Wrestling Rules Committee makes recommendations

Recommendations from the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee were released today. The 2021-2022 season is a rule book year, so the committee has the opportunity to make significant changes that are only possible every other year. The exact wording of the new rules will have to wait for the Playing Rules Oversight Panel to accept or reject the recommendations of the committee and for the rule book to be published later this year.

There are eight rules recommendations for this year. The most impactful to the actual match itself is reconfiguring overtime. The first sudden victory period would double in length to two minutes. Also, a winner would be named at the end of the first set of tiebreakers if one wrestler had at least one second of riding time.

The second recommendation involving the actual conduct of the match would allow the referee to correct timing errors when that referee has reasonable knowledge of the correction that needs to be made. This is almost certainly in part areaction to the match between Josh Heil of Campbell and Boo Lewallen of Oklahoma State in the Division I Championships this year. Scrub to about 11:30 in this video to see the controversy. The clock did not run for the last seven seconds of the match. When this was discovered, the seven seconds were re-wrestled, and the outcome of the match changed. The proposed rule will potentially allow the officials to adjust the clock if they have enough information to do so. Read the whole description here. It is not clear that this change would have affected that specific match, but officials will possibly now have more flexibility to correct timing issues.

There is one more recommendation that does not affect the match itself, but it will likely have the largest impact of those remaining. This recommendation will allow a wrestler to weigh-in at a higher weight class one time, and rather than using the 1.5% weight loss per week rule, compete at the lower weight class after five days elapse. The final wording will be important here as it is not clear what a “one-time exemption” refers to. Is it one time per season, or does it mean a wrestler can weigh in up a weight once, but not twice in a row?

Other recommendations are as follows:

  • Moving weigh-ins to two hours or sooner before the start time of each day of competition in multiday individual or team advancement tournaments (currently, the second day is a one hour weigh-in)
  • Allowing referee video reviews (no coach challenges) for extra matches when those matches are held in conjunction with dual meet competitions
  • Allowing a 1-pound weight allowance on the second day of competition for all instances of back-to-back official team competition (currently, the allowance is only granted for consecutive dual meets, not a dual followed by a tournament)
  • Allowing referee video reviews (no coach challenges) for open tournaments. 
  • Defining, for the purposes of playing rules, that any event that allowed unattached wrestlers would be considered an open event

Lastly, the committee recommends continued education for coaches and officials regarding expectations and application of the neutral out-of-bounds stalling rule.

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