since Wrestler A received a forfeit, the mandatory 45-minute rest period does not apply.
Some Electronic Devices Now Allowed
Rules amended by the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee loosen the restrictions on the use of electronic recording.
Rules 1-1-3 and 10-1-2 now allow the use of electronic devices for video recording and review by the wrestler or coach unless prohibited by the state high school association. Also, the use of electronic devices that enables communication between a coach and contestant during a match is still prohibited (Rule 4-3-6).
Situation 1: During the match, the coach of Wrestler A is observed talking into (a) a tape recorder; (b) a tablet computer; or (c) a mobile phone.
Ruling: Legal in (a), (b) and (c) as long as it is not an electronic device that enables direct communication between the coach and his or her wrestler during a match.
Situation 2: The coach of Team A is using a two-way communication device to talk with an assistant coach who is watching several matches from a higher vantage point. Ruling: Legal. The use of an electronic communication device is permitted as long as it is not being used to communicate with a wrestler during a match.
Situation 3: During the match, the manager of Team A is observed video recording Team B’ s wrestler.
Ruling: Legal unless prohibited by the state high school association.
Delayed Implementation for Ear Guard Hair Cover Rule
Starting with the 2014-15 season, Rule 4-2-1 in the NFHS Wrestling Rules Book will note that if a hair cover is worn by a wrestler, it shall be attached to the ear guards. The intent of the rule change is to help maintain continuous action during competition.
If an individual has hair longer than allowed by rule, it must be contained in a cover. A 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. Currently, the cover shall either be a part of the ear guards or worn under the ear guards. It must also be of a solid material and be nonabrasive. A silk-type water polo cap could be used, but a rubberized cap would not be permissible because it would be abrasive. A bandanna type cover would be illegal also.
If the hair becomes uncovered during competition, a referee’s time- out may be declared for the purpose of correcting the situation that has become illegal through use. The correction of legal equipment is covered under Rule 3-1-5 and referees should use the same guidelines here as they would for any other legal equipment that becomes inoperative during competition.
Note that beginning with the 2014-15 wrestling season, the hair cover shall be attached to the ear guards.
Artificial Limbs Addressed
The NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee adopted a change to Rule 4-5 regarding weigh-ins. Specifically, the committee approved a new article concerning wrestlers who have been approved to wear an artificial limb.
Rule 4-5-9 states that any contestant who has been authorized to wear an artificial limb shall weigh-in with the artificial limb if the contestant chooses to wrestle with it on. Once a wrestler has weighed in with the artificial limb, it shall not be removed during competition.
With these revisions, competitors who have been approved by their state associations to wear an artificial limb have the option to wear or not to wear the artificial limb during competition, but must weigh-in accordingly.
“The concern was that if a wrestler weighed-in with an artificial limb (and) then decided to remove the artificial limb for the match, the wrestler’s weight without the artificial limb might not qualify the wrestler for that weight class,” said Dale Pleimann, chair of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee and former assistant executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association. “The changes require that if the wrestler weighs-in with an artificial limb, then the wrestler shall wear the artificial limb when competing.”
Situation: Wrestler A reports to the weigh-in with an artificial limb commencing from below the elbow and a permission letter from the state association ~ authorizing the wearing of this artificial limb. (a) The wrestler weighs in wearing the artificial limb, then later decides to wrestle without it; or (b) Weighs in without the artificial limb, then prior to the beginning of the match decides to wear the artificial limb during competition.
Ruling: In (a), it would be illegal to remove the artificial limb and wrestle without it since the wrestler weighed in with it. In (b), the wrestler could not compete wearing the artificial limb. To wear an artificial limb during competition, it is required that one must weigh-in with the device. The wrestler would either have to compete without the artificial limb or not compete.
Note also that when an individual wrestles with a portion of the arm missing, the referee must make certain allowances for the starting position. As long as the wrestler with the amputated arm is attempting to establish legal positioning, there would be no violation.
Changes Address Bad Time
An addition to Rule 5-1-1 allows for bad time if a wrestler is not given the choice of position after a two-point stalling penalty.
In addition, Rule 6-6-2d was approved and adds” after a two-point stalling penalty” as an instance when an error occurs in positioning wrestlers that would result in canceled points during bad time.
