West Virginia Wrestling

Making The Call ...

by Dr. Bill Welker

Part Two, January 15 - 30, 1998
Return to the current Making the Call Page

February 20, 1998
Q: First, do cheerleaders dish out a lot of grief for the referee? And second, how should a referee handle an unruly coach?
Near Fall
A: To answer your first question, believe it or not, in my 20 years as an official, I have never had problems with cheerleaders. As for getting too close to the mat, cheerleaders must be 10 feet away, like the coaches' benches and score table. As to handling an unruly coach, I first try to use diplomacy. I was a coach once and understand the pressures they are under. However, if the coach still doesn't calm down (and depending on the severity of his actions), I would be forced to penalize him for unsportsmanlike conduct or flagrant misconduct. Good question, Near Fall

February 18, 1998
Q: Wrestler A is on top when Wrestler B turns around basically facing him with legs sprawled. Wrestler A has 1) both arms wrapped around one leg of Wrestler B, 2) each hand behind each of Wrestler B's knees, or 3) one hand behind Wrestler B's right or left knee. Would an escape be awarded in any of the above situations?
Greg Frame
A: A very good question, Greg! In situation No. 1 NO escape would be awarded. The same is true of situation No. 2--no escape. However, situation No. 3 can be a little "iffy" at times. With situation No. 3, it would be up to the referee to determine if Wrestler B has broken away enough. If so, he gets an escape; if, in the referee's mind, he hasn't, then NO escape would be earned by Wrestler B.

Q: Is it illegal to lock hands from a double arm-bar position for the wrestler who is on top with the bottom man on his stomach?
A: It is a perfectly legal hold, not to mention lethal to the bottom man as a pinning combination. Well thought out question, Hamster!

February 17, 1998
Q: In reference to the 14-days-of-practice rule in West Virginia, what if a wrestler had a lengthy illness (Mono) or injury (broken wrist) mid-season, would he have to abide by the above rule again that same season?
M. Queen
A: Excellent question, Mr. Queen. The only answer I can give you is that it would probably depend on the length of the recuperation period and, most important, the WVSSAC would have the final say, not the rules interpreter of the sport (in this case, wrestling). I am sorry but that's the best answer I can give you.

February 16, 1998
Q: Doc, at Brooke on Saturday, Wrestler A took Wrestler B down with a bearhug, directly to his back, where Wrestler B yelled out in pain and you stopped the match. How was that scored?
Nick Busick
A: Wrestler A would receive two points for the takedown, and since near-fall criteria was met just prior to the injury, Wrestler A would receive three near-fall points. The rule starts that if a boy is bleeding/injured:
1) just prior to near-fall criteria being met, it's two match points;
2) right after near-fall criteria was met, it's three match points;
3) and after the five-count has been indicated by the official, it's four match points.
Good question, Nick!

Q: Wrestler A is certified at 103 pouinds. He is going to wrestle at 119 for a tournament. Since Wrestler A wants to stay certified at 103 pounds, he plans to weigh-in at the 112-pound class. The event is after the two-pound allowance date. Does Wrestler A have to weigh-in at 112 or 114 (with the two-pound allowance)?
M. Queen
A: If Wrestler A never made base weight at 112 pounds before, even if he did at 103 pounds, Wrestler A must make base weight (112 pounds) since it is the first time weighing in at that weight class. Now if he wrestled at 112 pounds earlier in the year and made base weight then, Wrestler A could weigh-in at 114 pounds. The important point is this: A wrestler must make base weight the first time he wrestles at any weight class. Very good question!

February 13, 1998
Q1: Does a wrestler have to make base weight, even after the two-pound growth allowance is given, if it is the first time wrestling at that weight class?
Q2: Does a conference tournament count in the 16 weigh-ins allowed for a wrestler during the season?
M. Queen
A1: Yes.
A2: No.

February 12, 1998
Q: Last year there were some incidences around the state were wrestlers false started on purpose in the neutral position to injure their opponents and gain default victories. What has been done to eliminate this problem, and has it stopped?
Richard Welker
A: I believe this question was asked earlier this season. At all my clincs, I suggested that officials start the wrestlers in the neutral position with their hand and arm between the wrestlers to stop one who might false start. I have been doing it all season, and I have not had one false start. There have been no reports this year of the above problem, so I believe it has been eliminated in West Virginia. Camden, Cory, Chase, Michele and Peggy say "Hi!"

