The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved allowing wrestlers to compete in shorts designed for the sport and removing all language in the sport’s rules book regarding the length of a wrestler’s hair.
The changes are effective for the 2019-20 academic year.
NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee members wanted to make the rules for hair less rigid and provide an additional option for the competition uniform.
Previously, wrestlers could compete only in traditional singlets with or without full-length tights or form-fitting shirts and shorts. This third uniform option requires the form-fitting shirt but allows teams to pair this top with loose-fitting shorts designed for wrestling.
Wrestlers’ hair still will be required to be free of oils and/or greasy substances. Hair coverings still will be allowed and considered special equipment. The rule that prohibited a wrestler’s hair from extending below the level of an ordinary shirt collar and the hair on the side of the head from extending below the earlobes has been eliminated.
The penalty sequence for stalling violations will shift to the following in the 2019-20 academic year: After the initial warning, a single match point will be deducted for the next two violations. A fourth stalling violation will be a 2-point match deduction, and the last stalling violation will be disqualification.
NCAA TOURNAMENT INFO: How the NCAA wrestling tournament works
Previously, the stalling penalty sequence was a warning followed by single-point deductions on the second, third and fourth stalling violations, and then disqualification.
Hands to the face
The panel approved the reclassification of “hands to the face” from an unnecessary roughness violation to an illegal hold. Rules for illegal holds indicate that “whenever possible, illegal holds should be prevented rather than called.” This will provide referees more flexibility to use verbal cues, issue formal warnings and/or stop the action as “potentially dangerous” before calling an illegal hold. Referees still may call an illegal hold for hands to the face without warning if they determine it is appropriate.
Based on feedback from a membership comment period and from the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports, the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee withdrew proposed recommendations regarding video review challenges, medical forfeits and weigh-ins. The rules committee plans to further discuss weigh-in times with CSMAS in the future.