The NCAA wrestling rules committee has passed sweeping changes to the sport – and if the NCAA playing rules committee accepts them, they will be implemented next year.
Let’s take a look at these now:
The 3 point takedown. This rule would place more value on the takedown while encouraging action (hopefully).
Hand-touch takedown is out. Previously, a wrestler getting behind their opponent and one hand touched the mat = takedown. This rule would require a higher level of control for the takedown.
Near-fall 3 is back. Get a 3-count, get 3 near fall points.
No riding time point unless there is a near fall turn. Anything to keep athletes from just riding from top with no attempt to turn.
The main focus for the committee was to fix 4 things that are on the decrease in collegiate wrestling.
- Near falls
- Tech falls
- TV Ratings dropping faster than an indicted politician’s poll numbers
In short, in an era with incredible stars that should be leading to increases in interest, action and viewing, ALL are falling.
Now let’s take a gander at each of these changes:
3 point takedown.
Takedown – TWO! Is so well-known around the sport, that I think Takedown-THREE! is going to have a hard time catching on. If you were a baseball executive, would you count a home run as 2 runs just to increase scoring?
Still, I’m not completely against rewarding an extra point for a takedown, but I don’t think its going to make a big difference. Especially when…
Hand-touch takedown is out.
This is where the committee goes off the rails. Instead of rewarding action and giving more takedowns, they are looking for a higher level of control – meaning fewer takedowns – and thus, doing less of what they should be doing, which is rewarding the agressor. In short – what are you thinking, rules committee?
A better move would be to keep the takedown as a 2 pointer and instead, score takedowns more often, not less often. See below for some out-of-the-box ideas on this from yours truly.
3 point nearfall.
I definitely agree with this rule. A two-count is worth 2 points, a four-count is worth 4 points – why not a 3 count worth 3 points? It should have never been taken out in the first place. However..
This current rule change will do absolutely nothing to increase near fall points. Wasn’t that the idea? More scoring? Who holds their opponent in danger for a two-count and then doesn’t bother trying to hold them for a 4-count because its just too much effort?
Why do we have to make the sport so complicated for the casual fan?
Every hand-swipe should represent a point – including the first one. Think how easy this is…
- One count = one point.
- Two counts = two points.
- Three counts = three points.
- Four counts = four points.
Not rocket science, is it? Also much easier for the casual fan to figure out our way too complicated sport, and most importantly…
Reward risk-taking. Turn your opponent for even one second, get rewarded.
It is the #1 change that can be made to increase near falls and encourage action from top.
No riding time point unless there is a turn.
I admit to being ambivalent about this one. Eliminating the riding time point has been discussed many times before. It’s akin to the kick-off in football, where they keep changing it to make it less common. Honestly, if you don’t like the riding time point, just get rid of it all together, like they’re eventually going to do in football with kickoffs.
The negative, and there are many, is that it, again, complicates an already complicated sport. And while I feel it is a PLUS to take away the incentive to just ride and not try to turn, they would be better off eliminating stall-type tactics on top (riding hips without a turn attempt – which used to be textbook stalling but in watching this year’s NCAA’s, is apparently accepted now), and of course, my above suggestion to bring back the one-count near fall point.
And now my friends, its time for some fun.
Here are some rule changes I would embrace, and I think the committee should consider:
Takedowns awarded with less control, not more control (see my beef with the hand-touch takedown elimination rule above).
Consider these changes:
- Award a takedown when the wrestler takes his opponent to his butt and keeps him there (think crackdown position where the defensive wrestler doesn’t get an angle).
- Get behind the opponent, its a takedown even from the feet. Talk about confusion – reversals are awarded there but not takedowns.
- Award a takedown in stalemate positions where someone has the legs (this concept was “lifted” directly from the great Wade Schalles, who once wrote that ALL stalemates should be eliminated and the referee should just award points from those positions).
Someone should ALWAYS score when action goes out of bounds. Thank you to the Olympic Styles for this concept, yet taken even a step further. If you go out of bounds under attack, opponent gets a point (call it a step-out or whatever you want). The point goes to the agressor. If both go out and neither is the agressor, the one that stepped out first loses the point.
Its a very simple concept, easy to implement, easy for the fans to grasp, and forces action in-bounds.
Here’s a wild one that violates my keep-it-simple concept but I’m throwing it out there for debate:
Attacking takedown = 3, countering takedown = 2. Might be too complex, but something deep inside the Attack System King likes it.
Another Wild out of the box one for your reading pleasure:
Overtimes are a pain. Too many times, its another 2 minutes of nobody trying anything. Consider this as an overtime alternative:
Both must wrestle in the small circle (applying the step-out rule above). The step-out would probably have to be adjusted to both feet out but you get the idea – two wrestlers in each others faces, one goes out of the circle and loses. You can win by Attacking the opponent out of the circle and that would happen more often than not.