AVOIDING WRESTLING AND ENCOURAGING WRESTLING IN CENTER OF MAT
Going out of the wrestling area by either wrestler or forcing an opponent out of the wrestling area at any time as a means of avoiding wrestling is a technical violation (Rule 7-3-1). There are many occasions when this happens and no call is made or a wrestler is called for stalling when the appropriate call would be a technical violation for fleeing the mat. There can be no technical violation of fleeing the mat if near-fall points have been earned.
One common scenario that occurs is often initiated from the offensive/defensive starting position in the center of the mat when both wrestlers work their way to their feet and the action goes out of bounds. It can be difficult to determine if the offensive wrestler is pushing the defensive wrestler out of bounds, if the defensive wrestling is running out of bounds to make it look like the offensive wrestler is pushing him/her out, or if it is aggressive action by both wrestlers. Another common scenario is when one wrestler has a single leg in the air near the out-of-bounds line, and the other wrestler tries to jump or spin out of the situation and ends up out of bounds.
In the above situations as well as similar situations where a wrestler may be using the edge of the mat to get out of a situation, judgment is required by the referee with the primary question being “Was the wrestler wrestling aggressively and trying to stay in bounds or using the edge of the mat as a means to avoiding wrestling?” If he/she was using the edge of the mat as a means of avoiding wrestling, a technical violation should be called. Good wrestling action requires both wrestlers to make an honest attempt to stay within the wrestling area.
PREVENTING OFFICIATING TO PREVENT INJURIES
Preventive officiating must be on every referee’s mind. One area of concern is injuries that occur during false starts from the neutral position. To avoid such injuries, the referee should stretch his/her arm(s) out between and parallel to the starting lines before blowing the whistle. By doing so, the referee can block either wrestler who false starts prior to the whistle, thus reducing the potential for injury to one or both wrestlers.
AUTHORITY/RESPONSIBILITY OF THE OFF-MAT REFEREE TO CALL FLAGRANT/UNSPORTSMANLIKE CONDUCT
The jurisdiction time of the referee begins when he/she arrives at the site of the competition and concludes with the approval of the scorebook in dual-meet competition and after signing the bout sheet after the last match in tournament competition. In either dual meets or individual tournaments, when a referee is not on the mat working, he/she still has jurisdiction in the mat area and responsibility for enforcing NFHS wrestling rules associated with the mat area. The referee on the mat is responsible for his/her match, but other referees involved in the competition should offer assistance in the mat area when necessary. Referees are reminded that just because they are not officiating a match, they still have responsibilities for enforcement of rules that extend beyond officiating a match.