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Ask the Ref


This area is intended to be used as a spot to get questions about wrestling situations or specific rules answered to the best of our ability.  If you have a question email it to  We will try and respond to the best of our ability and those questions that appear to be of general interest to all will be shown here.  Along with your question include your full name.  Names of those submitting questions will not appear on the website if your question is selected for display here.

Early Season 2016-17 Questions and Answers
November 11, 2017

1. The New York State Handbook allows for a sudden victory overtime period to be used at the modified level. The sudden victory overtime period cannot exceed 30 seconds and can be started in either the neutral or referee’s position. The overtime procedure must be determined at the start of the event by the coaches and used throughout the event. You cannot go back and forth between the neutral position and the referee’s position. If the referee’s position is chosen the same criteria will be used to determined choice and the same rules will apply as the varsity ultimate tiebreaker. (Modified State Chairman John Richard)

2. For additional information on skin conditions the website provides several links to informative sites on the subject. I recommend and the skin disorder slide show by Dr. A. Silverman.

3. It is permissible for girls to wear a t-shirt to the weigh-ins. (Previously interpreted by NYSPHSAA, Nina VanErk)

4. The NYS form does not require a NYS Physician’s stamp. Some chapters or sections have been requiring the stamp (which is their prerogative) but it is not a requirement set by the NYSPHSAA.

5. Marty Sherman sent out an interpretation on 12/2/2014, stating the signed written documentation from an appropriate health provider indicating a specific condition such as a birth mark or other non-contagious skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema does not have to be on the NYSPHSAA skin form. It may be a separate document and will be valid for the duration of the season. The separate documentation is valid with understanding that a chronic condition could become secondarily infected and may require evaluation. NYSWOA strongly encourages coaches to instruct their wrestlers to have their physician fill out the official skin form whenever possible to avoid confusion, create consistency and to allow officials to compare condition to indicted area on the body gram. However, we must accept a separate document if provided to the official per Marty Sherman’s instruction.

6. In December of 2014, New York State was temporarily waiving the hair cover rule due to insufficient supply of appropriate hair covers. That wavier is no longer in effect and referees will be enforcing the rule as written.

7. In a standing Merkle it is not necessary to hook the opponent’s leg to be awarded a reversal. When the wrestler executing the move gets control behind their opponent’s arms beyond reaction time, it will be considered a rear standing position and a reversal will be awarded. (Elliott Hopkins, NFHS Editor, 2016)

8. If a wrestler has earned a technical fall and then commits a flagrant misconduct penalty in a tournament, neither wrestler advances, 3 team points will be deducted as well as all other points earned by the offending wrestler.

9. Situation: A wrestler loses a bout 5 to 4 and leaves the mat area. The coach stays to check the score and the referee and the scorer realize the score should have been 5 to 5. Is this a correctible error?

Ruling: This is no longer correctible, because the tie score would require additional wrestling. The rules require the wrestler to remain in the mat area when addition wrestling is required. If the coach remains in the mat area and goes to the table and they realize the score was 5 to 6 and his wrestler won, this would be correctible because when no additional wrestling is necessary only the coach is required to remain in the mat area. (Rule 6-5-1a1)

10. Situation: At the conclusion of the 3rd period the buzzer sounds and Wrestler A has their opponent in the air and slams Wrestler B to the mat, what is the call?

Ruling: Rule 5-17-2, states the match concludes when time expires and the end of the 3rd period. In the above situation the referee would call unsportsmanlike conduct and deduct a team point or flagrant misconduct and deduct 3 team points depending on the severity of the slam.

11. During an attempted takedown or reversal if the scoring wrestler has a cross face to the far arm, hooks the near ankle and controls the far ankle with their other hand, a takedown or reversal will be awarded even if the opponent has their hands locked around the leg above the knee. (Rule 5- 25-1, Pg.19 Green Book)

12. Situation: From a neutral position a wrestler executes a double leg takedown near the boundary line and when the wrestlers hit the mat, one wrestler lands out of bounds while the scoring wrestler hits the mat with both knees out of bounds with one foot down on the mat inbounds and the other foot in the air outside the boundary line and immediately returns that foot inbounds to the mat, would this be a takedown?

Ruling: No takedown will be awarded. When determining out of bounds, consider the circle as a cylinder that goes up to the sky and once the supporting parts go beyond it they are considered out of bounds.

13. Rule 7-2-2(g) A potentially dangerous hold occurs when a wrestler, from a standing position, is placed in a body lock with one or both arms trapped and then is lifted and is unable to use his arm(s) to break the fall. As soon as the lift occurs the match shall be stopped. See Rules Book Illustration #103.This illustrates a wrestler in a body lock.

Rules Book 2016-17 pg.58, clarifies this rule 7-2-2g it states from a standing position when one wrestler is placed in a body lock with one or both arms trapped and is lifted from the mat and is unable use their arm(s) to break their fall creating a potentially dangerous hold the referee shall stop the match.

This year’s rule change is addressing wrestlers in a standing body lock. All other standing positions with a trapped arm(s) will only be stopped when the referee observes a wrestler positioning themselves to return the opponent in an unsafe manor.

Other rear standing positions with a trapped arm should be considered potentially dangerous and should be monitored very closely by the referee according to Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the Wrestling Rules Committee. "Coaches, officials and competitors should be aware of the potential for injury in this situation if the defensive wrestler is returned to the mat and has no arm available to break the fall." (As shown in Rules Book Illustrations #101 and #102.)