Wrestling Rules Committee Recommends Four Point Near Fall, Stalling Clarification

The NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee has released the recommendations that will be sent to the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel for implementation in the 2015-2016 season. You can read the official release below, but here is a summary of the potential (but very likely) rule changes for next season.

1. Clarification of the drop down stalling rule. The top wrestler will be warned for stalling when moving both hands to his opponent’s legs for five continuous seconds. This rule was in place for 2014-2015, but it was inconsistently enforced. This clarification aims to make it a more objective call.

2. Clarification of neutral stalling. Any out of bounds call in the neutral position must be accompanied by one of the following: Stalling for intentionally going out of bounds, stalling for pushing or pulling the opponent out of bounds, no call because wrestling was taking place. This is not a push out or step out rule, and it will be interesting to see how it is called and how the call changes throughout the season. There is significant judgment to be exercised in this situation, and it seems likely that some officials will make minimal, if any, adjustment to their current way of calling stalling.

3. Change in near fall points. Putting an opponent in a near fall position for two or three seconds will result in a two point near fall, while putting a wrestler in a near fall position for four seconds will result in a four point near fall. The three point near fall has been eliminated along with the five second requirement.

4. Separating “control of mat area” and “questioning the official” in the penalty sequence. Read the release for more details about this minor change. The only question is whether control of mat area will be more rigorously enforced now that it is separate. Here is an example of an unpenalized violation of control of mat area.

control of mat area

5. Interlocking fingers in neutral. First instance is called potential dangerous. Subsequent instances will be called stalling on the wrestler who initiates the position.

6. Eliminating the four point tech fall. The wording is not especially clear, but it seems like all tech falls will be treated equally whether or not the winning wrestler scored a near fall.

7. Referee’s position. The referee will wait a minimum of one second between saying “set” to the top wrestler and blowing the whistle. This standardizes the start of wrestling and attempts to eliminate rolling and quick starts.

8. The NWCA All-Star Classic will experiment with takedowns being worth three points.

There is also information about the potential for changing the way tournaments are scored to be closer to dual meet scoring.

Wrestling Rules Committee recommends making two experimental rules permanent