Collegiate wrestling (also known as folkstyle wrestling) is the form of wrestling practiced mainly by men at the college and university level in the United States. This style, with some slight modifications, is also practiced at high school and middle school levels, and also among younger participants, where it is known as scholastic wrestling. These names help distinguish collegiate wrestling from other styles of wrestling that are practiced around the world such as those in the Olympic Games: freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Women's wrestling at the US college level uses two different rulesets. The National Wrestling Coaches Association, whose women's division is now recognized by the NCAA as part of its Emerging Sports for Women program, uses the freestyle ruleset as defined by the sport's international governing body, United World Wrestling. The National Collegiate Wrestling Association, a separate governing body that conducts competition for colleges and universities parallel to but outside the scope of the NCAA, uses collegiate rules in its women's division.
Collegiate and freestyle wrestling, unlike Greco-Roman, also both allow the use of the wrestler's or his opponent's legs in offense and defense.
There are some scoring differences. For example, in collegiate wrestling, "exposure" points are not given to a wrestler for simply forcing the opponent's shoulders to quickly rotate and be exposed to the mat. Instead, for example, a wrestler must control one of the opponent's shoulders on the mat and have the opponent's other shoulder forced to the mat at an angle of 45 degrees or less for two to five seconds to score. The points generated in this situation are called "near fall" points. This shows a difference in focus: while the international styles encourage explosive action and risk, collegiate wrestling encourages and rewards control over the opponent.
This emphasis on control was present in collegiate wrestling from its earliest days. Since 1915, collegiate wrestling officials have recorded the time that each participant had in controlling his opponent on the mat (known as "time advantage" or "riding time"). Early on, this was the major way to determine the winner in the absence of a fall. Over time, the significance of such timekeeping has declined, and now such "time advantage" only counts for one point in college competition at the most. As in both of the international styles, a wrestler can win the match by pinning both of his opponent's shoulders or both of his opponent's scapulae (shoulder blades) to the mat.
In collegiate wrestling, there is an additional position to commence wrestling after the first period, and also to resume wrestling after various other situations. All three styles begin a match with both wrestlers facing each other on their feet with the opportunity given to both to score a takedown and thus gain control over the opponent. In collegiate wrestling, once a takedown is scored, the wrestler under control in the inferior (defensive or bottom) position remains there until he escapes the move, until he reverses the position, until the period ends, or until various penalty situations occur. The inferior position is one possible choice for a starting position in the second and third periods, known as the referee's position. The referee's position is roughly analogous to the "par terre" starting position in the international wrestling styles. In the international styles, the "par terre" starting position is not utilized as often as the referee's position is in collegiate wrestling. In the two international styles, the inferior position in the "par terre" starting position is now used to penalize a wrestler who has committed an illegal act.
In collegiate wrestling, there is a de-emphasis on "throws", or maneuvers where the other wrestler is taken off his feet, taken through the air, and lands on his back or shoulders. This lack of emphasis on throws is another example of how collegiate wrestling emphasizes dominance or control, as opposed to the element of risk and explosive action. A legal throw in collegiate wrestling is awarded the same number of points as any other takedown. In freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, points awarded for a wrestler's takedowns increase with the level of explosiveness seen in the throws. Well-executed throws can even win a period in the international styles, especially when a throw is of grand amplitude (a throw in which a wrestler takes an opponent off of the mat and controls his opponent so that his feet go directly above his head). In collegiate wrestling, some of the throws seen in the international styles may even be illegal, such as a full-back suplex from a rear standing position. However, many collegiate wrestlers still incorporate some throws into their repertoire of moves because a thrown opponent often lands on his back or shoulders and thus in a position more conducive to producing near fall points or securing a fall.
Generally, rather than lifting the opponent or throwing him for grand amplitude in order to win the period as in the international styles, the collegiate wrestler most often seeks to take his opponent down to the mat and perform a "breakdown" (that is, to get his opponent in the defensive position flat on his stomach or side). With the opponent off of his base of support (that is, off of his hands and knees), the collegiate wrestler in the offensive position would then seek to run pinning combinations, or combinations of techniques designed to secure a fall. Failing to gain a fall could still result in an advantage in riding time and potential nearfall points.
