New rules for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 seasons were recently published on the NCAA website. A link to the full update appears below, but some of the highlights include:
- Facial hair is permitted up to 1/2 inch long, provided a proper skin check can be done
- Wrestler can choose top, bottom, or neutral in a tiebreaker. Previously, one wrestler chose top or bottom for the first 30 seconds, and then the position was reversed in the second
- Open tournaments may once again have high school entries. Matches against high schoolers will not count on the season record form
- A wrestler may wrestle a maximum of six matches in one day (forfeits do not count against the limit)
- Mandatory 30 minute rest between matches (rest time was just a suggestion previously)
- When a referee is executing a count for a drop-down, and the defensive wrestler is in the process of scoring, the wrestling action can continue and the defensive wrestler afforded the opportunity to score. Once the scoring opportunity has passed, the stall call can then be issued.
The biggest change is the new neutral danger zone takedown. If a wrestler in the neutral position is stopped with his back at less than a 90 degree angle, a count will commence. If the official gets to three before the wrestler improves out of the position, a takedown will be awarded to the opponent. This will take some getting used to for wrestlers, coaches, and officials, and the first few weeks of the season will be interesting.
Notably missing from the final rules was the proposal to eliminate the requirement that wrestlers wear headgear. That proposal did not get past the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.