Every spring the NFHS makes rule changes within the sport. Some years the changes are small in nature and just small clarifications to existing rules. Last year there were grumblings that the NFHS was ready to pull the trigger on reducing the number of weight classes. With participation levels different in each state the threat of losing weight classes is always looming.
This year there are three major rule changes that were highlighted by the NFHS. Here they are and a quick reaction to each of them.
Each state has an option of three different weight class sets for boys and girls that includes 12, 13, or 14 weights effective for the 2023-2024 season.
Girls weight class options
12 Weight Classes – 100, 107, 114, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 165, 185, 235.
13 Weight Classes – 100, 106, 112, 118, 124, 130, 136, 142, 148, 155, 170, 190, 235.
14 Weight Classes – 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, 140, 145, 155, 170, 190, 235.
Boys weight class options
12 Weight Classes – 108, 116, 124, 131, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 190, 215, 285
13 Weight Classes – 107, 114, 121, 127, 133, 139, 145, 152, 160, 172, 189, 215, 285
14 Weight Classes – 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 144, 150, 157, 165, 175, 190, 215, 285
This is a great move by the NFHS to allow states to have flexibility in their weight class options. This gives states with lower participation the option of having less weight classes without going against the NFHS’ wishes. For the most part, states do not like to go against the NFHS’ rule recommendations and having this option gives each state solid options to choose from. This also keeps things as close to uniform as possible.
Having different options for girls weights is great as the sport is growing on the girls side of things. This gives state the option to start with 12 weights and as the sport becomes more popular go up to 13 or 14 weights.
As far as the weight classes go, they look to be geared a little closer to the old weights, but with a little more separation in the middle weights. In all honesty, teams and coaches will adapt to the weight classes. There are no perfect set of weights as each team has different demographics and even each season provides different obstacles for filling of the weight classes in the best possible manner.
Head and neck injury time will be a separate injury time.
This should make it easier for referees and coaches to keep track of this time. Previously there were many nuances to the rule that combined this type of stoppage versus blood or injury time. Hopefully this clears things up and referees don’t have to spend hours trying the if this, then that scenarios of stoppages.
Allow athletes to have six matches during one day during a state series event.
For high school wrestling this is great. This could mean a lot for Indiana wrestling as currently we have the one and done round at most sectional sites. This would allow the state to give those wrestlers a full wrestle-back to placement if they wish. I do not know if the IHSAA will look into utilizing this exception but having it on the table can lead to good discussions with making our state series better.