The defensive wrestler could counter such attempts for a takedown, or when once taken down try to escape his opponent's control or reverse control altogether. In a last-ditch attempt to foil a fall, the defensive wrestler could also "bridge" out of his opponent's control (that is, pry his head, his back, and both of his feet up from the mat and then turn toward his stomach). Overall, a collegiate wrestler in his techniques would most likely emphasize physical control and dominance over the opponent on the mat.
There were already wrestling styles among Native Americans varying from tribe and nation by the 15th and 16th centuries, when the first Europeans settled. The English and French who settled on the North American continent sought out wrestling as a popular pastime. Soon, there were local champions in every settlement, with contests between them on a regional level. The colonists in what would become the United States started out with something more akin to Greco-Roman wrestling, but soon found that style too restrictive in favor of a style which a greater allowance of holds.
The Irish were known for their "collar-and-elbow" style, a variant of jacket wrestling (which was popular across Europe), in which wrestlers at the start of the match would grasp each other by the collar with one hand and by the elbow with the other. From this position, wrestlers sought to achieve a fall. If no fall occurred, the wrestlers would continue wrestle both standing on their feet and on the ground until a fall was made. Irish immigrants later brought this style to the United States where it soon became widespread. As well as English variants of jacket wrestling such as Cornish wrestling and backhold styles Cumberland Wrestling there was also what became known as "catch-as-catch-can" wrestling, which had a particular following in Great Britain and the variant developed in Lancashire had a particular effect on future freestyle wrestling in particular.
By the 18th century, wrestling soon became recognized as a legitimate spectator sport, despite its roughness. Among those who were well known for their wrestling techniques were several U.S. Presidents. Since "catch-as-catch-can" wrestling was very similar, it gained great popularity in fairs and festivals in the United States during the 19th century. The collar-and-elbow style was also refined by later Irish immigrants, and gained great ground because of the success of George William Flagg from Vermont, the wrestling champion of the Army of the Potomac. After the Civil War, freestyle wrestling began to emerge as a distinct sport, and soon spread rapidly in the United States. Professional wrestling also emerged in the late 19th century (not like the "sports-entertainment" seen today). By the 1880s, American wrestling became organized, with matches often being conducted alongside gymnastic meets and boxing tournaments in athletic clubs. The growth of cities, industrialization, and the closing of the frontier provided the necessary avenue for sports such as wrestling to increase in popularity.
In 1903, the first intercollegiate dual meet took place between Yale University and Columbia University. The Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association held its first tournament in 1905, which soon sparked many more wrestling tournaments for both college and university students and high school students. Edward Clark Gallagher, a football and track and field athlete at Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University), launched wrestling as an official varsity sport just before World War I and with his team launched a dynasty, with undefeated matches from 1921 to 1931. In 1927, Raymond G. Clapp published the rules for collegiate wrestling, and the next year, the first NCAA Wrestling Championships took place on March 30 to 31 on the campus of Iowa State College. The rules of collegiate wrestling marked a sharp contrast to the freestyle wrestling rules of the International Amateur Wrestling Federation (IAWF) and the AAU. From then on, collegiate wrestling emerged as a distinctly American sport. College and high school wrestling grew especially after the standardization of the NCAA wrestling rules, which applied early on to both collegiate and scholastic wrestling (with high school modifications). More colleges, universities, and junior colleges began offering dual meets and tournaments, including championships and having organized wrestling seasons. There were breaks in wrestling seasons because of World War I and World War II, but in the high schools especially, state association wrestling championships sprung up in different regions throughout the 1930s and 1940s. As amateur wrestling grew after World War II, various collegiate athletic conferences also increased the number and quality of their wrestling competition, with more wrestlers making the progression of wrestling in high school, being recruited by college coaches, and then entering collegiate competition.
