IHSAA approves wrestling changes

Jake Ryder

The Iowa High School Athletic Association approved several changes to wrestling, starting with the 2020-21 season, at a Board of Control meeting on April 22.

These changes include allowing schools to opt out of dual team postseason events by the first competition date and also change qualifying for the regional dual team tournament in Class 2A and 1A to the 16 sectional champions and the next eight highest-ranked teams by the Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association. Previously, the top two teams at each sectional would qualify for the postseason dual competition.

If a team that opted out of the postseason is a sectional champion, the next highest-ranked team in the IWCOA's rankings would receive their spot.

State traditional tournament seeding criteria has been altered with regard to common opponents, reduced from two points of weight to one point. Also, all 16 wrestlers in a given weight will now be seeded in the traditional tournament. Previously, only the top eight wrestlers received seeds.

Finally, host tournament directors will be able to determine the length of subvarsity matches at regular-season events.

The IHSAA has also adopted the National Federation of State High School Associations' changes to wrestling for the 2020-21 season.

The most significant include requiring a legal uniform to be worn during weigh-ins to simplify the weigh-in process and a change to the hair-length rule.

Previously, a wrestler's hair could not "extend below the top of an ordinary shirt collar" in the back, below earlobe level on the sides or below the eyebrows in the front. These confinements, and the requirement that a hair cover be used for hair outside of those limitations, has been removed.

These limitations were put in place to garner better inclusion of female wrestlers, a growing subset of wrestling's popularity at the high school level. The NFHS reported that almost 5,000 more females came out for wrestling in 2018-19 for a total of 21,124 girls in 2,890 schools; 247,441 boys competed in 10,843 schools.


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