High school wrestlers can now have full face and chin hair, provided a skin check can still be performed. Previously, wrestlers were required to be clean shaven except for sideburns and a neatly trimmed mustache.
The change in facial hair requirements was one of three rule changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) wrestling rules committee at its April 3-5 meeting. in Indianapolis, which were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.
The revised procedure for facial hair is that skin must be visible to allow a skin check to be performed, as determined by the referee or a designated medical professional on site to oversee skin checks.
In the event that a skin check cannot be performed, a wrestler will be permitted to trim facial hair within the guidelines and must do so prior to competition. A wrestler may also choose to wear a face mask instead of making facial hair adjustments.
Barriers to competition are removed
“We have consistently removed barriers to participation in our sport,” said Elliot Hopkins, director of athletics, sanctions and student services for the NFHS and liaison with the NFHS wrestling rules committee.
“It started by allowing the optional two-piece uniform, then changing the hair rule, providing options for state associations with three weight class choices for boys, and adding three sets of weight classes. separate for girls and now this change.
“Literally, there’s no rule-based reason a youngster can’t participate. We welcome any student who wants to learn to wrestle without restriction and encourage them to try out for their school team.”
Other Hair-Related Changes
A further change to the 4-2-1 rule allows wrestlers to wear hair-control devices and other ornaments in the hair that are securely attached and do not pose an increased risk to the wrestler or opponents.
“The NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee continues to be on the cutting edge with rule changes that promote participation in our sport,” said NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee Chair Anthony Clarke. “The committee is also working to pass rule changes that make wrestling easier for officials, coaches, wrestlers and fans to understand.”
Shoes, laces may result in a penalty
In the event that a wrestler’s laces come undone or the shoe comes off during a match, a wrestler will now be penalized for stalling. Previously, this situation resulted in a technical violation.
Shoe and lace related infractions are no longer subject to stoppage time and the match will not be stopped to warn or penalize this blocking event. Additionally, violations and two-point stall penalties will not result in the match being stopped to warn or penalize a wrestler.
Changes to women’s uniforms
Changes to 4-1-1 and 4-5-7 have clarified uniform requirements for female wrestlers. Wrestlers should wear a sports bra that completely covers their breasts and minimizes the risk of exposure during weigh-ins and competitions. Additionally, the change also clarifies that compression shirts can be worn under a one-piece suit and are not required for female wrestlers unless necessary to provide full coverage.
A complete list of wrestling rule changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities and Sports” at the top of the home page and select “Wrestling”.
According to the NFHS’s most recent survey of high school sports participation, wrestling is the seventh most popular sport among boys with 247,441 participants at 10,843 schools. Additionally, a total of 21,124 girls are involved in sports in 2,890 schools.