Situation 1: Wrestler B is warned for stalling right after the first period has started. Later in the first period, Wrestler B is penalized for an illegal hold/ maneuver and Wrestler A is awarded one match point (First Penalty). At the start of the second period, Wrestler B is penalized again for an illegal hold/ maneuver and Wrestler A is awarded one match point (Second Penalty). Later in the second period, Wrestler B is penalized for stalling in the defensive position and Wrestler A is awarded two match points (Third Penalty). On the next restart in the second period, Wrestler A was not given the choice of position after the two-point stalling penalty.
Ruling: Wrestler A should have been given the choice of position on the next restart during the second period after the two-point stalling penalty on Wrestler B. In this situation, bad time would be applied since Wrestler A did not get his/her choice of position on the next restart.
Situation 2: During the third period, there is a rapid exchange of control, and in accordance with the rules, the referee signals the points as earned. At one point, the wrestlers go out of bounds with 30 seconds remaining in the period. As they return to the center of the mat, the coach of Wrestler A realizes the period started with A getting the choice of position and had also started the second period with A getting the choice of position. This matter is called to the attention of the referee.
Ruling: If the referee and scorers agree an error has been made, then bad time will be called and the wrestlers will be given a one- minute rest and the entire third period will be re-wrestled with the proper contestant getting the choice of starting position. Any points, penalties, or injury time that occurred during bad time shall be voided with the following exceptions: flagrant misconduct, unsportsmanlike conduct, unnecessary roughness, illegal holds/maneuvers, and blood time.
Rule 1-1-2: Eliminated “allow and otherwise illegal piece of equipment” and changed “create risk” to “heightened risk”.
Rule 1-1-3: Changed “videotaping or filming” to “video recording” is authorized.
Rule 1-2-2c and 1-3-4c: Changed “traditional order” to “sequential order”.
Rule 1-4-2: Added for all matches, net weight shall be required. No additional weight allowance is permitted, except as stated in Rule 4-4 and 4-5.
Rule 1-4-3: Now reads “No wrestler shall represent the school in more than one weight class in any meet or wrestle in more than five matches (championship or consolation) excluding forfeits in any one day of competition.
Rule 2-1-5: Diagrams added the minimum dimensions.
Rule 2-4-1: Changed “scales for weighing in contestants of both teams shall be provided by the home management to “scales for weighing in contestants of all teams and all contestants shall be provided by the home management.
Rule 5-5-1 and 7-5-4: Coach misconduct occurs when a coach improperly questions the referee at the scorer’s table.
Rule 5-5-2: Added the phrase “at the scorer’s table” in two places.
Rule 5-15-2a5: Added the word “head” to the list of possible supporting points.
Rule 5-21-1: Random draw is the random selection of one of the 14 weight classes (15 in NY), to determine the starting weigh-in order in order of weight classes for the dual meet. A random draw for championship final matches for an individual tournament, regular season and/or state champion high school series maybe used for competition. The draw shall take place immediately preceding the weigh-ins and be supervised by the Referee or other authorized person. The weight class drawn will be considered an odd match and will determine which weight class will start weigh-ins and the dual meet with the other weight class following in the sequential order.
Rule 5-29-2 and 7-4-1: Added “penalty points for unnecessary roughness shall be awarded in addition to points earned”.
Rule 5-30-3: Now states “it is the home team administration’s or tournament director’s/designee’s responsibilities to ensure a spectator is removed when directed by the referee”
Rule 6-2-4: Changed “visually handicapped wrestlers to “wrestlers with visual impairments”. Also edited Photo 36.
Rule 8-2-1c: Under the list of exceptions for stopping the match to warn or penalize the offensive wrestler for stalling or a technical violation when the defensive wrestler is on their feet the following statement has been added “regardless of the position/location of the offensive wrestler”.
Rule 8-2-2: Which formerly read “in case of an intentional attempt to injure an opponent, the offender shall be disqualified”. The rule now states, “the offender shall be penalized for flagrant misconduct”.
Rule 9-2-2a: The rule formerly read “the team whose opposing wrestlers or team personal has been penalized the greater number of team points for flagrant or unsportsmanlike conduct shall be determined the winner”. The word “misconduct” was added after the word “flagrant”.
Rule 9-2-2o: Last year read “the teams whose opponent has the greater number of points for all other infractions (i.e. false starts) shall be declared the winner. The rule now reads “the team who has the greater number of penalties for all other infractions (i.e. false starts) shall be declared the winner”.
