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New rule changes for high school wrestling

High school wrestling is set to see significant rule changes beginning with the 2024-25 season, as outlined by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee. These adjustments, aimed at enhancing the clarity and fairness of the sport, include a pivotal change to the inbounds rule—requiring only one point of contact within the boundary line for a wrestler to be considered inbounds, thereby simplifying the previously more complex requirement. Additionally, the revision of near-fall points aims to encourage wrestlers to work towards a pin by offering increased points for maintaining near-fall positions. Other notable changes include increased points for takedowns, a new approach to determining technical falls, the optional use of the 10-foot circle on mats, and the introduction of a universal referee’s time-out signal. These updates, approved by the NFHS Board of Directors, reflect a progressive step towards improving the consistency and competitiveness of high school wrestling.

Here are the new rule changes for high school wrestling beginning with the 2024-25 season from the NFHS.

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– **Inbounds Rule Change**: Now only one point of contact of either wrestler needs to be inside or on the boundary line to be considered inbounds. Previously, two supporting points were required.

– **Near-Fall Points Adjustment**: Points for a near-fall have been revised to:
– Two points for two seconds,
– Three points for three seconds,
– Four points for four seconds,
– Five points if injury or bleeding occurs after a four-point near-fall.

– **Takedown Points Increase**: Wrestlers will now earn three match points for a takedown, instead of the previous two points.

– **Technical Fall Update**: If a takedown or reversal leads directly to near-fall criteria that creates a 15-point advantage, the match will continue until the near-fall criteria is no longer met.

– **10-Foot Circle Optional**: The 10-foot circle at the center of wrestling mats is now optional. Wrestlers are encouraged to stay in the center of the mat, which is indicated by the starting lines.

– **New Referee’s Time-Out Signal**: The new signal involves both hands/fingers pointing inward to the referee’s chest, similar to other sports.

These changes were approved by the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee and are aimed at reducing subjectivity in calls, improving consistency, and enhancing the understanding of rules among wrestlers, coaches, and spectators.

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