The time sequence for the offensive wrestler in assuming the offensive starting position was standardized with the addition of a note to Rule 5-20-5.
First, the wrestler must set the knee(s) and feet.
Second, the wrestler must place the palm of one hand on the navel.
Third, the wrestler must place the palm of the other hand on or over the near elbow.
Fourth, the referee shall pause momentarily before starting wrestling.
This rule change is meant to provide consistency for coaches, wrestlers and referees. While each action is currently standard practice, there has not been a written sequence of those events in the NFHS Wrestling Rules Book.”These changes provide further rules support based on interpretations,” said Bob Colgate, assistant director of the NFHS and liaison to the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee. “The clarifications make the rules easier to administer.”
With an emphasis on sportsmanship, the committee approved two rules changes meant to encourage sportsmanlike conduct by wrestlers and coaches. An addition to Rule 6-7-1c6 states that an unsportsmanlike act that occurs at anytime during the match shall take precedence over the first points scored in the regulation match in determining choice of position in the ultimate tiebreaker. So the wrestler whose opponent has received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at any time during the match will now have choice of position in the ultimate tiebreaker.
In addition, a change to Rule 5-31-1 removes the penalty for coaches whose wrestlers report to the scorer’s table not in proper uniform, not properly groomed, not properly equipped or not ready to wrestle.
The addition of Rule 7-1-5w makes a back flip from a standing position an illegal maneuver. The rule was added as an effort to minimize risk to all wrestlers.
“Any time you’re dealing with risk minimization in wrestling, it’s paramount,” Colgate said. “Someone could have been seriously injured if we did not take that initiative.”
The committee also addressed the issue of skin conditions. A revision to Rule 4-2-3 allows an on-site physician to examine a wrestler with a particular skin condition without a physician’s release form immediately after the weigh-in. A new Rule 4-2-5 allows a physician’s release form for a non-communicable skin condition, such as a birthmark or eczema, to be valid for the duration of the season, with some stipulations.
The committee also approved the following rules changes:
* A change to Rule 2-2-2 clarifies the boundary for the restricted zone for coaches.
* A revision to Rule 4-1-5 requires the wrestler’s uniform to be worn as intended/designed by the manufacturer. This change gives rules support to a previous NFHS interpretation.