Collegiate Wrestling

Collegiate wrestling is the commonly-used name of the form of amateur wrestling practiced at the college and university level in the United States. A modification of this style is practiced at the high school and middle school levels, and also among younger participants. The term is used to distinguish the styles of wrestling used other parts of the world, and from those of the Olympic Games: Freestyle wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling.

Collegiate wrestling, like its international counterpart, freestyle wrestling, has its origins in catch-as-catch-can wrestling and both have the prime victory condition of the wrestler winning by pinning his opponent on the mat.

Yet collegiate wrestling has had so many influences from the wide variety of folk wrestling styles brought into the country that it has become distinctly American. Folkstyle wrestling also refers to the indigenous styles in various other countries. For example, Böke can accurately be described as Mongolia’s folkstyle.

Contrast with the International Styles: Rather than lifting the opponent or throwing him for great amplitude in order to win the period 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).

The offensive collegiate wrestler would then seek to tire out his opponent by “riding” (controlling the legs and arms in the offensive position on top), for example. With strategies such as that, the collegiate wrestler is then more likely to turn his opponent over for a pin (or fall). 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 pin, the defensive wrestler could also “bridge” (that is, pry both his feet and his back up and then turn toward his stomach). Overall, a collegiate wrestler would most likely emphasize physical control and dominance over the opponent on the mat in his techniques.

Collegiate wrestling differs in a number of ways from freestyle and Greco-Roman:

  • Scoring differences – for example, in collegiate wrestling, points are not given for forcing the opponent’s shoulders to quickly rotate through facing the mat. Instead, for example, one of the opponent’s shoulders must be held on the mat and the other of the opponent’s shoulders forced within at an angle of 45 degrees or less from the mat for 2-5 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, collegiate wrestling encourages and rewards control over the opponent. Since 1915, collegiate wrestling officials have recorded the time that each participant had control of his opponent on the mat. 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” counts for one point in college competition at the most. A wrestler can win the match by pinning both of his opponent’s shoulders or scapulae (shoulder blades) to the mat.
  • An additional position for periods after the first period, and 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 (force the opponent to the mat and into an inferior position). In collegiate wrestling, once a takedown is scored, the wrestler in the inferior (defensive or bottom) position remains there until he escapes the hold, the period ends, or various penalty situations occur. The inferior position is similar to a choice for a starting position of the second and third periods, where it is called the referee’s position (equivalent to the “par terre” position in the international wrestling styles). By choosing the bottom place in the referee’s position, the wrestler has the advantage of greater scoring possibility, as escaping is easier than scoring a takedown from the neutral position or scoring near fall points from the superior position. In the international styles, where the escape point was difficult to achieve and is now no longer awarded, the inferior position is used to penalize a wrestler who has committed an illegal act.
  • De-emphasis on “throws”, or maneuvers where the other wrestler is taken off his feet, through the air to land on his back or shoulders. The de-emphasis on throws is another example of how collegiate wrestling emphasizes dominance or control, as opposed to the element of risk. A throw is awarded the same amount of points as any other takedown, whereas the international styles will award additional points for throws, especially those of grand amplitude. However, many collegiate wrestlers still incorporate some throws into their repertoire of moves because a thrown opponent often lands in a position more conducive to producing a pin. In the international styles, a well-executed throw can win the period, whereas in collegiate wrestling, it will be worth only two points and in some age groups may even be illegal. However, the throw can land the opposing wrestler on his back, resulting in a pin or near fall points.

History:
American Wrestling in the Early Colonial Era:
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, 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 grappling 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. 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.

Wrestling in the 18th and 19th century United States: By the 18th century, wrestling soon became recgonized 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.

The 20th Century: American Wrestling becomes “Collegiate”: In 1900, the first intercollegiate dual meet took place between Yale University and the University of Pennsylvania. 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 1921-1931. In 1927, Clapp published the rules for collegiate wreslting, and the next year, the first NCAA Wrestling Team Championship took place on March 30 to March 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.