Editorial Changes to Illustrations
Photo 18: added “that the knees cannot be in contact with the opponent”.
Photo 49: added “as the arm is not encircled”.
Photo 83: now reads “the back bow is illegal as illustrated by application when the pressure is toward the head, whether the defensive wrestler is on his /her stomach or hip”.
Photo 91: added “the right hand/arm of the defender is limp and is an indicator that the wrestler is in distress”.
Corrections to 2013-2014 Wrestling Rules Book
Rule 9-2-2b: Now reads “the teams whose head coach has been penalized the greater number of team points for coach misconduct shall be declared the winner”.
Should read “the teams whose opposing head coach has been penalized the greater number of team points for coach misconduct shall be declared the winner”.
New York State Wrestling Interpretation Handbook
Rule 10-1-2, Page 34: Delete the paragraph dealing with videotaping. Video recording is now allowed even if it is for reviewing during competition.
Note: Rule 3-1-8: Still applies. The referee shall not use TV monitoring, replay or other video equipment in making decisions related to the match.
The Program of wrestling on page 3 states that the Wrestling Communicable Skin Disease Form can only be signed by a MD or DO. The physician name line also references MD or DO in parentheses under the line. However, the additional note on the form in bold type refers to a Physician, Physician Assistant or a Nurse Practitioner therefore skin forms signed by any of those three will be accepted.
2013-14 Points of Emphasis
Here are the 2013-14 Points of Emphasis as identified by the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee
Communicable skin conditions are a major concern in wrestling. With MRSA and Herpes Gladitorium outbreaks recently, the concern is greater than ever. If a participant has a suspected skin condition, NFHS rules require current, written documentation from an appropriate health-care professional stating the athlete’s participation would not be harmful to an opponent.
The NFHS has developed a form that can be used for that documentation and several state associations have adopted that form for use in their state. Regardless of the form used, it is imperative that ALL coaches perform routine skin checks of their wrestlers and require any wrestlers with a suspect condition to seek medical attention and treatment.
It is also imperative that ALL referees perform skin checks as part of their pre- meet duties prior to EVERY dual meet and tournament. If there is a suspect condition, the wrestler, or coach MUST present the proper clearance form at the weigh-in for the dual meet or tournament in order to be allowed to compete.
One of the keys in preventing the spread of communicable skin conditions is coaches and referees fulfilling their responsibilities professionally. It is, however, only one of the keys.
The other, an equally important key, is proper prevention. While prevention can be complicated, it requires that a few basic steps be taken by ALL involved in the sport.
- Educate coaches, athletes and parents about communicable skin conditions and how they are spread.
- Clean wrestling mats daily with a solution of 1:100 bleach and water or an appropriate commercial cleaner.
- Maintain proper ventilation in the wrestling room to prevent the build-up of heat and humidity.
- Clean all workout gear after each practice including towels, clothing, headgear, shoes, knee pads, etc.
- Require each wrestler to shower after each practice and competition with an antibacterial soap. Do not share bars of soap. Use individual soap dispensers.
- Perform daily skin checks to ensure early recognition of potential communicable skin conditions.
- Refrain from sharing razors or other personal hygiene supplies.
It is a coach’s professional responsibility to insure that skin clearance forms presented by his or her wrestlers are legitimate and reflect the athlete’s true condition. Coaches and referees are vital elements in controlling communicable skin diseases. Coaches and referees must err on the side of what is best for the health of all involved in the sport when dealing with communicable skin diseases.
Referees are the last line of defense in keeping wrestlers with communicable skin diseases off the mat. The safety of all who step on any competition’s mat(s) is at stake. Coaches must realize that referees would not be placed in a position to make difficult participation decisions as often if coaches would check all of their wrestlers each day.
Covering an active infection does not meet the requirements of the skin lesion rule. This includes practice as well as matches. Cold sores are considered a skin lesion and are subject to the communicable skin disease rules.
Skin Checks and Weigh-Ins in Multiple-Day Competitions Skin Checks
According to Rule 3-1-4, the referee has the duty of meeting with each team to inspect each contestant for presence of oils or greasy substances on the body or uniform, rosin, objectionable pads, improper clothing, all jewelry, long fingernails, improper grooming, skin condition, health and safety measures.
