Wrestling - Rules & Regulations

Rules and Regulations

Forfeits No Longer Affect Wrestler’s One-day Limit

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 25, 2013) — Effective with the 2013-14 season, forfeits in high school wrestling will no longer count toward a wrestler’s daily match limit. Currently, wrestlers are limited by rule to five matches in one day.

This change in Rule 1-4-2 was one of five rules changes made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee at its April 8-10 meeting in Indianapolis. The changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The limit on the number of matches permitted in any one 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 match total for any wrestler.”

In other revisions, the committee altered Rules 1-1-4 and 10-1-2 to 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 athlete during a match is still prohibited (Rule 4-3-6).

In Rule 4-5 regarding weigh-ins, the committee approved a new article concerning wrestlers who have been approved to wear an artificial limb. Rule 4-5-9 states that the wrestler must weigh-in with the artificial limb if he or she chooses to wrestle with it on. In addition, once the wrestler has weighed in while wearing the artificial limb, it cannot 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,” Pleimann said. “The changes require that if the wrestler weighs-in with an artificial limb, then the wrestler shall wear the artificial limb when competing.”

The committee approved an addition to Rule 5-1-1 that 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.

In other revisions approved by the committee, Rule 4-2-1 states that starting with the 2014-15 season, if a hair cover is worn by a wrestler, it shall be attached to the ear guards. The intent of this rule change is to help maintain continuous action during competition.

“The Rules Committee feels that the sport of high school wrestling is in very good shape and, therefore, made only a few minor changes to the rules for the 2013-14 season,” Pleimann said.

Wrestling is the sixth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 272,149 participants in 10,407 schools during the 2011-12 season, according to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey. In addition, 8,235 girls were involved in wrestling in 1,441 high schools.

Printable Version - Print and place in your rules book for reference.

A. Weigh-in must be conducted shoulder-to-shoulder within the specified weigh-in period by a licensed referee who is officiating the varsity or JV match that day.

B. A student disqualified from a contest for flagrant or unsportsmanlike conduct is suspended from interscholastic competition for no less than the next competitive event (but not less than one complete game or meet).
C. An athlete who is ineligible for participation due to flagrant or unsportsmanlike conduct, athletic and/or academic code violations or is ineligible for any other reason shall not be allowed in uniform or to participate in pre-meet warm-ups or any pre-meet activity, including weigh-ins, during the period of ineligibility. Violation of this provision will result in the deletion of all individual and team points for that weight class and the wrestler will be subject to suspensions outlined in B (above).
D. A maximum of one pound allowance shall be granted for successive days of wrestling regardless of the number of successive events or number of schools.
E. Coaches are required to provide the referee a written line-up prior to weigh-ins. All actual weights are to be recorded by the referee on the line provided, and once recorded, can not bec hanged or deleted even if the wrestler does not compete. Anyone for whom an actual weight is not recorded is not eligible to wrestle.
F. Growth allowance will be two pounds on Dec. 25 and one additional pound on both Feb. 1 and March 1. 
G. It shall be considered unsportsmanlike to attempt to conceal a contagious skin condition. Any wrestler involved in such attempts shall not be allowed to wrestle that day.

H. Covering a communicable skin condition is not acceptable and does not make the wrestler eligible to participate. An on-site meet physician may override the diagnosis of the physician, PA (physician assistant) or an APNP (advance practice nurse prescriber) that has signed the physician's release form for a wrestler to participate. Also, an on site LAT (licensed athletic trainer) may make the final determination if a wrestler can or cannot wrestle, even if the wrestler presents a skin form signed by one of the above. An LAT cannot diagnose, but can determine if the condition is contagious.
I. The on-mat official for varsity competition shall make the final determination relative to skin condition concerns for varsity matches. The on-mat official for sub-varsity competition shall make the final determination relative to skin condition concerns for sub-varsity matches.
J. Seeding meetings shall not begin until weigh-ins are completed and all entries are identified by weight class.
K. The following modifications to injury timeouts will be used in all competition:
1. In absence of certified medical personnel (physician and/or certified trainer), injuries to the head and neck involving cervical column and/or nervous system will be covered by the same time frame as other injuries.
2. When certified medical personnel are present, they have jurisdiction to extend the allowed time limit to a maximum of four minutes for evaluation of the injury, at which time the athlete would be required to prepare without delay for continuation or default the match.
3. A second occurrence of cervical column and/or central nervous system injuries inthe same match shall require the wrestler to default the match.
L. Teams with ONLY grade 9 students:
* The determination of weight classes for grade 9 competition shall be left to the discretion of participating schools, and it is strongly recommended that there be as many matches as available contestants.
* The maximum weight differential, regardless of the weight classes used shall be:(a) 10 pounds for all classes through 145 points, (b) 12 pounds for all weight classes over 145 pounds through 190 pounds, and (c) 30 pounds for any two wrestlers weighing more than 190 pounds. If the weight differential prevents a match over 190 pounds, there are not forfeit points involved.
* There are no certified minimum weight programs.
* Conferences may adopt a twice-a-season weigh-in procedure in place of shoulder-to-shoulder weigh-ins prior to each match. This procedure does not apply to nonconference matches.
* First period is one minute long and second and third periods two minutes long each. The second and third periods may be shortened in (a) dual competition by mutual consent, and (b) multiple-school meets by a majority sentiment.
M. Nonvarsity teams shall be allowed to wear old varsity uniforms which are now unapproved because of a recent NFHS uniform rule change provided participant safety is not in jeopardy.
N. Schools are required to follow the clean uniform rule.  Along with school names and/or mascots, all uniforms may be allowed to include the first and/or last name(s) of the athlete one time on the uniform.  Names must be displayed in a sportsmanlike manner and location.  In addition, no sayings, cliches, advertisements, etc., of any kind will be allowed on the uniform.  Manufacturer's logos and commemorative patches will be allowed as described by Rule 4-1-2 in the NFHS Wrestling Rules Book.  All commemorative patches must be approved by the WIAA and meet appropriate size restrictions.  Middle school wrestlers may wear gym shorts and a t-shirt.  This can be worn over the top of their singlet or worn with compression shorts or a tight-fitting undergarment.  If gym shorts are worn, they must be fastened around the wrestler's waist and t-shirts must be tight-fitting,

