12/14/12 – Wrestling Ear Guard Interpretation

December 14, 2012 Wrestling Blog Updates

As a rule reminder I have copied the latest correspondence from the NFHS in regards to Head gear. Key wording is “the uniform shall be worn as intended/designed by the manufacturer”. It has come to my attention that some wrestlers are “twisting the straps” for various reasons and that would not be allowed under this interpretation. Coaches, please be proactive  and stop this before the Official has too…



The NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee issued a rules reminder for 2011-12 on wrestling ear guards, specifically as it relates to Rules 4-1-4 and 4-1-5.  That rules reminder does not constitute a change in Rules 4-1-4 or 4-1-5; rather, it represents an emphasis in the manner the Committee believes the rules should be administered and enforced. Rule 4-1-4: ART. 4 . . . Wrestlers shall wear wrestling ear guards, which provide:
  1. a.    adequate ear protection;
  2. b.    no injury hazard to the opponent; and,
  3. c.    an adjustable locking device to prevent it from coming off or turning on the wrestler’s head.
Rules 4-1-5: ART. 5 . . . The uniform shall be worn as intended/designed by the manufacturer. Comment:  “…tape on the ear guards is not allowed by rule.” There has been some confusion about whether tape is permissible on wrestling ear guards.  The rationale offered by some has been that the tape can (1) adhere the straps together to provide a better fit; (2) cover exposed Velcro to prevent a rough, sharp or abrasive area from being exposed; and (3) secure padding for wrestlers with cauliflower ear.  According to the interpretation of the NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee, none of these taping scenarios would be acceptable under the previously mentioned rules or rules reminder. The rules and rules reminder on ear guards was referred to the NFHS Rules Review Committee for consideration, and the Rules Review Committee was strongly aligned with the concept of wearing equipment as intended/designed by the manufacturer.  There was discussion about whether tape on the ear guards fairly represented wearing the uniform or equipment as the manufacturer intended/designed.