Q – Shoelaces must be secured in an acceptable fashion. What is an “acceptable fashion?”
A – At a minimum, shoelaces must be double knotted. If they are double knotted and they become untied, it is stalling. Laces may be individually taped, or they may be jointly taped, or taped to the shoe. They may also be secured in a locking device. In the locking device, if they become visible there is no penalty. If they become visible and untied it is stalling. The untied part means they were not properly secured.
Q – So why are they illegal if double knotted and become untied?
A – The NFHS wants to deter wrestlers from only double knotting. However, if they decide to “roll the dice” and take a chance that they become untied, and they do, it is stalling.
Q – If taped shoe laces become undone, is it stalling?
A – If the tape becomes undone it is not considered stalling. It will be an official’s time out to correct the situation. Why? It is considered legal equipment that has become illegal through use. However, anytime the tape becomes undone and the lace(s) untied, stalling will be called.
Q: If a wrestler's shoelaces were double knotted and not taped at the beginning of the match and become untied during the match, can the wrestler request to tape them after retying them?
A: Yes, the wrestler would be warned or called for stalling and may then retie and / or tape them.
Q: If a wrestler decides to retie his shoelaces during an injury or blood time out, is it stalling?
A: No, as long as it is during the injury or blood time out and there is no delay in restarting the match, the wrestler would not be penalized for stalling.
Q – If a wrestler reports to the mat with shoelaces not properly secured, is it stalling?
A – As in the past, it is still a technical violation. Reporting to the scorer’s table not properly equipped, or not ready to wrestle. This of course is a 1 point penalty, a time out, and the time used to properly secure them is recorded. After the wrestlers are properly checked in at the scorer’s table, anything dealing with shoelaces not being properly secured falls under “stalling”.
Q – Is it legal to secure shoe laces by putting a sleeve around the entire shoe that covers the shoe laces?
A – No it is not. Sleeves are illegal, and this is not considered an “acceptable fashion” to secure laces.
Q – What is a good way to be pro-active and help prevent anyone from being penalized due to shoelaces”?
A – This should be addressed in the pre-meet locker room talk that all officials have prior to the onset of competition. Encourage all athletes to double knot their laces, as well as individually tape them, or jointly tape them, or tape them around the shoe, or secure them in a locking device. If this is done, being called for stalling due to shoelaces should be a non-issue.