For most of the 20th century, collegiate wrestling was the most popular form of amateur wrestling in the country, especially in the Midwest and the Southwest. The 1960s and 1970s saw major developments in collegiate wrestling, with the emergence of the United States Wrestling Federation (USWF) (now known as USA Wrestling (USAW)). The USWF, with its membership of coaches, educators, and officials, became recognized eventually as the official governing body of American wrestling and as the official representative to the United States Olympic Committee, in place of the Amateur Athletic Union.
Collegiate wrestling teams compete in the NCAA wrestling championships every year in each of the three divisions. The NCAA awards individual championships in the 10 weight classes, as well as a team title.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the organization that regulates collegiate wrestling. The wrestling rules developed by the NCAA are followed by each of the NCAA's three divisions. In addition, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), and the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) have also adopted them, with some modifications. The NCAA generally sets the standard for weight classes for college-level dual meets, multiple duals, and tournaments. There are 10 main weight classes currently open to college-level competition, ranging from 125 lb to the Heavyweight division that ranges from 183 lb to 285 lb. Also, there is a 235 lb weight class, which only the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, the organization that governs college wrestling for institutions outside the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA, currently allows that ranges from 174 lb to 235 lb. The NCWA also allows eight weight classes for women ranging from 105 lb to 200 lb. A wrestler must normally have his weight assessed by a member of the institution's athletics medical staff (e.g. a physician, certified athletic trainer, or registered dietician) before the first official team practice. The weight assessed is then his minimum weight class. The athletics medical staff member and the head coach then review all of the assessed weights of the wrestling team members and certify them online at the website of the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA). After the certification, the wrestler may not compete below that weight class and may only compete at one weight class higher than his minimum weight. If a wrestler does gain weight over his certified weight class and wrestles at two weight classes above it, he forfeits his previous lowest weight class for the one weight class below where he wrestled. If a contestant wishes to weigh-in and wrestle at only one weight class above his certified weight class and later return to his lowest certified weight class, he may do so. However, the wrestler may only return to that certified weight class according to the weight-loss plan of the National Wrestling Coaches Association. This weight loss plan takes into account potential dehydration during the wrestling season and minimum amounts of body fat. All of this has been done in order to protect the wrestler's health and safety.
The collegiate wrestling season customarily runs from October or November to March. Regular season competition begins in late October or early November and continues until February. Post-season competition usually continues from February to March (depending on, if individual wrestlers or teams qualify for a conference, regional, or national championship). Normally, wrestling teams from two different colleges or universities would compete in what is known as a dual meet. It is possible for there also to be a multiple dual, where more than two wrestling teams compete against each other at the same event on the same day. For example, one college wrestling team may face another wrestling team for the first dual, and then a third wrestling team for the second dual. Also, those two wrestling teams may compete against each other in a dual meet as well. Colleges and universities often compete within their particular athletic conference; though competition outside a team's conference or even outside its division within the NCAA is not uncommon.
Dual meets usually take place on evenings during the school week (Monday through Friday); on Saturday mornings, afternoons, or evenings; or even on Sunday mornings or afternoons during the wrestling season and begin with weigh-ins at a maximum of one hour before the meet begins. No weight allowances are made for dual meets and multiple-day dual meets. Wrestlers are also examined by a physician or a certified athletic trainer for any communicable skin diseases. If a student-wrestler does not make weight, he is ineligible for that weight class and a forfeit is scored. If there are any communicable skin diseases, it is a ground for disqualification. The wrestler's coach or athletic trainer can provide written documentation from a physician that a skin infection of a wrestler would not be communicable. The final judgement for whether a wrestler would be allowed to compete lies with the meet physician or athletic trainer on site. In all cases, after determining the sequence of weight classes for the dual meet, the referee will call the wrestlers from each team who have been designated as captains. One of the visiting captains will call a disk toss. The colored disk will then fall to the floor and determine: 1) which team has the choice of position at the start of the second period and 2) which one of the team's members is to appear first on the mat when called by the referee for each weight class. The wrestler-captain who won the disk toss may choose the even or odd weight classes. That is, he may choose the weight classes, from lowest to highest, that are numbered evenly or oddly. For example, the 125 lb, 141 lb, 157 lb, etc. weight classes would be odd, and the 133 lb, 149 lb, 165 lb, etc. weight classes would be even. This order would work in the traditional sequence until the last even weight class of 285 lb.
