NCAA announces rule changes for 2017-18

Wrestlers who violate NCAA weight certification protocols, use prohibited weight-loss practices or commit a severe weigh-in or medical examination violation will face stiffer penalties in the 2017-18 season.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a penalty change that requires a wrestler to miss eight consecutive competitions for a first offense in those areas and to sit out a year for a second offense.

Wrestlers found to be in violation also would be required to recertify their weight at some point during the suspension period. Examples of violations covered under this rule include urine manipulation during weight assessments; use of rubber suits, saunas, diuretics or intravenous rehydration; and skin check forgery or deception.

Additionally, the team’s coach and the director of athletics will receive private reprimands for the first offense. If a second offense occurs, additional institutional penalties will be determined by the rules committee.

The weight management rules were established to protect the health and safety of the participants in the sport. Wrestlers can lose up to 1.5 percent of their body weight per week. The rules are in place to ensure student-athletes maintain a slow descent toward their competition weight classification.

Weight allowance

The panel also approved a rule pertinent to weight allowance: When back-to-back dual meet competitions occur, all competitors will receive a 1-pound weight allowance on the second day of competition.

Facial hair

Wrestlers will be allowed to have facial hair of up to a half-inch in length — as long as the skin of the wrestler is visible so that a proper medical examination can be performed. If the medical professional rules the beard is too long or thick and a medical examination cannot be performed, the wrestler will be required to immediately trim the facial hair to within the guidelines.

A wrestler with facial hair exceeding a half-inch that successfully clears medical exams can compete using a nonabrasive facial covering or a face mask.

Previously, wrestlers were not allowed to compete with facial hair unless they filed for a waiver.

Third-party video review

The panel approved an optional rule to allow a third-party registered official to be hired to conduct video reviews on coaches’ challenges in dual meets and tournaments.

Other rules changes:

  • When in the neutral position, the referee will verbally announce a danger signal to wrestlers who expose their shoulders to the mat at any angle less than 90 degrees. The verbal announcement will be followed by an audible three-count. If the referee reaches the third count and the wrestler is still in the danger zone, the opposing wrestler is awarded a takedown.
  • Wrestlers will be limited to a maximum of six matches per day.
  • The Feb. 15 deadline for a wrestler to reach his lowest allowable weight class was eliminated. The NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee believes, since all student-athletes must adhere to the 1.5 percent weight-loss guidelines, there is no sound rationale for maintaining the arbitrary Feb. 15 deadline.
  • Wrestlers will be allowed to certify at their weight classifications until the first date of competition. Even though the certification timeline is being extended, the 1.5 percent weight-loss descent requirement would remain unchanged.
  • Coaches will indicate the intent to use a video review by throwing a red or green foam brick into the competition circle.

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