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.

Today, on the collegiate level, several universities are known for regularly having competitive wrestling teams. The Iowa Hawkeyes (University of Iowa) wrestling team, Oklahoma State Cowboys (Oklahoma State University) wrestling team, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers (University of Minnesota) wrestling team are three of the most storied and honored programs in the country. Collegiate wrestling teams compete for the NCAA wrestling championship each year in each of the three divisions. The NCAA awards individual championships in the 10 weight classes, as well as a team title.

Weight Classes: The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) largely regulates college wrestling. The NCAA generally sets the standard for weight classes for college-level dual meets, multiple duals, and tournaments. A wrestler must normally be 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 minumum 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. There are currently 10 main weight classes currently open to college-level competition, ranging from 125 lb to the Heavyweight division of 183 to 285 lb.

Also, there is a 235 lb weight class, which only the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA), the organization that governs college wrestling for institutions outside of the NCAA, NAIA, and NJCAA, currently allows that ranges from 174-235 lb. The National Collegiate Wrestling Association also allows eight weight classes for women ranging from 105 lb to 176 lb.

Structure of the Season – Dual Meets and Tournaments: The collegiate wrestling season usually begins in late October or early November and continues until February or March (if individual wrestlers or teams qualify for a regional or national championship). Normally, 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.

Dual Meets: Dual meets usually take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday evenings (or Saturday or 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 skin infections, 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 judgment 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 (e.g. 125, 141, 157, etc. being odd or 133, 149, 165, etc. being even).

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 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.)

Tournaments: 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, or more individual wrestlers 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. the NCAA Wrestling Team Championship). A tournament committee usually administrates 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 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 seminfinals. 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 semifinals 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 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.

Layout of the Mat: The match takes place on a thick rubber mat that is shock-absorbing to ensure safety. A large outer circle between 32 to 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 two-inch wide line, which is part of the wrestling area and included in bounds. The wrestlers are within bounds when the supporting point(s) (the weight-bearing points of the body, such as the feet, hands, knees, buttocks, etc.) of either wrestler are 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 two-inch thick 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 two-inch wide line, although this is no longer specified by the NCAA Wrestling Rules. 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.

Equipment:

  • A singlet is a one-piece wrestling garment made of spandex that should provide a tight and comfortable fit for the wrestler. It is made from nylon or lycra and prevents an opponent from using anything on the wrestler as leverage. The singlets are usually light or dark depending on whether the wrestlers are competing at home or abroad, and they are usually designed according to the institution’s or club’s team colors. Wrestlers also have the option of wearing leggings with their singlets. Recently, some college wrestlers have begun to wear short-sleeved, tight-fitting shirts with accompanying shorts made out of spandex or lycra.
  • A special pair of shoes is worn by a wrestler to increase his mobility and flexibility. Wrestling shoes are light and flexible in order to provide maximum comfort and movement. Usually made with rubber soles, they help give the wrestler’s feet a better grip on the mat.
  • Headgear, equipment worn around the ears to protect them, is mandatory in collegiate (scholastic or folkstyle) wrestling. This is done to decrease the participant’s own risk for injury, as there is the potential to develop cauliflower ear.
    In addition, special equipment, such as face masks, braces, mouthguards, hair coverings, knee pads, or armbands may be worn by either wrestler. Anything worn that prevents normal movement or execution of holds is prohibited.