During a dual meet, the top varsity wrestlers usually compete against each other. There can also be junior varsity matches, such as in Iowa, which are rare, that would take place immediately before the varsity matches. Also, before both varsity (and junior varsity) competition, there can also be an exhibition match in one or more weight classes. The exhibition matches do not count towards the varsity (or junior varsity) team score, but such matches allow wrestlers, especially at the freshmen level, to gain more competitive experience. Wrestling matches usually proceed in each of the 10 weight classes. The order the matches occur in is determined after the weigh-ins either by a mutual decision of the coaches or by a random draw choosing a particular weight class to be featured first. In either case, the succeeding wrestling matches will follow in sequence. For example, if the 157 lb weight class competes first, the succeeding wrestling matches will follow until the heavyweight class. Then, beginning at 125 lb, the rest of the matches will follow until the 149 lb match.
Often, many colleges and universities in the United States will compete with their teams in what is known as a tournament. In the tournament, from eight, 16, 32, 64, 75, or more individual wrestlers/teams can compete in each bracket. This allows many schools to establish their rankings, not only for individual student-wrestlers, but also for college and university wrestling teams as a whole (e.g. a conference or regional championship, or the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships). A tournament committee usually administers the event and after individual and team entries have been verified, the officials then determine the order of the matches (called "drawing") by certain brackets (e.g. brackets of eight, 16, etc.). The tournament officials when doing this drawing take into account each wrestler's win-loss record, previous tournament placements, and other factors that indicate the wrestler's ability. With that in mind, wrestlers who are noticed as having the most superior records are bracketed so that two top-ranked superior wrestlers in each weight class do not compete against each other in an early round. This is called seeding. Tournaments are often sponsored by a college or university and are usually held on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, or over any of two days within the weekend. Admission is often charged to cover costs and make a small profit for the host. A tournament begins with weigh-ins starting two hours or less before competition begins on the first day or one hour or less before competitions begins on any subsequent day. An allowance of one pound is granted for each subsequent day of the tournament. With the drawing and weigh-ins completed, wrestlers then compete in two brackets in each of the 10 weight classes. If there are not enough wrestlers to fill up the bracket in a weight class, a bye will be awarded to a wrestler who does not have to compete against another wrestler in his pairing. After taking account the number of byes, the first round in each weight class then begins. Most college wrestling tournaments are in double elimination format. The last two wrestlers in the upper (championship) bracket wrestle for first place in the finals, with the loser winning second place. In other words, a wrestler cannot place higher than third if he is knocked down to the lower (wrestle-back) bracket by losing in the championship semi-finals. This is largely the result of time constraints: one-day tournaments often last into the evening. If the winner of the wrestle-back bracket were allowed to challenge the winner of the championship bracket in the championship, the tournament could continue well past midnight before finishing.
After the first match of the round of 16 in a championship bracket in each weight class, the wrestle-back rounds would then commence, beginning among all of the wrestlers who lost to the winners of the round of 16. The winner of the wrestle-back finals would then win third place, with the loser winning fourth place. In tournaments where six places are awarded, the losers of the wrestle-back semi-finals would wrestle for fifth place, with the loser winning sixth place. If eight places are awarded, the losers of the wrestle-back quarterfinals would wrestle for seventh place, with the loser winning eighth place, and so on. After the championships finals, the awards ceremony usually takes place with plaques, medals, trophies, or other awards given to the individual and team winners with the highest placements. Precise rules for tournaments may vary from one event to the next.
Each intercollegiate athletic conference or geographic area features two or three "elite" tournaments every year. These events are by invitation only. Hence, the commonly used name for them, Invitationals. Tournament sponsors (which are usually colleges and universities, but sometimes other organizations) invite the best varsity wrestlers from their area to compete against each other. Many elite tournaments last two or even three days. For this reason, elite tournaments are often scheduled during the college's or university's winter break.
