The NCAA’s Rules of Play Oversight Committee on Thursday gave its seal of approval to 13 of 14 sweeping changes recommended by the College Wrestling Rules Committee in April.
As a result, next season will announce a series of significant, though not quite transformative, changes as recommended by the rules committee.
Three points to go, and dozens more rulebook changes will be made before college wrestling makes a comeback this fall.
One recommended change that does not occur: the stipulation that a wrestler must score near-fall points and accumulate a minute or more of advantage time in order to score a ride time point.
The NCAA wrestling rules committee gets one chance every two years to implement changes, and the group took a big step this year in an effort to increase scoring and action. After a two-week feedback period from college coaches last month, the NCAA Play Oversight Committee voted Thursday to move 13 of those recommendations forward.
“I like that we’re looking at things to see how we can create more excitement and maybe make it more fan-friendly as well,” Princeton coach Chris Ayres said in April. “I always support those kinds of things and just advance the sport. I think sometimes we are stuck in our ways and afraid to make some changes because we embrace the traditions of the sport. I like that they are trying to do a few different things.”
The long-standing cornerstone of the sports scoring system—the two-point takedown—was neglected and the value of the takedown was increased to three.
“People who are in their laps and unhappy about it, we can always change back,” Stanford coach Rob Cole said in April. “It’s not like this stuff is set in stone. Why don’t you give it a try? Let’s see what happens. Obviously the scoring was a little low. I like the idea of a three-point takedown.”
“You give up a takedown on your back for four points at the end of the first half, the game is basically over,” Cole said. “You can’t catch up. I always compare it to freestyle – and maybe that’s not what we’re trying to do here – but you’re four or five points down and that match is still going. You feel like you have a chance. But with that takedown (two points), you have to take him down five times. .Who would do that against a good person? The game is over. It gives the person a chance to get back into the game.”
In addition to the three-point takedown, the three-point near-fall is on the way back after being phased out in 2015 when the NCAA implemented a four-point near-fall for a wrestler holding an opponent in danger for a four-count. Next season, the price of a near-fall will be two, three, and four points depending on whether the wrestler takes two, three, or four strikes.
Also in the list of approved changes:
– The rule stating that higher positioned wrestlers must work hard just to break the opponent will change to requiring them to also follow up on near drop points and/or a pin.
“The way it’s stated in the rulebook—and we’ve changed that a little bit—it’s an attempt to break down,” said North Carolina coach Coleman Scott, who is on the rules committee. “That’s what the guys were doing, so it wasn’t technically broken. (But) it’s hard to watch for me. I’ve watched the sport for 30 years and I want the guys to be sticky at the front and want to turn. If you’re not motivated to do that, why would you that? ”
– The current mandatory five second waist and ankle ride count will now include all positions where the top wrestler grabs the bottom wrestler’s ankle.
– Hand touch eliminations are eliminated, which means that all removals, in order to be secured, will require a post-reaction time control display.
– Video review will now provide the referee with the authority to confirm or cancel all calls or missed calls while reviewing the video of the challenge sequence rather than in a single step.
– The penalty for a late coach’s video review challenge request will be changed from a mat violation control and team point deduction to a loss of a video review request.
– The first medical loss of the tournament will count as a loss on the wrestler’s record, unless the medical loss occurs immediately following a tournament default injury.
– Standardized weigh-ins across all competition types will move to 2 hours or under 2 hours for championships and 1 hour for duos.
– Administrators can now allow an action to continue after an illegal hold has been penalized and not request a stop after an impending taping is over when the wrestlers’ safety is not in danger.
– The facial hair rule – which restricts wrestlers to beards no longer than half an inch – has been eliminated.
– Any real ranking matches in the tournament will not change the final result of the team.
Weight certification for all institutions is allowed to start on September 1st.
“Trying to get something done is sometimes hard,” said Oklahoma State coach John Smith. “I was on the (Rules) Committee and it was really nice to see this group come together and suggest some things that I think we all really like.”
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