Scoring: Points are awarded mostly when a wrestler gains a certain level of control is gained over his opponent. In general, the wrestler has to be controlling his opponent’s hips with restraining power in order for the referee to determine that he has control of his opponent. This is known as the position of advantage. Scoring can be accomplished in the following ways:

  • Takedown (2 points): From the neutral position, one wrestler gains control by bringing the other down onto the mat beyond reaction time and the supporting point(s) of either wrestler are in bounds. This is most often accomplished by attacking the legs of the opponent, although various throws can also be used to bring a wrestler down to the mat.
  • Escape (1 point): A defensive wrestler who is being controlled on the bottom is awarded an escape when the offensive wrestler loses control of the opponent while any part of either wrestler’s supporting point(s) or foot remains on the mat in bounds. An escape may be awarded when the wrestlers are still in contact.
  • Reversal (2 points): A defensive wrestler who is being controlled on the bottom is awarded a reversal when he comes from the bottom/defensive position and gains control of the opponent either on the mat or in a rear standing position. Reversal points are awadrded on the edge of the wrestling area if any part of either wrestler’s supporting point(s) or foot remains on the mat in bounds.
  • Near Fall: This is similar to the points for exposure or the danger position awarded in the international styles of wrestling, but the emphasis for near falls is on control, not risk. Near fall criteria is met when: (1) the offensive wrestler holds the defensive wrestler in a high bridge or on both elbows; (2) the offensive wrestler holds any part of both his opponent’s shoulders or scapulae (shoulder blades) within four inches of the mat; or (3) the offensive wrestler controls the defensive wrestler in such a way that one of the bottom wrestler’s shoulders or scapulae, or the head, is touching the mat, and the other shoulder or scapula is held at an angle of 90 degrees or less to the mat. The referee counts the seconds off. Near fall points are also known as “back points.” The near fall was formerly known as predicament in college wrestling.
(2 points) – Two points are given when near fall criteria is met for two to four seconds. Two points can also be granted in cases where a pinning combination is executed legally and a near fall is imminent, but the defensive wrestler is injured, signals an injury, or bleeds excessively before the near fall criterion is met.
(3 points) – Three points are given when near fall criteria is met for five seconds or more. After five seconds, the referee awards three points and stops counting. When a near fall criterion is met that is between two and four seconds, and the defensive wrestler is injured, indicates an injury, or bleeds excessively, three points are also awarded.
(4 points) – Four points are given when a criterion for a near fall is met for five seconds, and the defensive wrestler later is injured, indicates an injury, or bleeds excessively.
  • Penalty (1 or 2 points): A point can be awarded by the referee to the opponent for various penalty situations. “Unsportsmanlike conduct” by the wrestler includes swearing, teasing the opponent, etc. “Flagrant misconduct” includes actions (physical or nonphysical) that intentionally attack the opponent, the opponent’s team, or others in a severe way. Illegal holds are also penalized accordingly, and potentially dangerous holds are not penalizaed, but the match will be stopped by the referee. Also, “technical violations” such as stalling, interlocking hands, and other minor infractions are penalized. With some situations, such as stalling, a warning is given after the first occurennce, and if there is another occurrence the penalty point is given. In other situations, there is no warning and penalty points are automatically given. In general, after a certain number of occurrences where penalty points are given, the penalized wrestler is disqualified.
  • Imminent Scoring: When a match is stopped for an injury during a scoring situation (e.g. a takedown, reversal, or escape), and the referee determines that scoring would have been successful if the wrestling had continued, an injury timeout is charged to the injured wrestler and the applicable points are given to his non-injured opponent.
  • Time Advantage or Riding Time (1 point): Whenever a wrestler is controlling an opponent on the mat in such a way that prevents an escape or a reversal, he is gaining time advantage (or riding time). An assistant timekeeper then records the time advantange of each wrestler throughout the match. At the end of the third period, one point is awarded to the wrestler with the greater time advantage, provided that the difference between the two wrestlers is one minute or more. Points for time advantage are only awarded in college competition.

Victory Conditions in Collegiate Wrestling: The object of the entire wrestling match is to attain victory by what is known as the pin or fall. A pin occurs when a wrestler holds any part of both his opponent’s shoulders or scapulae (shoulder blades) on the mat for one full second at the college level. A pin ends the match immediately, and the offensive wrestler who held the pin is declared the winner. Pins can be attained in many different ways.