Between one season and the next, postseason tournaments and preseason tournaments are often held in collegiate wrestling and also in freestyle and Greco-Roman. The most active wrestlers often take part in those to sharpen their skills and techniques. Also, clinics and camps are often held for both wrestlers and their coaches to help refresh old techniques and gain new strategies. College wrestlers often serve as referees, volunteer coaches, assistants, or as counselors during many of the camps, clinics, and tournaments held during the off-season.
The match takes place on a thick rubber mat that is shock-absorbing to ensure safety. A large outer circle between 32 and 42 feet in diameter that designates the wrestling area is marked on the mat. The circumference line of that circle is called the boundary line. The wrestling area is surrounded by a mat area or apron (or protection area) that is at least five inches in width that helps prevent serious injury. The mat area is designated by the use of contrasting colors or a 2-inch-wide (51 mm) line, which is part of the wrestling area and included in bounds. The wrestlers are within bounds when any part of either wrestler is on or inside this boundary line.
The mat can be no thicker than four inches nor thinner than a mat with the shock-absorbing qualities of a 2-inch-thick (51 mm) hair-felt mat. Inside the outer circle is usually an inner circle about 10 feet in diameter, designated by the use of contrasting colors or a 2-inch-wide (51 mm) line, although this is no longer specified by the NCAA Wrestling Rules and Interpretations. Wrestlers are encouraged to stay near the center of the mat within the inner circle, or else they risk being penalized for stalling (that is, deliberately attempting to slow down the action of the match). Each wrestler begins action at one of two one-inch starting lines inside the inner circle that is three feet long. Two one-inch lines close the ends of the starting lines and are marked red for the wrestler from the visiting team and green for the wrestler from the home team. The two starting lines are 10 inches apart from each other and form a rectangle in the middle of the wrestling area. This rectangle designates the starting positions for the three periods. Additional padding may be added under the mat to protect the wrestlers, especially if the wrestlers are competing on a concrete floor. All mats that are in sections are secured together.
Injuries and infections are not uncommon in the sport of wrestling since there is so much contact. Also, infections occur frequently due to body secretions ( sweat, saliva, and blood).
Common ways of getting concussions are any head to head hits or any hits that involve a hard blow to the skull. Every year nearly 135,000 children ranging from age 5 to 18 are treated for concussions and other head injures from sports or other recreational activities. Many concussions come from sports such as wrestling, football, boxing and any other sport that risks getting hit in the head. Wearing head gear can help prevent concussions. Also wearing a frontal paid that protects the forehead and top of the head is very effective in protecting the head from a hit that may cause a concussion. Wearing a mouth piece can help prevent concussions as well.
Cauliflower ear is a blood clot that forms under the skin in the ear, causing there to be a large bump in the ear; the bump tends to be extremely hard. To develop cauliflower ear one must be hit in the ear many times or hit hard for it to form into a blood clot. When having cauliflower ear it is important to get the ear drained of liquid that has built up. Otherwise the ear will require surgery to return to normal shape and size. The best way to prevent cauliflower is to wear headgear. This will protect the ears from taking hard hits.
Knee ligament injuries are a common injury in wrestling. One being an injury to the Medial collateral ligament which is also known as the MCL and is located on the inside. Another common injury to the knee is on the outside Lateral Collateral Ligament which is known as the LCL. Leg or knee injuries are commonly caused by over twisting the leg outward from the middle of the body.
Ankle sprains and wrist sprains are common in wrestling. Ankle sprains typically occur from twisting the ankle and injuring the ligaments within the ankle. Wrist sprains occur from falling hard on the wrist and damaging the ligaments in the wrist.
Is caused from the inflammation of a sac in the front of the knee cap which swells up and can be painful. Preventing this can be done by wearing a knee pad to help reduce impact on the knee.
Is caused by overexerting. The body symptoms are fatigue, lack of motivation, losing body weight, decreased performance, depression, insomnia and immune system weakening. This can affect the athlete mentally as well as physically.
