In addition to posting my thoughts on revitalizing HS wrestling to various message boards such as “Pin to Win”, “MassWrestling”, “ConnWrestling” and “The Mat”, I will summarize the ideas here as well. The following ideas are based on an attempt to increase action, increase & simplify scoring, increase participation, reduce forfeits and increase fan interest. Some are original, others borrowed (or modified from those such as Wade Schalles), and some are concepts that have appeared on annual surveys or as forum suggestions or comments.
**Individual Match Scoring
Individual Match Scoring (increases & simplifies scoring, emphasizing takedowns and back points)
Even for devoted fans, too many matches are boring. Low scoring, trying to keep it close and often going to overtime with a 1-1 score. There must be more of an incentive for each wrestler to score, and this is partially addressed in the “team scoring” later, but scoring that rewards takedowns and nearfalls is a start.
1. Implement 4-3-2-1 scoring. This simplifies scoring for all involved (wrestlers, coaches, refs and fans).
a. Takedowns are worth 3 points. Action on your feet needs to be encouraged. In addition, those who are superior in neutral are often only gaining a small advantage if electing to release the defensive wrestler. If you take down your opponent twice, opt to release him and then cut him free from the bottom to start the 2nd period, you have been rather dominant but only lead 4-3. Your foe may be allowed to counter and stall his way into a match that is tighter than it should be. While there are some who advocate only the FIRST takedown being worth 3 points, I believe that relative to other scoring, ALL takedowns should earn 3 points.
b. Reversals are worth 2 points. No change to this scoring. However, by increasing takedowns, more bottom wrestlers will look to score escapes rather than reversals.
c. Escapes are worth 1 point. There are some who believe that an offensive wrestler should not have to give up any points when “cutting free” a defensive wrestler. However, with the 3-point takedown, the escape point should remain.
d. Nearfall are worth 2-4 points (2 swipes of referee’s arm earns 2 points, 4 swipes/seconds earns 3 and 6 earns 4). Simplified back points, ranging from 2 points for a 2 count, to 4 points for a 6 count. Some have proposed per swipe, but that near of an increment becomes too much of a debate regarding ref counts.
e. Penalties simply progress from 1-2-3-4-DQ (same for stalling). Completely separate penalty points and stalling points, with first offense 1 point, 2nd offense 2 points and son on…up to 4 points. A fifth violation would be a DQ. For stalling, the same point scale…but may retain the caution for first offense (which must be more willing to be awarded early, as opposed to just for show in the last 10 seconds).
f. If college maintaining riding point, should only be awarded if near fall has been earned. Although personally against any riding points, college tradition would have some resistance eliminating this form of stalling…so at least make it earned only if the wrestler with the 1 minute advantage has earned at least one near fall.
II. Team Scoring–Implement “MOV” bonus and “Action” Bonus (rewards all match points scored, increasing action for duration of the match)
1. Implement “Margin of Victory” bonus.
a. Winner receives 2 base team points for a win (including any OT win), plus 0.1 to 1.4 for MOV (for a “Margin of Victory from 1 pt to 14 pts).
b. Also includes “action” points for # of points scored by the winner, with an additional “action bonus” for actual number of pts scored by winner, ranging from 0.1 (for 1 point) up to a max of 1.5 for a winner scoring 15 pts or more. Decisions would then range from 2.2 (for a 1-0 win) to 4.9 pts (for a 15-1 win).
c. Tech Fall still 5 team points (for MOV or match lead of 15 pts or more) and pin or default 6 team points.
d. A forfeit becomes 7 points. Too often, wrestlers are bumped away from other good wrestlers. While some have proposed only awarding 7 points if the team that is forfeiting has a wrestler available but still elects to forfeit, I believe that could create issues.
b. For tournaments, eliminate advancement points and simply award team pts as shown (2.2 to 6.0 pts), with consi bracket points cut in half, maintaining placement points. Byes (when followed by a win) would be worth 2 points on championship side and 1 point in consi bracket.
III. Matside Weigh-Ins & Locked Line-Ups (improves weight control protocol by discouraging excessive weight loss and reduces forfeits by locking in line-ups)
1. Increase all weight classes by 2 pounds to allow for uniforms, shoes, headgear etc.
2. Procedures will vary slightly based on dual meet (or multi dual) and individually bracketed tournaments
3. Dual Meet Procedure
A. Locked Line-Up: Require each coach to submit a locked-in line-up to the official 10 minutes prior to start of dual, just prior to any introductions or playing of National Anthem. Rationale: a coin toss should not have such an impact on a dual meet result, and forfeits and ducking of quality opponents will be reduced. Referee will present line-ups to the head table to be entered into scorebook and for introductions.
B. Weigh in when reporting to table ready to wrestle (scale available prior, including during warm-ups, to check weight). Referee will supervise each weigh-in at the head table, confirming weight of each wrestler. Option for headgear to be included or put on after weigh-in as proceeding to center of the mat.