February 9, 1998
Q: Wrestler A is on bottom with Wrestler B on the top position. Wrestler A, while standing up, wraps his left arm around Wrestler B's head. Wrestler A doesn't lock hands, but instead grabs the inside of his own upper left leg (with his left hand) which applies pressure around Wrestler B's head. Would this be considered an illegal headlock, even though Wrestler A has not locked his hands around Wrestler B's head?
S. Hickman
A: Yes, it is an illegal headlock. The same type of pressure is being applied to the head that would occur with hands locked around one's head. A good question, Mr. Hickman!

February 4, 1998
Q: What was the reasoning for doing away with riding time?
Richard A. Welker
A: Since the objective of wrestling is to obtain a fall, it was the belief of many high school wrestling authorities that "riding time" did not promote working for pinning combinations. However, when we eliminated "riding time," another wrestling artform gradually disappeared -- "chain wrestling" on the bottom. Today, most wrestlers on the bottom will try a stand-up or switch and stop, expecting that sooner or later the top wrestlers will be hit for stalling if no fall is in progress. Although this is often the case, I (as an official) do not subscribe to this viewpoint. I expect the bottom man to be working, also. If not, I am just as likely to warn the defensive wrestler for stalling as the offensive wrestler if action has slowed down. Good question, Corporal Welker!

February 2, 1998
Q: Is stalling in the 30-Second Tiebreaker called differently than the rest of the match?
S. Hickman
A: Yes. The last sentence in NF Rule 6-7-2 (p. 23) states "During the tiebreaker, stalling will be called ONLY when it is unquestionable." The "Comments on the Rules" section of the NF Wrestling Rulebook (p. 47)further details the uniqueness of the 30-Second Tiebreaker in reference to stalling. So, can the top man simply ride or control the bottom man for this 30-Second Tiebreaker? Again, the answer is , YES. An example of "unquestionable stalling" would be if the top man were hanging onto (hugging) the bottom of the defensive wrestler's one or two legs for "dear life," not making any other movement at all. Good question, Mr. Hickman!

Q: After calling a slam, can an official change his call later during the "recovery time" or after recovery time?
Jim LeMaster
A: Indicating a slam is no longer a delayed call in West Virginia. Once an offical calls a slam, there shall be no changing of the call. Again, the "Slam or No Slam" call should be made immediately and not be changed. It would be very improper officiating mechanics to do so.

January 30, 1998
Q: Could you define the term "Certification Date" (Rule 1-3-2) on page 8 in the NF Wrestling Rulebook?
Jimmy Hayman
A: The "NF Certification Date" which the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission adopted must occur on December 23rd in our state. It is the date when "certified minimum weight" forms for all our wrestlers must be sent to the WVSSAC office and postmarked no later than December 23rd. This form, signed by a doctor and the parents/guardians, states the lowest weight class in which a wrestler may safely compete. The wrestler can compete NO lower than his/her certified minimum weight.

January 29, 1998
Q: Wrestler A is riding Wrestler B when Wrestler B stands up. Wrestler A is still in control, standing behind Wrestler B with hands locked around the waist of Wrestler B. Attempting to bring Wrestler B down to the mat again, Wrestler A stumbles backwards with his hands still locked around Wrestler B, whose body then accidently lands on Wrestler A as they hit the mat. As soon as they hit the mat Wrestler A is hurt. (He goes limp.) At the same instant, Wrestler B was in the process of reversing Wrestler A, whose back was on the mat. The referee immediately stops the match and starts injury time for Wrestler A. This all transpires in less than two seconds. Wrestler A recovers and is ready to resume wrestling. My question is -- In what position do the wrestlers restart and what points, if any, are scored?
Tim Miller
A: WOW! Are you sure there's not a train involved in this scenario?
Anyway, here's the ruling, and it's two-sided. To begin with, it all depends on the referee's perception of the sequence of events. Yes, I am saying it is another "judgment call." So here we go:
A. If the referee felt that Wrestler B was reversing Wrestler A prior to the injury, then he would award Wrestler B two points for a reversal and three points for a near fall since Wrestler A was already on his back, meeting near-fall criteria. Thus, Wrestler B would start on top in the referee's position when the match resumes.
B. On the other hand, if the referee felt that Wrestler B would not have scored a reversal as the injury occurred, then no points should be awarded. Thus, Wrestler A would start on top in the referee's position when the match resumes.

