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6 New Rule Changes For College Wrestling For The 2019-2020 Season

6 New Rule Changes For College Wrestling For The 2019-2020 Season


Even though it is still summer, the 2019-2020 college wrestling season will be here before we know it. During this off season, members of the NCAA got together and decided on some new rule changes for the upcoming season. Even though there were rumors of many different possible rule changes, there are six rule changes that will be implemented this coming season.

Shorts Allowed

The first rule change is that wrestlers can compete is shorts designed for wrestling. Traditionally, wrestlers have worn tight fitting, one piece singlets, but more recently two piece uniforms (shorts and a short sleeve shirt) that are still tight fitting have been allowed. This new rule change takes it one step further allowing wrestlers to wear loose fitting shorts out on the mat as long as they are designed for wrestling. There does not seem to be a lot of clarity on “shorts designed for wrestling”, but it is safe to assume that any shorts with zippers, pockets, or drawstrings hanging down will not be allowed. If loose fitting shorts are worn, the wrestler is still required to wear a tight fitting top whether that be a separate tight fitting shirt or a singlet with the worn shorts over top of it. 

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No Hair Length Restriction

The NCAA has removed language in the rule books about length of hair. The old rule was hair could not extend down past the length of a normal shirt collar and could not extend below the earlobes on the sides. Wrestlers can still wear a cap to keep their hair contained during a match. As always, a wrestlers hair still needs to be free of gels and oils. 

Dual Starting Weight Rule Change

Another new rule change for the upcoming season is how coaches can determine what weight a dual meet starts at. Under the old rules, the coaches could start at any weight they wanted as long as they agreed to it. If they could not agree, then a starting weight was selected at random. Under the new rule changes, if coaches cannot agree on a starting weight, a coin toss will be done and the winner of the coin toss will get to choose the starting weight class for the dual.

Hands To The Face

Last season we saw a new “hands to the face rule” which classified hands to the face as an unnecessary roughness call which was an automatic point given to the wrestler on the receiving end of the penalty. Many people last season thought this rule was too much and need to be changed. 

For this upcoming season, hands to the face has been changed from an unnecessary roughness call to an illegal hold call. This will give referees a little more flexibility in calling hands to the face and an official does not have to give an automatic point if a wrestler violates the hands to the face rule, but they can if they deem it warranted. This seems like a much needed rule change. It will be interesting how referees will implement it out on the mat. It is very possible we could see this rule change slightly again next year depending on how the rule is enforced this season.    

Stalling Points

There has been a slight change to the progression of points given due to stalling calls. Currently, the progression goes warning, one point, one point, one point, then on the fourth stalling call the wrestler is disqualified. Under the new rule, the progression will go warning, one point, one point, two points, and on the fourth stalling call the wrestler will be disqualified. The purpose of this rule change is to not only add a bit more severity to the penalty for stalling, but also will act as a marker for wrestlers and coaches letting them know where they are at in the progression of stalling calls. When a wrestler get hit with the two points, they know they will be disqualified on their next stalling call. This is a very minor rule change that will now affect much because in reality, there are hardly ever matches where a wrestler gets hit with stalling four times. 

Figure 4 Now An Illegal Hold

Under the new rule changes, a figure four hold will be reclassified from technical violation to an illegal hold, which means instead of a point being awarded when a figure four occurs, the referee will attempt to stop it before it starts and no penalty points will be awarded. It will basically be regulated as a potentially dangerous situation. 

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