NFHS Announces Major Rule Changes for High School Wrestling

Fight between two wrestlers.

The NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) has implemented several significant rule changes for high school wrestling, effective from the 2024-25 season onward. Here’s a breakdown of the key changes:

  1. Inbounds Rule Adjustment: Wrestlers will now be considered inbounds if only one point of contact of either wrestler is inside or on the boundary line, simplifying the criteria and reducing subjectivity in out-of-bounds calls.
  2. Near-Fall Point Revision: Points awarded for a near-fall have been simplified based on the duration of the hold. Two points will be awarded for two seconds, three points for three seconds, and so on. If the defensive wrestler is injured or indicates an injury after a four-point near-fall, five points will be awarded.
  3. Takedown Points Increase: Wrestlers will now earn three match points instead of two for securing a takedown, encouraging more aggressive wrestling and rewarding successful offensive maneuvers.
  4. Technical Fall Clarification: The rule regarding technical falls has been clarified to specify that if a takedown or reversal leads directly to a near-fall, creating a 15-point advantage, the match will continue until the near-fall criteria are no longer met.
  5. Optional 10-Foot Circle: The 10-foot circle at the center of wrestling mats is now optional. Wrestlers are encouraged to stay in the center of the mat, with the starting lines indicating the center, eliminating the need for the circle.
  6. New Referee’s Time-Out Signal: A new signal, involving both hands/fingers pointing inward to the referee’s chest, has been introduced for referee time-outs, providing consistency with signals used in other sports.

These changes aim to enhance clarity, fairness, and safety in high school wrestling while also encouraging more active and dynamic matches.