In essence, it would be an all or nothing call by the official. I hope that clarifies this situation a little bit. Again, it all comes down to the referee's judgment. It's tough wearing that striped shirt at times. Great question, Dr. Miller!!!

January 29, 1998
Q: In a tournament, if there are only three wrestlers in a weight class and the round-robin approach is utilized, would advancement points be scored?
Jim LeMaster
A: I believe that since there are only three wrestlers in the weight class, they have already placed, be it 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Thus, to my way of thinking, they are already in the final round and NO advancement points should be scored. I believe that in your case, the major concern is to allow the boys the opportunity to wrestle more than once, which I think is good for the contestants. Note, there is nothing in the NF Wrestling Rulebook regarding this situation, so the tournament director would have the final say on team scoring in the round-robin approach. Interesting question, Jim!

January 29, 1998
Q: Is there any rule regarding the length of an official's hair?
Ed Fields
A: Rule 3-1-1 of the NF Wrestling Rulebook (p. 10) states "The referee shall be neatly attired..." There is no mention of hair length. As long as the official is dressed properly, a caring individual whose main concern is "wrestler-safety," knowledgeable of the rules, consistent, and an all-around "nice guy," such as yours truly--that's all anyone can hope for in a competent official. I have no idea who you are referring to Mr. Fields, but I am sure he is a fine, fine gentleman of the highest integrity and character. As always, Mr. Fields, I do appreciate your love of wrestling, and your support of all those associated with the mat sport. Again, many thanks for this intriguing question!

January 28, 1998
Q: Can it be considered stalling by the top wrestler if he releases the bottom wrestler on purpose?
Homer Southwood
A: Yes! If in the official's opinion, he does not immediately attempt to secure a takedown--the wrestler can be called for stalling after intentionally releasing his opponent. (Rule 7-6-4: p. 28 of NF Wrestling Rulebook)

Q: After wrestling five matches in a tournament, can Wrestler A then compete in an exhibition match on the same day?
A: No. It is still a match against an opponent from another team and the exhibition bout would be considered a sixth match. Only five matches a day (Rule 1-2-1: p. 7 NF Wrestling Rulebook).

January 27, 1998
Q: After just being blown out-of-bounds, Wrestler A (the defensive wrestler) is winning the match by one point, with a few seconds left in the third period. After Wrestler A is set in the down position by the referee, Wrestler B indicates that he is going to use the "optional" starting position on top. Knowing that Wrestler B will surely secure a takedown, Wrestler A decides not to move when Wrestler B attempts to push him away. What will the official probably do?
Banana Split
A: Wrestler A will probably be charged with "stalling." If Wrestler A has already been warned, the match would then be tied. Excellent query, Banana Split!

January 26, 1998
Q: Does a forfeit count as one of the five matches allowed per day?
Wrestling Referee
A: A forfeit DOES count as one of the five matches allowed per day. However, a "bye" does NOT count as a match. It is up to the tournament director to see to it that a boy only wrestles five matches per day. This situation should never happen. Good Question!

Q: Don't officials have too much power in reference to calling pins?
Locked Hands
A: It is the responsibility of the official to slapped the mat when he sees a fall occur. Yes, some pins may seem a little quick. When I notice that an official is a little quick indicating pins, I talk to him, suggesting he count the two seoconds to himself. A suggestion to wrestlers--"If you don't want to be on the short end of what you might consider a quick fall, then don't get in that situation (Stand up!).

Q: I like Folkstyle Wrestling. Do you think high school and college wrestling should change to the international Freestyle Wrestling?
A: I agree with you, Reversal. I don't want us to change to Freestyle wrestling because Folkstyle wrestling originated in America and is part of our heritage, just like Jazz. We do too much changing for other countries. I think enough's enough! Very good point, Reversal!