In reference to multiple-day competitions, communicable disease “skin checks” shall take place at weigh-ins each day. Checking skin on the first day only is not an acceptable practice regarding the communicable disease detection procedure.
Similarly, it is everybody’s responsibility (coaches, referees, appropriate health-care professionals and tournament administrators) to see to it that all wrestlers are competing in an infection- free environment.
Weigh-ins for team-advancement tournaments shall proceed through the weight classes beginning with the random draw selected weight class, either by weight classes or by teams. Weigh-ins will continue through the weight classes, wrap around the 106-pound weight class and end immediately upon completion of the highest weight class preceding the random draw selected weight class.
With team-advancement tournaments that evolve into individually-bracketed events or in which there are individual awards, only one wrestler may weigh-in per weight class. If it is a multiple-day competition, the same wrestlers (no substitutes) must weigh-in at the same weight classes each day. They cannot move up or down a weight class.
In team-advancement tournaments that do not evolve into individually- bracketed events and there are no individual awards, more than one wrestler may weigh-in at each weight class. All wrestlers must weigh in each day of the multiple-day event and they must weigh-in at the same weight class each day of the event.
NOTE: A wrestler is only eligible for two weight classes during a multiple-day, team- advancement tournament.
The end-of-match procedure is a sportsmanship act and also a means of recognizing the winner of the contest. When a match ends in a fall, the referee calls the contestants to the center of the mat, has them shake hands, and then raises the arm of the winner. If the match is not determined by fall, the referee may direct the contestants to remain in the ten-foot circle so that he/she can verify the final score. Once the score is verified, the referee will return to the center of the mat, direct the contestants to shake hands and then raise the arm of the winner.
In either case, the manner of the handshake shall be in the form of a firm, traditional and respectful handshake and free of displays of unsportsmanlike behavior.
Unsportsmanlike behaviors could include, but are not limited to any form of taunting of the opponent or spectators, as well as acts of excessive celebration or displeasure with the outcome of the match.
It is imperative that coaches instruct their wrestlers to offer a firm handshake and to provide a respectful acknowledgement of their opponents. Fist bumps, high fives, hand slaps, etc., are not acceptable.
Referees need to be aware that unsportsmanlike conduct is to be penalized whenever it occurs regardless of the circumstances.
Assistant Referee Responsibilities
The use of an assistant referee is becoming more and more prevalent. The use of an assistant referee is encouraged because when more than one person is involved, they can do a better job observing action on the mat and thus help eliminate errors in judgment, application or interpretation of the rules.
However, the criticism is that the assistant referee appears not to be actively engaged in the matches and, at times, seems to be bored. This criticism often occurs during critical situations when the assistant referee is not in position to lend the intended assistance to the referee.
The assistant referee should not take a match lightly. Likewise, the referee should not take the assistant referee’s responsibilities lightly during a match. If used properly, the assistant referee can be very beneficial in reducing the possibility of error in judgment and/ or rules application. When an assistant referee is being used, the referee is in control of the match and is the only one who can award points or call a fall. In order for the match to run as smoothly as possible, verbal communications between the referee and the assistant are necessary.
The only visual signal that the assistant referee should use is when the offensive wrestler is locking hands or either wrestler is grasping clothing and the match referee does not observe it.
When the assistant referee disagrees with the referee, they should communicate with each other immediately in a professional manner. The referee will avoid interrupting the match when significant action is in progress.
It is not uncommon for a referee to stop the match when there is no significant action, and ask the assistant referee for their opinion on what may have just occurred. In such instances, the referee and the assistant shall meet on the edge of the mat away from the scorer’s table to have a brief discussion about the situation. If there is disagreement between the two, the decision of the referee shall prevail.
Should there be any change of scoring, timing, etc.; the referee will inform the scorer’s table and coaches of these changes.
The referee, assistant referee and the two wrestlers are the only individuals permitted on the wrestling mat. Coaches are permitted to address the referee only, but should never communicate with the assistant referee.
More and more we see officials in other sports huddling together to discuss a potential error. This huddling does not mean that an official is at fault; it could simply mean that he/she was in a position that did not allow the action to be seen. As a result of a conference, the right call can be made if an error did, in fact, occur.
Flashback: 2012-13 Rule Changes
Here is a review of rule changes made by the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee for the 2012-13 season that are still in force for 2013-14.
