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High School Wrestling Rule Changes for 2024-25 Impact Mats, Scoring/Scorebooks 

NSGA News , Rules • April 25, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (April 25, 2024) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) made high school wrestling rule changes for the 2024-25 season that will impact wrestling mats and scoring/scorebooks. 

The 10-Foot Circle at the center of wrestling mats is now optional. Wrestlers now will be encouraged to “stay in the center of the mat” instead of “within the 10-foot circle.” 

“The committee determined that the starting lines of a mat indicate the center of the mat and the 10-foot circle is no longer needed,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the wrestling rules committee. “With the new mat designs that have a large mascot or logos, it gives a refreshing look to the mats. Wrestlers and officials know where the center of the mat is located without the 10-foot circle.” 

The impact of rule changes on scoring starts with high school wrestlers being inbounds with only one point of contact of either wrestler inside or on the boundary line. Previously, high school wrestlers were considered inbounds if two supporting points of either wrestler were inside or on the boundary line. The two supporting points could be two supporting points of one wrestler or one supporting point of each wrestler inside or on the boundary line.  

“Without increasing risk, this change eliminates the subjectivity of the out-of-bounds call,” Hopkins said. “The change also helps officials to call ‘out of bounds’ more consistently, and it provides wrestlers, coaches and spectators a better understanding of out of bounds.”  

While the one point of contact change will be noted under the definition of inbounds in Rule 5-15, it also impacts a number of other sections in Rule 5 on Definitions, as well as Rule 6-4-1 on Stopping and Starting the Match.  

In addition to the one point of contact change, points awarded for a near-fall have been revised in high school wrestling. Overall, the changes simplify the points awarded based on how long the wrestler is held in near-fall criteria. The change in Rule 5-11-3 is as follows:  

Two points will be awarded when near-fall criteria are held for two seconds, 3 points for three seconds, 4 points for four seconds and 5 points if the defensive wrestler is injured, indicates an injury or bleeding occurs after the four-point near-fall has been earned. These changes will affect other rules including individual match scoring in Rule 9.   

“The goal in wrestling is to pin the opponent,” Hopkins said. “Changing the near-fall points should motivate wrestlers to work for a fall.”  

In another change in scoring rules, opportunities to earn more points will also be available when executing a takedown. Beginning next season, wrestlers will be awarded three match points instead of two when securing a takedown.   

The committee also approved a change regarding the technical fall. Rule 5-11-4a now states that “if a takedown or reversal, straight to a near-fall criteria creates a 15-point advantage, the match shall continue until the near-fall criteria is no longer met. Conclusion of the near-fall criteria is immediate.” The change clarifies when the technical fall has concluded in relation to the near-fall criteria being met. Hopkins said the offensive wrestler cannot be penalized appropriately after the technical fall has been earned. 

The committee approved a new Referee’s Time-Out Signal. The signal, which is used in many other sports, is both hands/fingers pointing inward to the referee’s chest.  


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