Stalling Penalty Increased in High School Wrestling

December 30, 2011 3:45 am

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 27, 2012) — High school wrestlers who are called for a third stalling violation will receive a stiffer penalty beginning with the 2012-13 season. In addition to the two-point penalty assessed for a third stalling violation, the opponent will now have his or her choice of position on the next restart.

The stalling penalty revision was one of eight rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee at its April 9-11 meeting in Indianapolis. The changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The change to the third stalling penalty resulted from the committee’s desire to encourage wrestlers to wrestle aggressively by providing a greater incentive not to stall,” said Dale Pleimann, chair of the Wrestling Rules Committee and former assistant executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association. “No one likes to see a wrestler disqualified for stalling. The hope is that by increasing the third stalling penalty, a wrestler who has been penalized twice will be encouraged to pick up the pace and wrestle more aggressively.”

In other changes, the committee adjusted the current dual meet weigh-in procedure to align with the random draw.

Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and staff liaison to the Wrestling Rules Committee, said this change would provide maximum preparation and warm-up time for the first contestants scheduled to compete in a dual meet.

Three new rules were approved by the committee, including Rule 4-3-5, which states that wrestlers “may not wear wristbands, sweatbands or bicep bands during a match.” This rule was enacted in an effort to minimize risk of injury from wrestlers getting their fingers caught in an opponent’s wristband or sweatband.

Another new rule for 2012-13 is an exception to the 30-second tiebreaker. The new exception (8-2-1h) will read as follows:

“If the second injury time-out is taken at the conclusion of the first 30-second tiebreaker period and the opponent already has the choice at the beginning of the second 30-second tiebreaker period, the opponent would then have the added choice at the first restart after the beginning of the second 30-second tiebreaker period.”

This provision was a rule change last year for the regulation match and will now apply to the overtime as well.

Rule 10-2-9 will be added to next year’s rules to address what happens when two wrestlers in the championship bracket simultaneously cannot continue a match.  If both wrestlers cannot continue because of disqualification for stalling or having their injury or blood time elapse, the wrestler who is leading on points at the time the match is terminated will continue in the consolation bracket. If the match is tied at the time of termination, neither wrestler will continue.

Following are the other three changes approved by the committee:

4-1-1a: Language has been updated to describe the wrestler’s singlet, and the change will also allow the T-shirt with no sleeves to be worn under the one-piece singlet when approved by the referee.

5-11-2i: Rules language was expanded to complete the near-fall and penalty sequence.

10-3-6 and 10-3-7: The tournament bracket format was revised to allow more flexibility in conducting a tournament.

“The NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee confirmed that the sport of high school wrestling is in great shape overall by making only a few changes to the scholastic rules,” Pleimann said.

Wrestling is the sixth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 273,732 participants in 10,407 schools during the 2010-11 season, according to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey. In addition, 7,351 girls were involved in wrestling in 1,215 high schools.



About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.6 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and activities. For more information, visit the NFHS Web site at


                                         National Federation of State High School Associations