Q: Wrestler A is certified at 152 pounds, but wrestles at 171 pounds after the certification date. Can he go back down to 152?
Dave Plume
A: As long as he weighed-in at 160 pounds for that match he wrestled at 171 pounds, Wrestler A can still wrestle at 152 pounds. However, if Wrestler A weighed-in at 171 pounds for the match, then he has recertified himself at 160 pounds. I hope that clarifies the rule for you, Dave.

January 23, 1998
Q: If Wrestler A competes at 152 pounds early in the season, is it possible for him to wrestle at 135 pounds later in the season?
M. Queen
A: Yes! Before December 23rd in West Virginia, a wrestler can compete at any weight class. On December 23rd, however, the wrestler commits himself to a certified minimum weight class, which in the above case could be 135 pounds. You can tell Mr. Queen is a wrestling strategist!

Q: In the 30-second Tiebreaker, Wrestler A (on top) forces Wrestler B to his back and earns a three-point near fall. Then, all of a sudden, Wrestler B reverses Wrestler A and takes him to his back. Is Wrestler B given the opportunity to pin Wrestler A?
A: No! The match was, for all intents and purposes, over when Wrestler A scored the first near-fall points. The only way Wrestler A could lose the match at that point would be to commit a "flagrant misconduct" while he's attempting to pin Wrestler B. Excellent Question!

January 22, 1998
Q: Wrestler A starts out the season. He puts in his 14 mandatory days of practice in order to compete. Then Wrestler A quits for approximately one month. With permission from the coach, Wrestler A returns to the team after that period of time. Does Wrestler A have to put in other 14 days of practice in order to compete?
Wrestling Fan
A: The WVSSAC ruling in this situation is "yes," Wrestler A must put in another 14 days of practice prior to competing -- due to health and liability reasons.

January 21, 1998
Q: Wrestler A shoots a double leg takedown, and Wrestler B immediately double underhooks Wrestler A. While attempting to throw Wrestler A to his back, Wrestler B locks hands around the back of Wrestler A in the double underhook position? Where is it legal to lock hands with a double underhook?
S. Hickman
A: Wrestler B must lock his hands on the side of the back under the armpit. Of course, at times, this can become a "judgment call" by the official.

Q: Where can I get a scholastic wrestling rulebook and wrestling rules which pertain specifically to West Virginia?
S. Hickman
A: You should be able to purchase a wrestling rulebook from the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission (WVSSAC). Wrestling rules that specifically concern West Virginia wrestlers are found in the WVSSAC's November issue of INTERSCHOLASTIC, published four times a year by the Commission. The WVSSAC's phone number is (304)485-5494 and the address is WVSSAC, Route 9, PO Box 76, Parkersburg, WV 26101.

Q: What's the lightest a wrestler can weigh to compete at the 152-pound weight class?
M. Queen
A: Before the 2-pound weight allowance on January 15th, a wrestler must weigh more than 140 pounds. On or after the above date, with the 2-pound allowance, a wrestler must weigh more than 142 pounds. (Note for Mr. Queen: I talked to the National Federation about contact lenses and injury time. At this time, they have no intention of changing rule. But if enough coaches showed concern, they would gladly discuss it in their annual committee meeting, usually conducted in March.)

Q: What is the purpose of the "odd-and-even match" choice in a dual meet? And to continue with a former question, in which state did the woman wrestling official work that you mentioned?
Riding Time
A: The choice of odd or even matches tells the official who has the choice of top, bottom, neutral, or defer at the start of the second period for each particular bout of the dual meet. Team A would have the choice in all the odd matches, and Team B wrestlers would have the choice in the even matches. Secondly, the woman wrestling official I witnessed worked in Ohio and then Oregon over ten years ago. And again, I must admit she was very assertive, as well as competent.

