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College Wrestling For Dummies (Revised): Everything To Know About 2023 Collegiate Wrestling

The best sports season of the year is back, folks.

Penn State wrestling is set to begin its season on Sunday, November 12, in the Journeymen Collegiate Classic. The Nittany Lions have both old and new faces on the roster as they work toward a potential 11th national championship after clinching their 10th in the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships.

While the Nittany Lions went through some changes in the offseason, the NCAA also made revisions to collegiate wrestling as a whole, changing the scope of the sport for the 2023-24 season.

The former managing editor and Onward State great Anthony Colucci made his version of Wrestling for Dummies in 2019 before the NCAA Championship, but it’s time for a few additions before the season begins with so many adjustments to the action.

What To Know

Match Structure: During each dual, 10 individual matchups, called bouts, occur within 10 weight classes ranging from 125 pounds to heavyweight, which is up to 285 pounds.

Each bout can last for seven minutes and consists of three periods: three minutes in the first and second periods and two minutes in the final period. The bout begins in a neutral period, and the ref will flip a coin in the subsequent period to determine who gets to choose their position to start. The other wrestler gets his choice in the third period.

If a bout is tied after seven minutes, it enters a minute-long sudden death period. If the score is still tied, a 30-second period is in play with wrestlers switching between top and bottom position until someone comes out victorious.

A bout can end in a few different ways:

Decision (three points): A wrestler wins by decision if their total lead is seven or fewer points ahead of their opponent. This is the most common type of bout win in wrestling.

Major decision (four points): The next level of victory in wrestling is a major decision. A major decision occurs if the wrestler wins by eight to 14 points more than their opponent. Leads this large are also a way to score bonus points for the team.

Technical fall (five points): This is one of two ways that a bout can end sooner than its allotted seven minutes. Once a wrestler is leading by 15 or more points, the bout is automatically over and bonus points are earned.

Fall (six points): Also known as a pin, this ends the bout when the opponent’s shoulders are both square on the mat and their entire back is flat. This is the pinnacle of scoring in wrestling.

Wrestlers can earn one point for an escape, unsportsmanlike conduct, and illegal holds, while two points are awarded for a reversal. Wrestlers can also earn one to two points for stalling. Six points can be scored by forfeit, medical forfeit, and injury default.

Rule Changes

The NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee approved several changes to the rules for the 2023-24 season. The biggest of these changes comes in the form of a three-point takedown, so say goodbye to the echos of “TWOOOO” in Rec Hall.

This new point system will be “rewarding offensive actions and risk-taking,” according to the NCAA. Additionally, a three-point near-fall was added, making it a sliding scale score from two to four.

The committee explained that the changes come as a way to encourage the top wrestlers to go on offense, get creative, and minimize the use of the neutral position.

Some other changes were also made and posted to the NCAA website including:

  • The first medical forfeit of a tournament will count as a loss on the wrestler’s record. An exception will be if the medical forfeit occurs immediately after an injury default in a tournament.
  • Officials can let the action continue after penalizing an illegal hold and not require a stoppage after imminent scoring finishes when the safety of wrestlers isn’t in danger.
  • The penalty for a delayed coach’s video review challenge request will be changed to a loss of the video review. Previously, it was a control-of-mat violation and a one-point deduction from the team total.
  • Any true-placement matches conducted in an event will not alter the final team score.
  • The current mandatory five-second count for the waist and ankle ride will be expanded to include all situations in which the top wrestler grasps the bottom wrestler’s ankle. 
  • Weigh-in times across all competition types will be standardized to two hours or sooner before the start of competition. Previously, tournament weigh-ins were two hours or sooner, but dual meet weigh-ins were permitted only one hour or ahead of the competition. 
  • Weight certification for all schools will be permitted to start September 1.

How To Watch

Dual meets will be streamed on a variety of platforms, but the current schedule is:

  • @ Journeymen Collegiate Classic — 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 12 | Flo Wrestling
  • @ Army Black Knight Invite — Sunday, November 19 | Flo Wrestling
  • vs. Lehigh — 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 3 | Big Ten Network
  • vs. Hofstra — 1 p.m. on Sunday, December 10 | BTN+
  • @ Oregon State — 8 p.m. on Friday, January 5 | Pac 12 Network
  • vs. Indiana — 1 p.m. on Sunday, January 14 | BTN+
  • @ Michigan — 6 p.m. on Friday, January 19 | Big Ten Network
  • @ Michigan State — Sunday, January 21 | BTN+
  • @ Maryland — Noon on Sunday, January 2 | Big Ten Network
  • vs. Ohio State — 6:30 p.m. Friday, February 2 | Big Ten Network
  • @ Iowa — 9 p.m. on Friday, February 9 | Big Ten Network
  • vs. Rutgers — 7 p.m. on Monday, February 12 | Big Ten Network
  • vs. Nebraska — 4 p.m. on Sunday, February 18 | Big Ten Network
  • vs. Edinboro — 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 25 | BTN+

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a junior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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