Stalling (8-2 Penalty Chart)
In addition to the two-point penalty assessed for a 2 point stalling violation, the opponent has his or her choice of position on the next restart.
The change was to Rule 8-2 Penalty Chart.
Choice of starting position (8-2-1 h)
If the second injury time-out is taken at the conclusion of the first 30-second tiebreaker period and the opponent already has the choice at the beginning of the second 30-second tiebreaker period, the opponent has the added choice at the first restart after the beginning of the second 30-second tiebreaker period.
Uniforms (4-1-1a, 4-3-5)
Reference to a sleeveless shirt fastened at the crotch was eliminated, since such a garment has not been manufactured for several years.
A sleeveless t-shirt under the one- piece singlet is allowed if the referee approves it. That shirt must be of a single, solid color unadorned with no more than one manufacturer’s logo/trademark/ reference.
Wrestlers may not wear wristbands, sweatbands or bicep bands. Properly reporting to the scorer’s table wearing wristbands, sweatbands or bicep bands is considered illegal equipment resulting in a technical violation.
Tournament Advancement (10-2-9)
If two wrestlers in the championship bracket simultaneously cannot continue the match due to both being disqualified for stalling or having their injury or blood time elapse, the wrestler who is leading on points at the time the match is terminated will continue in the consolation bracket. If the match is tied at the time of termination, neither wrestler will continue.
(1-2-2a, 1-3-4a, 4-5-3, 5-21-1)
The dual meet weigh-in procedure is aligned with the random draw, providing maximum preparation and warm-up time for the first contestants scheduled to compete in a dual meet. Also, the definition of a random draw was subject to an editorial change.
The random draw shall take place immediately preceding the weigh-ins, rather than following the conclusion of weigh-ins.
Dual meet weigh-in shall proceed through the weight classes beginning with the random draw selected weight class, continue through the weight classes, wrap around to the 106 weight class and end immediately upon the completion of the highest weight class preceding the random draw selected weight class.
By definition, the weight class drawn first will be considered an odd match and will determine which weight class will start weigh-ins and the dual meet with the other weight classes following in the sequential order.
The random draw is the random selection of one of the 14 weight classes to determine the starting weigh-in order and order of weight classes for the dual meet. A random draw for championship final matches for an individual tournament, regular season and/ or state high school championship series may be used for competition. The draw shall take place immediately preceding the weigh-ins and be supervised by the referee or other authorized person.
Tourney Bracket Format Revised (10-3-6, 10-3-7)
Tournament directors have the option to start consolation rounds with contestants who were defeated by the winners of each first-round match or with contestants defeated by the winner of each quarterfinal match. At the conclusion of the championship semifinals, the losers of all those semifinals may be cross-bracketed into the consolation semifinals.
How consolation matches are bracketed is dependent on the tournament bracket follow plan that is used.
Penalty, Near Fall Points (5-11-2i)
When an imminent or near-fall situation is stopped due to defensive wrestler committing a technical violation, applying an illegal hold/ maneuver, committing unnecessary roughness or an unsportsmanlike act which cannot be corrected and the referee is required to stop the match, the match will be stopped and a penalty point(s) shall be awarded in addition to the near fall points in accordance with other near- fall criteria.
Note: The extra points will be awarded even if the match stoppage is delayed or the period ends. The intent of this rule is to give extra penalty points to discourage defensive wrestlers from committing infractions to get out of a pinning situation.
In bounds and Out of Bounds (5-15-1)
Contestants are considered to be inbounds if all the supporting points of either wrestler are inside or on the boundary lines.
Determining Out of Bounds During a Pinning Situation
Rule 5-15-2b: When the defensive wrestler in on their back while the supporting points of either wrestler are in bounds, wrestling shall continue. As long as there is a possibility of the offensive wrestler bringing the opponent back into the inbounds area. In this situation any part of the defensive wrestler’s shoulder or scapula is considered to be “ALL” the supporting points.
Wrestling shall continue as long as ALL the supporting points of either wrestler remains inbounds.
Example: During a near-fall situation the offensive wrestler has a supporting point out of bounds, wrestling could continue as long as any part of a shoulder or scapula of the defensive wrestler remains in bounds.
If there is no action at the edge of the mat and one wrestler is out of bounds, the referee MAY stop the match.
Defensive wrestler is considered to be on their back when the shoulders are beyond 90 degrees.