Taking showers regularly, wearing clean clothes for practice, mopping the mats with an antiseptic solution will also prevent spread and growth of diseases
Impetigo is a highly contagious skin infection. They appear as red or yellowish bumps and sores that are clustered together they may increase in size. The sores can burst which then crust over with a yellowish or brownish scab. This infection can be spread by coming into contact with a person who has the infection. Another way to contract impetigo is by touching or using equipment or from the mats that are infected by the bacteria. If impetigo is left untreated other infections could occur which can cause serious health issues. The bumps cause no pain although, they may be itchy. Once the blisters pop they crust over with a yellow brownish scab but, they can still be red and itchy. Mayo clinic states that "Classic signs and symptoms of impetigo involve red sores that quickly rupture, ooze for a few days and then form a yellowish-brown crust. The sores usually occur around the nose and mouth but can be spread to other areas of the body by fingers, clothing and towels". Impetigo comes from a bacterium known as staphylococcus aureus.
MRSA is an infection that has a resistance to certain antibiotics this is why MRSA is so dangerous and hard to treat. MRSA stands for Methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus, which is a form of a staph infection. Any athlete who develops a skin infection should be checked by doctor immediately. Also, one should resist from trying to give themselves self care. When getting MRSA treated for they tend to make an incision and drain the infected area. MRSA can become life-threatening if it reaches the blood stream it also can cause infections on surgical sites that can cause major implications, and can even cause an pneumonia.
Is a fungal or yeast infection on the skin in the shape of a circle. It appears to be red and the outer ring may be slightly raised. The infection grows while in warm moist places and tends to be itchy. One can contract the infection by touching the area that is infected or items that are contaminated.
These lesions are all Type one infections also known specifically as Herpes simplex, Herpes Zoster, and Herpes Gladiatorial are all types of herpes that are common in skin to skin contact sports. Type two herpes is known as herpes on the genitals which is spread through sexual contact. These lesions come from skin to skin contact or body secretions. The skin starts to develop blisters which can happen anywhere on the body. To return to any activity one must be cleared by a doctor. Herpes Simplex is the virus that causes cold sores this virus can be spread by oral secretions and can also cause Herpes Gladiatorial. Once a person becomes infected the virus stays in the body forever and can reactivate itself anytime causing cold sores. Herpes Gladiatorial is a skin infection. it comes from the Herpes Simplex virus which is causes the same lesion one has when they have a cold sore. This form of herpes is on the skin and can be spread through contact with others or sharing beverages with someone who is infected or using anything that they may have contaminated. This virus remains in your system and can reactivate itself at any time causing lesions to appear. Herpes Zoster is the virus which causes shingles and chicken pox. Once one has had the chicken pox they carry the virus forever. Once one has chicken pox the virus is inactive but, if it becomes active again they get the shingles.
A match is a competition between two individual wrestlers of the same weight class. The match consists of three periods totaling seven minutes in college matches (with an overtime round if necessary if the score is tied at the end of regulation).
The main official at the wrestling match is the referee, who is in full control in matters of judgement at the competition and is responsible for starting and stopping the match; observing all holds; signaling points; calling penalties such as illegal holds, unnecessary roughness, fleeing the mat, or flagrant misconduct; and finally observing a full view of and determining the fall. There can also be one assistant referee (especially at tournaments) that helps the referee with making any difficult decisions and in preventing error. Also, scorers are there to record the points of the two individual wrestlers. Finally, a match or meet timekeeper with assistant timekeepers are present to note the match time, timeouts, and time advantage and work with the scorers.
Each wrestler is called by the referee, steps onto the mat, and may put on a green (for the home team) or red (for the visiting team) anklet about three inches wide which the referee will use to indicate scoring. The referee then prepares the wrestlers to begin the first period.
