Mat-side video review rule available in wrestling
By Greg Johnson
With the 2013-14 wrestling season underway, fans of the sport should look for new rules in effect, including the optional use of the mat-side video review rule.
There will be no mat-side video review for open tournaments.
Wrestlers will be allowed to go to their respective corner while the review is taking place.
The process was in place last season as an experimental rule. Wrestlers were required to remain in the center of the wrestling area while the referee conducted the review.
Coaches wishing to challenge a call/non-call via video review must immediately go to the head scorer at the mat-side table and declare they are making a challenge. The referee will conduct the review when there is no significant action after the request has been made.
The number of coaches’ challenges will also be changed in tournament competition. A coach who has seven to 10 wrestlers competing will start with three challenges available; a coach with four to six wrestlers in a tournament will start with two challenges; and a coach with one to three wrestlers participating will have one challenge.
Previously in tournaments, coaches were allowed three video challenges regardless of how many wrestlers they had competing.
Coaches will still have only one challenge available during dual matches. In all cases, the coach retains the challenge when an outcome is ruled positively.
Additionally, falls remain the only exception to a coach’s video challenge.
The referee can call for a video review at any time. To alleviate any financial impact of the video review, the match referees are the only individuals who will review the call.
At the 2013 Division I Wrestling Championships, coaches made 51 challenges. Thirty-eight of the calls were upheld, 10 were reversed, two were inconclusive and one was a deemed a video error. The average time per review was one minute and nine seconds.
A safety change that went into effect requires that the matted apron around the wrestling area must extend at least 5 feet between out-of-bounds lines when two mats are side-by-side. Additionally, the apron must extend at least 5 feet from the out-of-bounds line and any obstruction such as a table, bleachers or wall.
Previously, it was recommended that the apron extend 5 feet, but the committee wants to make it a requirement to enhance student-athlete safety.
Edge of wrestling area
In a progression of the rule that allows wrestlers to score takedowns on the edge of the wrestling area, near-falls and pins can occur as long as any part of either wrestler remains inbounds.
In recent years, a rules change was invoked in regards to takedowns in that area of the mat, and the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee believes expanding the rule to include more ways to score points will enhance the sport.
In addition, the committee developed a point of emphasis for referees to be quicker to call a stalemate when neither wrestler is improving position.
Fans will notice a more liberal definition for takedowns when wrestlers are in neutral positions.
If the defensive wrestler’s hand comes in contact with the mat, it is considered control and a takedown should be awarded.
Previously, it was the referee’s judgment on whether there was a significant portion of the defensive wrestler’s weight borne on his hand/hands in order for control to be established.
This change makes this call clearer for the referee.
If a wrestler is called for stalling the following sequence will be followed: The first stalling violation results in a warning; additional violations are 1 point, 1 point, 1 point, then disqualification.