The NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee recommended three experimental rules, including two that involve stalling, be implemented at the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic Nov. 1 at the University of Pennsylvania.
The committee met this month in Indianapolis. All rules proposals, including rules used on an experimental basis, must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss wrestling recommendations during a conference call June 25.
The first experimental rule focuses on wrestlers who step out of bounds with both feet while in a neutral position. In this scenario, the referee will call stalling on that wrestler.
The other experimental rule will result when, from a kneeling starting position on the mat, the wrestler in the top position drops to a lower extremity or uses a side headlock. In either of these situations, the referee will make a visual five-second count using his arm. If the wrestler who started in the top position doesn't make an attempt to engage in action before the referee reaches the count of five, the referee will call stalling.
The protocol for all stalling calls includes a warning for a first offense and a point awarded to the opponent on the next offense. The stalling penalty sequence is warning, one point, one point, one point, disqualification.
Both of the rules are being looked at on an experimental basis because the Wrestling Rules Committee wants to encourage the wrestlers to create action and not use stalling tactics to preserve a lead.
"The Wrestling Rules Committee is trying to be forward-thinking in their approach to potential new rules," said Ron Beaschler, the NCAA secretary-rules editor for wrestling and the head coach at Ohio Northern. "The committee is looking at ways to ensure there is action during matches to make it fun and exciting to watch and easier to understand to the casual fan, yet easier for the officials to officiate."
The final experimental rule involves a wrestler earning a position of control, such as a takedown or a reversal to earn the top position, and the action comes to a natural stoppage. An example of a natural stoppage would be when the wrestlers go out of bounds.
In the proposed experimental rule, instead of beginning in a kneeling position on the re-start, the wrestler who earned the top position can indicate to the referee that he elects for the next action to begin in the neutral position.
Currently, the referee awards a point to the opponent of a wrestler who makes this choice. Under the experimental rule, the point will not be awarded.
In positions of control that are not earned – for example, at the start of the second or third periods -- a wrestler can elect to release his opponent after a break in the action, and the opponent will receive a point.
Committee members want to gather data on the matches at the NWCA All-Star Classic, a one-day event featuring one all-star matchup in each of the 10 weight classes, to see if the experimental rules should be something they consider for permanent changes in the future.