January 21, 1998
Q: Wrestler A has used 4 minutes and 30 seconds of his blood time. Wrestler B hits a devastating crossface and is penalized for unnecessary roughness. Furthermore, due to the crossface, Wrestler A's nose starts to bleed. How should this be handled by the referee?
A: Blood time would be used for the nosebleed. And if the blood is not checked within the thirty seconds remaining for Wrestler A's blood time, Wrestler B would lose the match due to the illegal maneuver. Note, recovery time would not come into play under these circumstance. This is a National Federation interpretation via phone conversation with Fritz McGinness, wrestling rulebook editor, on January 20, 1998.

January 20, 1998
Q: How does an official keep track of who is on top, especially after escapes, takedowns, reversals, and out-of-bounds situations have occurred?
Back Points
A: Good question, Back Points! To be quite honest, I never thought about it much; I just seemed to know. Now when it comes to remembering who has choice the third period, I place my disk in my pocket a certain way which tells me who has the choice. Other than that, I just stay focused on the match, so I don't forget who is on top....and that's about it. Do I ever forget who is on top? Rarely, but when I do, the people at the score table or the coaches themselves quickly inform me of my error.

Q: During the two-minute overtime period, what is the proper call if Wrestler A takes Wrestler B down and directly to his back?
C. Doneil
A: The match should continue until there is a fall, they go out-of-bounds, the bottom man (Wrestler B) gets off his back, or time runs out. Note, the wrestler being taken down must go straight to his back; if not, the match should be stopped immediately when the takedown is scored.

Note that on occasion, a referee has gotten so intently involved in the "overtime" bout that he stopped the match (too soon) when the takedown was scored...and the wrestler taken down was on his back. It's referred to as an "inadvertent whistle," and nothing can be done about it, but to raise the winner's hand. Some coaches handle it better than others, realizing that everybody is human. Referees are not exempt from error. Super question!

Q: Women are becoming more involved in wrestling. Have you ever seen a woman wrestling official at any level? What are your thoughts?
Riding Time
A: Yes, I have seen a woman officiate at the high school level and at a freestyle tournament. She did a very competent job. If a women knows the rules, knows how to enforce them with confidence and proper mechanics, then as a coach I would have no problem with her officiating my matches. Interesting question, Riding Time!

Q: At the wrestling clinics you conducted earlier this year, you recommended that officials should start the matches in the neutral position with their arm between the wrestlers. The purpose being to eliminate injuries due to false starts in the neutral position. I have yet to see an official start the wrestlers in this manner. Was there a change in thought?
M. Queen
A: There has been no change in thought. As a matter of fact, I do place my arm between the wrestlers when I start them in the neutral position. Not only does it protect the wrestlers from injury, but I have not even had a false start from the neutral position this year. I think the arm being between the starting lines before they even get there has eliminated the over-all problem of false starts in the neutral position. I personally think every official should do it. But since it's a suggestion, they are not required to do so. I like it and have been promoting it with other officials. I plan to suggest to the National Federation that they make it mandatory. We'll see what happens. Good point of emphasis and good listening at your clinic!

January 19, 1998
Q: Besides counting 2 seconds for 2 near-fall points and 5 seconds for 3 near-fall points, should the official communicate with the wrestlers during a near-fall situation?
Injury Time
A: The official should only communicate with the wrestlers when necessary, say when the bottom man elbows the top man's head illegally. But note, the official should never "coach."

Q: What are the most common infractions that a referee encounters?
Injury Time
A: Off the top of my head, the infractions that I encounter the most are: Locked Hands, Illegal Headlock, Full Nelson, Stalling, and False Starts. Good Question!

January 15, 1998
Q: How should an official call a "pin" when Wrestler A is winning by a large margin (say 8 or more points), totally dominating the match, but then he gets careless--and is thrown to his back by Wrestler B? Also, has this type of situation ever occurred to you as an official or wrestler during a match?
Gut Wrench
A: An official should call a "pin" by the rules no matter what the circumstances are. If a wrestler's shoulders are on the mat for two seconds, he's pinned! It's as simple as that. As an official, this year in the finals of a tournament I called a pin on a wrestler who was winning by 14 points when he was turned to his back. As the defending state champ my junior year, I was beating my opponent by 8 points when I made a stupid mistake, was taken to my back, and sure enough the official signalled a fall. And he was absolutely correct in doing so! (Shame on me!)

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Updated January 15, 1998