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Instant replay: Breaking down the rules of wrestling

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Instant replay: Breaking down the rules of wrestling
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Instant Replay is a new weekly column which will appear in Sunday's Detroit Lakes Tribune. It will be written and be headed by Terry Eiter, the President and Assigner of the Referee Association. Each week, he will write out a real occurrence during a sporting event and explain the ruling. Also included at times will be new rules and "points of emphasis"?in sports.


This column is for readers to grasp a better understanding of the rules of their favorite sports. Readers can ask Eiter questions about certain rules or about a play which occurred during a prep athletic event by emailing him at

With the 2008-09 wrestling season well under way, we'll take a look at what is new this year.

The National Federation of State High School Associations had 15 rule changes or revisions for the wrestling sport.

There are four Points of Emphasis as well: 1) Grooming and Medical Care, 2) Reporting to the Scorer's Table Ready to Wrestle, 3) Going Out of the Wrestling Area and 4) Referee's Signals and Mechanics.

Some of the rule revisions are:

n The uniform is to be worn as intended, which provides "uniformity" in how all competitors look.

n A back flip from the standing position is now an illegal maneuver.

n Head coaches will no longer be penalized for wrestlers that report to the scorers table not in proper uniform, not properly groomed, not properly equipped or not ready to wrestle.

n Unnecessary roughness now includes a forceful slap to the head or face, and/or gouging or poking eyes (my have times changed since I watched wrestling on TV as a young boy).

n The length of a wrestler's hair, in its natural state, shall not extend below the eyebrows.

Here is your first opportunity to "make the call" in some wrestling situations. See the correct rulings at the end.

SITUATION 1: A designated, on-site meet physician examines a wrestler with a skin problem. The wrestler has a proper form from a personal physician that states that he/she would not be contagious in two more days and cannot compete until then. The designated, on-site meet physician rules that the wrestler may compete immediately.

May the designated, on-site meet physician make that ruling?

SITUATION 2: A wrestler steps on the scale when the 125-pound weight class is called. This wrestler weighs 125.3 pounds.

Where may this wrestler compete for this event, assuming that there is no weight allowance due to growth or consecutive days of competition and the wrestler is following his/her weight management plan?

SITUATION 3: The head coach is penalized a second time for unsportsmanlike conduct on the first day of a three-day tournament.

What is the penalty?

SITUATION 4: (A) Wrestler A reports to the scorer's table not properly equipped and not ready to wrestle; or (B) Wrestler A reports to the scorer's table and is properly equipped and then goes back to his/her coach in the corner; or (C) Wrestler A has reported properly to the scorer's table and then reports to the wrestling area on the mat and then returns to his/her coach in the corner.

SITUATION 1 RULING: The designated, on-site meet physician may overrule both a form allowing participation or one not allowing participation.

A current examination is considered more accurate than one done previously.

SITUATION 2 RULING: This wrestler is eligible for both the 130- and 135-pound weight classes based on NFHS rules.

This wrestler's actual stripped weight will be recorded when he/she steps on the scale at the 125-pound weigh-in.

This wrestler will not weigh-in again to be eligible for the two weight classes allowed by the actual stripped weight.

COMMENT: Each member state association's wrestling weight management program may be more restrictive and, in turn, may not allow a wrestler to move up a weight class because of its individual wrestling weight management plan.

SITUATION 3 RULING: The head coach is to be removed from the premises immediately on the second penalty and two team points will be deducted. The head coach is removed for the remainder of the three-day tournament.

COMMENT: If the head coach is the only coach for this team at this tournament, the meet management should check with the respective state association to determine what rules, policies or procedures it has in place to deal with a head coach who has been ejected, leaving the team without another individual present to coach the team.

SITUATION 4 RULING: In (A), Wrestler A is not properly equipped and he/she will be sent back to the coach and penalized with a technical violation and a match point will be awarded to the opponent.

Wrestler A will also be charged an injury time-out and will have 1½ minutes of injury time in order to become properly equipped and ready to wrestle.

In (B), Wrestler A is delaying the match and shall be penalized for stalling, and a warning will be issued the first time.

In (C), Wrestler A is penalized for leaving the wrestling area without the referee's permission, which is a technical violation and a match point is awarded to the opponent.

COMMENT: A match begins when the proper wrestler reports to the scorer's table in dual matches and tournaments and continues until the conclusion of wrestling.

The proper wrestler is required to report to the scorer's table ready to wrestle, and then immediately report to the center of the mat and not go back to his/her corner.

In some tournaments, one wrestler, such as the one in the top of the bracket, is asked to pick up the bout sheet and deliver it to the scorer's table.

This delivery would not be considered reporting to the scorer's table for purposes of determining ready to wrestle.