O.  There is no penalty associated with lowering of shoulder straps.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to Wisconsin 7 percent guidelines and state adaptations with respect to growth allowance dates, Federation rule 1-3-2a& b is not applicable.

The assumption of the rules change is to not allow a defensive wrestler the opportunity to commit an illegal hold, unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike act in order to negate possible near-fall points or a fall.
Whenever a match is stopped, the addition of a near-fall point(s)and the penalty point shall be awarded. Stoppage is defined as: 1)stopping the match due to the penalty (The match need not be stopped unless the referee finds it necessary to do so to protect the wrestler); 2) going out of bounds; or 3) period ends.
When near-fall criteria is imminent and a penalty point is to be given, the award will be two points for imminent near-fall and one point for the penalty. Should near-fall criteria be met, as defined in Rule 5-2-4 and a penalty point is to be given, the award will be three points for meeting near-fall criteria and one point for the penalty.Should near-fall criteria be met for a period of five seconds, as defined in Rule 5-2-6 and a penalty point is to be given, the award will be four points for meeting the five-second count and one point for the penalty. Also, if the referee is making a delayed penalty call and the defensive wrestler maneuvers out of criteria (such as bellying down) or the offensive wrestler continues on to earn a two- or three-piont near fall, the penalty point is to be awarded, as is the additional near-fall point.
This addition of this language promotes the philosophy that should a defensive wrestler commit an illegal act, have an injury or bleeds then the opponent shall receive points earned plus the addition of a near-fall point or in the case of meeting the imminent near-fall criteria, two points, plus a point for the infraction that stopped the match or the match was otherwise stopped.


The offended wrestler may receive a minimum of two near-fall points and a penalty point for a total of three near-fall points, or a maximum of four near-fall points and a penalty point for a total of five points. Should the penalty sequence (8-1-3) come into play, the offending wrestler may also be disqualified.

Award Summary

NF Pts. Penalty Total Pts. Awarded
NF (5-2-5f) -- 2 (Penalty); 1 (total points); 3 (Awarded)
NF (5-2-5g) -- 3 (Penalty); 1 (total points); 4 (Awarded)
NF (5-2-5h) -- 4 (Penalty); 1 (total points); 5 (Awarded)


Technical Violation (Rule 7-3-2) ? Going out of the wrestling area or forcing an opponent out of the wrestling area by either wrestler to avoid wrestling is considered a technical violation. It should be noted that in a recent NFHS rules interpretation release,that it was determined that a penalty point for this violation will be awarded in "addition to" any other points earned. Of course, penalty points shall not be awarded in situations where near-fall points have been earned. Most officials throughout Wisconsin have not handled this violation in that manner. The recent example cited was that a wrestler who is about to be taken down intentionally goes out to bounds in an attempt to avoid the take down. The take down is successfully completed as both feet finish in bounds and control has been established. The referee now awards two points take down and one point for the technical violation. The take down does not nullify the technical violation. This interpretation is consistent with other technical violations such as grasping of clothing, locked hands, and figure fou raround the head in a neutral position. Points are awarded in addition to the point for the technical violation.
Near Fall Points ? (Rule 5-2-5 f, g, h) ? There has been some confusion and misinterpretation in regard to the application of the rule regarding the awarding of near-fall points when the defensive wrestler commits an illegal hold, technical violation, unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct. Keep in mind that it is not the intent of this rule to take the defensive wrestler off his back unless you feel it is necessary in order to prevent injury to either wrestler. Proper communication by the official to the wrestlers will usually avoid stopping the match during the near-fall situation. Should you have to take a wrestler off his back due to repeated unnecessary roughness or repeated unsportsmanlike conduct, the official could easily be justified in calling flagrant misconduct at that point.
If wrestling is stopped just prior to near fall criteria being met,then the offensive wrestler has earned a 2 point NF in addition to the penalty point. (3 points total) If wrestling is stopped once criteria has been met but prior to the five second count, then the wrestler has earned a 3 pt. NF in addition to the penalty point. (4 points total) If wrestling is stopped after a 3 pt. NF has been earned (five second count), then a 4 point NF will be awarded in addition to the penalty point (5 points total).
The majority of time the official will not stop the match once criteria has been met. In other words, when the near fall situation has ended, then the match will be stopped and the points will be awarded as described above. Just because you did not take the defensive wrestler off his back does not nullify this rule. They have earned and will be awarded the maximum number of points as described above.

The Wrestler's Diet booklet - Print and distribute to your wrestlers

Nutrition Diary Information
Weight Loss Information
Food Guide Pyramid - New 2012-13
High Carb Menus - New 2012-13
Five Minute Meals - New 2012-13

Sports Nutrition Quiz - New 2012-13

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