The referee prepares both wrestlers for the first period by making sure each wrestler is correctly in the neutral position. The neutral position has the two wrestlers standing opposite each other on their feet. Each wrestler starts with his lead foot on the green or red area of the starting lines, and his other foot even with or behind the lead foot. Both wrestlers then usually slightly crouch with their arms in front of them at or above waist level. In this position, neither wrestler is in control. When the referee is certain that both wrestlers are correctly in the neutral position, he blows the whistle to begin the first period (as well as whenever wrestling is resumed, such as at the beginning of the second and third periods, when contestants resume wrestling after going out of bounds, etc.). The match commences with each wrestler attempting to take down his opponent. The first period in college and university matches is three minutes long.The First period lasts 3 minutes long. The longest period of the match.
If the match is not ended by a fall, technical fall, default, or disqualification, the referee then prepares both wrestlers to begin the second period. After the first period ends, one wrestler will have the choice of starting position in the second period. In dual meets, this is determined by the colored disk toss that took place before the meet began. In tournaments, the referee will toss a colored disk, with a green-colored side and a red-colored side, and the winner of that disk toss will have the choice of position. The wrestler could choose between the neutral position, or as is most commonly chosen to begin in a place called the referee's position on the mat. The referee's position has both wrestlers beginning action at the center of the mat with one wrestler (in the defensive starting position) on the bottom with his hands spread apart in front of the forward starting line and his knees spread apart behind the rear starting line with his legs held together. The other wrestler on the top (in the offensive starting position) then kneels beside him with one arm wrapped around the bottom wrestler's waist (with the palm of his hand against the opponent's navel) and the other hand on or over the back of the opponent's near elbow for control. Most often, the wrestler with the choice chooses the defensive (bottom) position because of the relative ease of scoring an escape or reversal in comparison to a near fall. The wrestler could also defer his choice to the beginning of the third period.The Second and third period last 2 minutes each. Where each wrestler will have their choice of position in each.
More recently, another starting position choice has been allowed, known as the optional offensive starting position or optional start. After the wrestler with the choice (the offensive wrestler) indicates his intention to the referee, the referee lets the defensive wrestler adjust and begin in the defensive starting position. Next, the offensive wrestler goes to either side of the defensive wrestler or behind him, with all his weight supported by both his feet or by one or both knees. The offensive wrestler would then place both his hands on the opponent's back between the neck and the waist. When the referee starts the match by blowing the whistle, the defensive wrestler then has the opportunity to get back to his feet in a neutral position. Any of the starting positions may be used to resume action during a period when the wrestlers go off the mat, depending on the referee's judgment as to whether any or which wrestler had the position of advantage.
If the match is not ended by a fall, technical fall, default, or disqualification, the referee then prepares both wrestlers to begin the third period. The wrestler who did not choose the starting position for the second period now chooses the starting position. The third period is also two minutes long.
If the third period ends in a tie, a one-minute, sudden victory period occurs. Both wrestlers start in the neutral position. The first wrestler to score a takedown wins. Time advantage is not used in any sudden victory period.
If no points are scored in the sudden victory period, or if the first points were scored simultaneously, two 30-second tiebreaker periods occur. Both wrestlers start in the referee's position. The wrestler who scored the first points (besides escapes and penalty points) in regulation has the choice of top or bottom position. If the only points scored in regulation were for escapes or penalties, the choice of position will be given to the winner of a colored disk toss. After the wrestler makes his choice, the two contestants then wrestle. Either of the two wrestlers must try to score as many points as he can. Once one 30-second period is over, the wrestler who was in the bottom position then wrestles on the top in another 30-second period. Whoever scores the most points (or is awarded a fall, default, or disqualification) wins the match. Time advantage is kept, and points are awarded accordingly.
If no wrestler has won by the end of the two tiebreaker periods, a second overtime round starts with a one-minute, sudden victory period, and then two 30-second tiebreaker periods for each wrestler. The wrestler who did not have the choice of position in the previous overtime round's first tiebreaker period now has the choice of position in this overtime round's first tiebreaker period. If the score remains tied after the end of the second overtime round, the wrestler who has one second or more of net time advantage from the two rounds of tiebreaker periods will be declared the winner.
If a winner still cannot be determined, overtime rounds that are structured like the second round of overtime take place until one wrestler scores enough points for the victory.