C. For a dual-meet team tourney or multi dual, a wrestler can’t compete in more than 2 different weight classes for the event. Wrestler may compete in class for which qualifies OR may wrestle up 1 (one weight class) above which initial weigh in of the event allows. Ex: Wrestler A makes 132 for first dual. This allows him to wrestle 132 or 138 during event, provided he makes weight for subsequent rounds. If he does not make 132, he may still wrestle 138, but MAY NOT then wrestle 145.
D. Weigh ins will be held prior to each “odd” round of the dual tourney/multi meet. Scratch weight for round one, with one additional pound for round #3 and a second additional pound for round #5 (maximum number of matches in 1 day per NFHS).
E. If wrestler who is listed on lineup for that dual does not make weight when called matside, it is a forfeit and that wrestler may not wrestle at a higher weight class in that same dual. That wrestler may not be replaced by a teammate–it is a forfeit. Wrestlers will adjust to wrestling at a weight class for which they are best suited, as they will need to actually wrestle at that weight (as opposed to weighing in at that weight and actually competing at a significantly higher amount).
4. Individually Bracketed Tournament Procedure–A bit more tricky.
A. Initial matside weigh in prior to first round matches (including all wrestlers receiving byes).
B. One pound allowance for semi-finals (and corresponding consolation round of consi quarters) and additional second pound for championship finals (and consi medal round). Maintain additional one pound allowance for 2nd day of 2-day event.
C. Weigh in to take place matside. Scales at each mat if possible, or between mats if not enough scales available. Wrestler failing to make weight on designated scale may make 1 attempt at each other available scale.
D. Any wrestler failing to make weight for first round is considered a scratch (entered as a “forfeit”), and is deleted from the event.
E. Any wrestler failing to make weight for the semifinals (or corresponding consi round) is considered a forfeit. Team does not lose all points earned for that wrestler, and wrestler may continue in the tournament if same weight is made for next round (even if that round would not have required a weigh in). Ex: Wrestler B fails to make weight for the semifinals. He drops down to the consi semis, and must make the same weight he was required to make for the championship semis in order to compete in the consi round.
IV. Growth Allowances
As originally intended, growth allowances are well suited for high school wrestlers who are still growing. However, the terminology and implementation has changed over the years, diminishing the effectiveness. The following re-establishes a true growth allowance.
Weight certification process that determines a minimum weight based on 7% for males and 12% for females must be based on establishing a minimum weight class that reflects scratch weight classes at the start of the season. Ex: Wrestler A has an initial certification that determines his body fat would permit him to wrestle at a minimum of 134 pounds. This should not permit him to wrestle in the 132 pound weight class even after the “growth allowances” are implemented and the weight class becomes 134. Growth allowances are intended to allow for growth–not intended to permit wrestling at a lower weight class during descent.
Due to varying start dates in each state, the following is an attempt to provide a consistent growth allowance schedule that covers the regular and post-season, with an additional pound every 3rd week. Dates are based on an approximation, but for January & February would be the Sunday that is nearest the dates shown of the month.
Scratch weight classes from start of season until December 25 (ie 106)
Two pound allowance on December 25 (ie 106 becomes 108)
One additional pound on January 15 (ie 106 is now 109)
One additional pound on February 10 (ie 106 is now 110)
Note: If maintaining current NFHS wording regarding “average weekly descent” (as opposed to monitored weekly descent), the rule requiring a minimum number of weigh-ins (ie 33%) at the lowest weight class during the season seeking post-season eligibility should be re-established.
V. Weight Classes
Reduce the number of weight classes from 14 to 11.
There remain far too many forfeits, and the ability of many schools to adequately fill 14 weights remains a struggle.
Dual meet tie-breaker criteria becomes 1 step in 99% of ties
Reduction of weight classes would invigorate JV level programs
The current 6-pound differences between weight classes encourages unhealthy weight loss. A slightly greater difference between classes would discourage this. Currently, someone around 132 knows that 126 becomes 128 with an allowance…and for 2-day events, what once was 126 is now 130.
The duration of tournaments would be reduced, a benefit to fans and teams.
A high-caliber dual (or tournament finals/medal round) would be reduced from around 2 hours to around 80 minutes.
Comparable weights to college (with an additional lower weight class)
Begin to reign in escalating costs of officials, particularly at tournaments
Proposed 11 weight classes: 108, 116, 124, 132, 140, 148, 158, 170, 188, 212 and 285 (if implementing matside weigh-ins, add 2 pounds to each class). Based on current 14 weight classes, the first 5 wts (106-132) become 4, the next 5 (138-171) become 4 and the final 4 (182-285) become 3.
Consider option of allowing teams in tournaments to enter a 2nd scoring wrestler in 1 weight class (so up to 12 scorers).