The NCAA is changing some college wrestling rules in the hopes of increasing action on the mat. While these four rules are experimental I think that some version of them will be implemented in future seasons.
During the NWCA matches this weekend two rules will be in effect that won’t be used at any other time this season.
- If a wrestler is out of bounds and not working to get back in bounds they will be called for stalling. A wrestler pushing or pulling an opponent out of bounds while not attacking or countering will be called for stalling.
- If a wrestler gets a takedown or reversal and the action is stopped the top wrester can choose to resume wrestling in the neutral position with out giving up an escape point. I like this rule a lot; we’ll see how effective it is. In my estimation a takedown and reversal require more than double the skill of an escape. So a takedown or reversal should be 3 points if an escape is worth 1 point. This is another way to incent offensive action and is similar to international rules.
The following two experimental rules will be added this season starting at the NWCA this weekend.
- From the top position riding below the waist of the bottom wrestler will receive a 5 count to work up to a more offensive position; if they don’t, stalling will be called. Good rule change. I’m sure that some version of this anti stalling rule will become permanent. Over the last couple of years Nico Megaluids has perfected this style of riding and it has caught on with lots of wrestlers and really decreased action and increased the ability to stalemate the bottom wrestlers action when close to scoring an escape or reversal.
- This rule was created to keep a wrestler in the top position from riding a headlock without attempting to score. Chris Perry was the most successful wrestler that used this technique often; it’s very effective if you’re not ready for it on bottom, just ask Andrew Howe. This move comes from the international styles of wrestling and can be a very effective scoring technique if you know the proper method. As a true freshman Taylor Massa So. Michigan, turned the majority of his opponents with this technique. He is so aggressive with it that the rule shouldn’t affect this type of genuine usage.
These rules mark a refreshing change of approach from the NCAA. The NCAA, which as I’ve written before, is a terrible organization interested in feathering its own nest and not the well being of the athletes or the quality of the sporting product that it oversees. It also has so many regulations that it’s hard to keep up with them all and it selectively enforces regulations making boundaries very blurry, but I digress.
So why are these rules good?
- First: it’s a step to increase action on the mat. Not every wrestler drives the action like David Taylor, the rules changes will be a change for the better in pushing wrestlers to step up their offensive game or risk not being as successful. Think how much more exciting Kyle Dake would be with a wide-open style.
- Second: if you want Americans to do better on the international wrestling stage, changing some of our rules to be closer to Freestyle and Greco-Roman would help make the transition from Folkstyle to Freestyle/GR. easier. These experimental changes to Folkstyle are important; adjusting Folkstyle rules without losing what makes Folkstyle great (controlled dominance) can only help Folkstyle’s entertainment value and future success of American wrestlers on the international stage.
To wrap up, there are some great matches this weekend and I hope that the rule changes spur some action and don’t trip up the wrestlers. Tune into True-Wrestling for mat-side action and commentary from the NWCA! If you’re at the Palestra, stop by the media table and say hi.