After the match is completed, regardless of the victory condition, the wrestlers will return to the center of the mat (on the 10-foot inner circle) while the referee checks with the scorer's table. Upon the referee's return to the mat, the two wrestlers shake hands, and the referee proclaims the winner by raising the winner's hand. Both contestants then return to their team benches from the mat.
In collegiate wrestling, points are awarded mostly on the basis of control. Control occurs when a wrestler has gained restraining power over an opponent, usually, by controlling the opponent's legs and torso. When a wrestler gains control and maintains restraining power over an opponent, he is said to be in the position of advantage. Scoring can be accomplished in the following ways:
On the college level in a dual meet, the wrestler not only wins the match for himself, but also gains points for his team. The number of points awarded to a team during a dual meet depends on the victory condition. It is possible for a team to lose team points in certain infractions, such as unsportsmanlike conduct, flagrant misconduct, team personnel illegally leaving the reserved zone around the mat, and unauthorized questioning of the referee by the coach.
In a dual meet, when all team points are totaled, the team with the most points wins the competition. In all victory cases, if there are junior varsity matches, the junior varsity and varsity competitions are scored separately. If this is the case, it is entirely possible for one participating institution to win the junior varsity dual meet and another participating institution to win the varsity dual meet. On the college level, it is possible for a dual meet to end in a tie, except in dual meet advancement tournaments, where then the tie is broken by one team point awarded to the winning team based on certain criteria.
In a tournament, most of the team points are scored for advancement. For example, a team winning a match in the championship bracket would be awarded one team advancement point; one-half of an advancement point would be awarded if a team won a match in the wrestle-back bracket. The corresponding team points also apply if a wrestler from the team gained a bye and then won his next match in that bracket. Two additional advancement points are for victories by fall, default, disqualification, and forfeit (including victories by medical forfeit). One and one-half additional advancement points are awarded for victories by technical fall. One additional advancement point is awarded for victories by major decision. A team could then win a certain number of placement points if its wrestlers have placed individually in the championship and wrestle-back brackets. Thus, whole teams are awarded placements (first, second, etc.) based on their total number of victories.
Individual placement points are also awarded. For example, in a tournament scoring eight places, the winner of a quarterfinal or a semi-final in the championship bracket (where first and second places are awarded) would win six place points. The winners of first and second place would then win four additional place points. In the wrestle-back bracket (where third and fifth places are awarded), the winner of a semi-final match, for example, would receive three place points. The winners of third, fifth, and seventh place would receive one additional place point, and so on. A more detailed account of how individual and team points are awarded for tournaments is given on pages WR-49 to WR-51 of the 2009 NCAA Wrestling Rules and Interpretations.
Also known as scholastic wrestling when practiced at the high school and middle (junior high) school level, collegiate wrestling differs from wrestling at the high school level in multiple aspects. Scholastic wrestling is regulated by the . This association mandates that high school matches are to have periods of shorter length, three periods consisting of two minutes each, than collegiate matches which begin with a three-minute first period. Additionally, college wrestling uses the concept of "time advantage" or "riding time" when one wrestler is in control of the other, while high school wrestling does not.
According to an Athletics Participation Survey taken by the , boys' wrestling ranked eighth in terms of the number of schools sponsoring teams, with 9,445 schools participating in the 2006–07 school year. Also, 257,246 boys participated in the sport during that school year, making scholastic wrestling the sixth most popular sport among high school boys. In addition, 5,048 girls participated in wrestling in 1,227 schools during the 2006–07 season. Scholastic wrestling is currently practised in 49 of the 50 states; only Mississippi does not officially sanction scholastic wrestling for high schools and middle schools. Arkansas, the 49th state to sanction high school wrestling, began scholastic wrestling competition in the 2008–09 season.
At young ages, independent tournaments are often run in the freestyle and Greco-Roman styles. There are also tournaments where wrestlers compete in a style very similar to collegiate or high school (scholastic) wrestling. To differentiate this style from freestyle and Greco-Roman, the term folkstyle wrestling is a more commonly used phrase than collegiate wrestling.