The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 16, 2013

A Don McCormack column: Forfeits won’t affect one-day limit any longer

By DON McCORMACK - donmac@suite224.net
Sports Editor

— In the most-gladiator-like of high school sports — wrestling — forfeits have always been pretty much a wet blanket.

With the boys and girls who take to the mats limited to competing in five matches in a day, that wet-blanket effect was magnified even more if a forfeit or two were involved and came into play.

No more.

Starting with the 2013-14 season, victories by forfeit will no longer count toward a competitors’ daily match limit.

“The limit on the number of matches permitted in any one calendar day was established as a safeguard to prevent any wrestler from undo fatigue, thus increasing the possibility of injury,” Dale Pleimann, chair of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee and former assistant executive director of the Missouri State High School Activities Association, said. “Since there is no fatigue or exertion involved with accepting a forfeit, the committee felt that it was not necessary to count forfeits in the match total for any wrestler.”

The change regarding forfeits and the five-match limit in a day was one of five rules changes implemented  by the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee at a meeting in Indianapolis. The changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

In Rule 4-5 regarding weigh-ins, the committee approved a new article concerning wrestlers who have been approved to wear an artificial limb. Rule 4-5-9 states the wrestler must weigh-in with the artificial limb if he or she chooses to wrestle with it on. In addition, once the wrestler has weighed in while wearing the artificial limb, it cannot be removed during competition. With these revisions, competitors who have been approved by their state associations to wear an artificial limb have the option to wear or not to wear the artificial limb during competition, but must weigh-in accordingly.

“The concern was that if a wrestler weighed-in with an artificial limb (and) then decided to remove the artificial limb for the match, the wrestler’s weight without the artificial limb might not qualify the wrestler for that weight class,” Pleimann said. “The changes require that if the wrestler weighs-in with an artificial limb, then the wrestler shall wear the artificial limb when competing.”

In other revisions, the committee altered Rules 1-1-4 and 10-1-2 to allow the use of electronic devices for video recording and review by the wrestler or coach unless prohibited by the state high school association. Also, the use of electronic devices that enables communication between a coach and athlete during a match is still prohibited (Rule 4-3-6).

The committee approved an addition to Rule 5-1-1 that allows for bad time if a wrestler is not given the choice of position after a two-point stalling penalty. In addition, Rule 6-6-2d was approved and adds “after a two-point stalling penalty” as an instance when an error occurs in positioning wrestlers that would result in canceled points during bad time.

In other revisions approved by the committee, Rule 4-2-1 states that starting with the 2014-15 season, if a hair cover is worn by a wrestler, it shall be attached to the ear guards. The intent of this rule change is to help maintain continuous action during competition.

“The Rules Committee feels that the sport of high school wrestling is in very good shape and, therefore, made only a few minor changes to the rules for the 2013-14 season,” Pleimann said.

McCormack is the sports editor of the Star Beacon. Reach him at donmac@suite224.net.