The most common way of getting the pin is through the various nelson holds, in particular, the half nelson. Other techniques used to get falls are cradles, the headlock (head and arm), single or double armbars (bar arms), the “back bow” and the leg turk, the reverse body lock, the guillotine, the leg split (also known as the banana split or spread eagle), the spladle, the figure-4 to the head, the straight body scissors, and the double grapevine (also called the Saturday night ride). On the college level in a dual meet (a competition in which wrestlers from two college or university teams face each other), the fall would be awarded with six points for the winning team.

A technical fall is also possible once a deficit of 15 points is achieved. A technical fall is very likely when one wrestler has great control over the other and is able to score near fall points. If the wrestler in control is unable to score a pin, the match ends once an imminent pinning situation is no longer seen by the referee or when the wrestlers return to the neutral position. On the college level in a dual meet, if the technical fall occurred with near fall points for the winner during the match, five team points are awarded. If the technical fall occurred with no near fall points for the winner in the dual meet, four team points are awarded.

If no fall or technical fall occurs, a wrestler can also win simply by points. If a wrestler wins by eight or more points, but under the 15 points needed for a technical fall, the win is known as a major decision. This is worth four team points in a dual meet. If the wrestler wins by less than eight points, or wins the first point in a sudden victory overtime period without gaining a fall, default, or a win by an opponent’s disqualification, the wrestler then wins by decision, worth three team points in a dual meet.

If for any reason, a wrestler is unable to continue competing during the match (e.g. because of injury, illness, etc.), his opponent is awarded victory by default, worth six team points in a dual meet. If a wrestler is barred from competing further in a match by virtue of acquiring penalties or for flagrant misconduct, his opponent wins by disqualification, again worth six teams points in a dual meet. A wrestler also may gain a victory by forfeit, meaning that the other wrestler for some reason fails to appear on the mat at the start of the match. In a tournament, the wrestler could also win by a medical forfeit if for some reason his opponent becomes ill or injured during the course of the tournaments and decides not to continue wrestling.

A victory by forfeit is worth six team points in a dual meet. For a wrestler to win by forfeit or medical forfeit however, he must appear on the mat in a wrestling uniform. The existence of the forfeit condition encourages teams to have at least one varsity competitor at every weight class. A medical forfeit is scored as a forfeit in all tournament advancements. The wrestler who declared the medical forfeit is excused from further weigh-ins but is eliminated from further competition.

In a dual meet, when all team points are totaled, the team with the most points wins the competition. On the college level, it is possible for a dual meet to end in a tie, except in certain dual meets that measure team advancement, where the tie is broken by one team point awarded to a team based on certain criteria. In a tournament, most of the points are scored on the team level of 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. One and one-half additional advancement points are awarded for technical fall victories with near fall points. One additional advancement point is awarded for technical fall victories with no near-fall points and for major decisions. 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 semifinal 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 semifinal 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-60 to WR-62 of the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Rules and Interpretations.

High School Level: Also known as scholastic wrestling when practiced at the high school and middle (junior high) school level, collegiate wrestling is practiced with a few differences at the high school level. Scholastic wrestling is regulated by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). High school matches are shorter – not having college’s three-minute first period. Additionally, college wrestling uses the concept of “time advantage” or “riding time,” while high school wrestling does not.

According to an Athletics Participation Survey taken by the National Federation of State High School Associations, boys’ wrestling ranked eighth in terms of the number of schools sponsoring teams, with 9,744 schools participating in the 2005-06 school year. Also, 251,534 boys participated in the sport during that school year, making scholastic wrestling the sixth most popular sport among high school boys. Scholastic wrestling is currently practiced in 48 of the 50 states; only Arkansas and Mississippi do not officially sanction wrestling for high schools and middle schools.

Folkstyle – Age-group Level: 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 more commonly used term than collegiate.