College Wrestling Rules

The following article deals with the rules of college wrestling competitions. It should be noted that the NCWA has different rules than NCAA and NJCAA wrestling. To make things easier, we will start this article by giving our own definition of what college wrestling is, so as to avoid confusion.

Table of Contents

collegiate wrestling rules

What Is College Wrestling?

College wrestling is a type of amateur wrestling practiced by students in colleges and universities. The style of college wrestling is slightly different from freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. One of the reasons for this is that in college wrestling, there are only two weight classes: heavyweight and lightweight. There are no middleweights or anything in-between.

The difference between weight classes in college wrestling is slightly larger than it is for other styles of amateur wrestling. The required gear for collegiate wrestling is no different from the wrestling gear needed for other styles of wrestling.

Collegiate wrestling rules are governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) which sets out the groundwork for various points of the rules.

College Wrestling Rules

The rules of college wrestling are very similar to the rules of Olympic wrestling with some slight modifications. All matches are two-out-of-three periods with two minutes per period. This is an “SV” (Shoot-Down or Superiority point) Match when one wrestler has two points over the other in the ranking system.

A pin is worth two points (4-2, 5-0), while some other holds are worth one point (3-1). If the score reaches 5-5, it becomes a sudden victory, which is similar to sudden death in hockey. There are no rounds between periods.

Two points are awarded for a takedown, near fall (which includes ankle lace and wrist-lock positions), or back exposure. One point is awarded for an escape but can be nullified by a penalty.

Penalties may include cautions (yellow card), technical violations (blue or red cards), and passivity (green card). There is a limit of three cautions per match unless the third is issued for passivity.

Technical violations are up to the referee’s discretion. The passivity rule states that if one wrestler continually avoids contact with his opponent, then the referee issues a green card. The third passivity penalty is a disqualification (DQ).

A caution for stalling becomes a two-point technical violation (blue card).

If both wrestlers receive the same penalty (yellow or blue cards), then no points are added. Only one penalty can be assessed per action. For example, if one wrestler received a caution for stalling and the other received a penalty for passivity, only the latter would result in a point for the other wrestler.

Fouls also include collars-elbow tie-ups, back-to-back, foot grabbing, or leg grabbing.

The first wrestler to score 5 points wins the period. The match can end without a winner if one wrestler “breaks” his opponent’s ankle lace. The wrestler is awarded two points (4-2, 5-0), and the match ends immediately.

Points are deducted without warning for illegal holds, such as gouging the eyes or pulling hair.

Many fans and even some wrestlers do not understand how scoring works correctly.

Here Are Some Tips to Help You Understand the Scoring Criteria

For example, if Timmy scores a takedown on Rob, he is awarded two points (4-2, 5-0). If Rob reverses Timmy’s takedown to score an escape, no points are awarded (1-0), and the period ends. If Timmy doesn’t score any points on Rob before the end of the first two minutes, then he is said to be down 0-1.

If Rob scores a near fall (i.e., ankle lace or wristlock position) at the end of the first period, Timmy would be down 1-2 (one point for Rob and no points for any takedowns by Timmy). If he doesn’t score a near fall on Timmy, then he is down 0-2 at the end of the first period.

If Rob scores a second near fall on Timmy before the end of period two, then Timmy is down 2-4 (two points for Rob and no points for Timmy, but one point for the takedown).

If Rob scores a third near fall on Timmy (a two-point near fall) before the end of period two, then Timmy is down 4-6. If Rob doesn’t score another near fall and it goes to sudden victory, then Timmy is awarded two points (4-2, 5-0) for breaking Rob’s ankle lace.

How Many Rounds Are There in College Wrestling?

College wrestling is contested in three periods, which are like rounds in boxing. A wrestler must win two of the three periods to win the match.

For example, Ryan and Matt are tied 0-0 with one period to go. The score in the second period would be 2-1 (two points for Matt and one point for Ryan).

In the third period, if Ryan scores a takedown before time expires to make the score 2-2, the match ends as a tie.

How Long Is a Wrestling Match in College?

There are no time limits in college wrestling. A match can end without a winner if one wrestler’s ankle is broken. However, the referee is expected to determine when a wrestler has dominated his opponent and give him two points (4-2) in late period three.

What Is a Pin in College Wrestling?

A pin is when one wrestler’s shoulders are held to the mat for two seconds. If the official determines that both shoulders were pinned, then the wrestler is given a fall (10 points) and the match ends immediately. If one shoulder was pinned, then the wrestler must escape within a certain amount of time (usually 20 to 60 seconds).

If one of his shoulders is not held to the mat, then he must escape within a mandated period of time (usually 20 to 60 seconds) or he will be awarded one point for his opponent. If this happens before the end of period three, then the score will be 1-1.

What Is Riding Time in College Wrestling?

Riding time is when one wrestler holds his opponent in a position of control for half of the duration of the period. This usually happens during the neutral period in college wrestling.

If one wrestler has his opponent’s shoulders pinned to the mat, then no riding time is awarded since he is dominating his opponent.

What Is the Danger Position in College Wrestling?

The danger position is when one wrestler has his opponent’s back to the mat with both legs on either side. This is also called the double grapevine, or dom illegally on one leg since it is very difficult to escape from.

The referee will usually award two points to the wrestler who is in danger since he must escape within 30 seconds (or less). Otherwise, if the wrestler in the dangerous position works to improve his position or scores some points, then he can stay there as long as he wants.

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