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10/9/19 – Suspension of NFHS Wrestling Rule 4-1-4

October 9, 2019 Wrestling Blog Updates


This memorandum from Elliot Hopkins, the NFHS Wrestling Rules Editor, and National Interpreter, was received  on October 9. 2019:

Subject: Suspension of NFHS Wrestling Rule 4-1-4


Good Afternoon:
We have had some inquiries regarding the modified NFHS Wrestling Rule 4-1-4 and its intent and purpose. The NFHS Wrestling Rules Committee’s purpose was to restrict non-school promotional references from appearing on the wrestling ear guards that were not issued by the school. This practice was turning high school wrestlers into “walking billboards”. Items such as pop culture or movie references (Avengers, Superman), corporate sponsorships (Hines Lumber, McDonalds), advocacy interests (Save the Whales, Protect the Bees), biblical references (John 3:16, 2 Tim 1:17) and college logos (Michigan, Iowa) as a few examples of some of the items that are appearing on the ear guards. The rule’s limitation of manufacturer’s logo not to exceed more than one printed logo/trademark/reference and the restriction of size not to exceed 2 ¼ in. square was an existing rule and has been a rule since 1994. In fact, all NFHS rules books share the same language.

What we discovered was the wrestling ear guard manufacturers have not been adhering to our rule and our scrutiny of promotional references has created an unintended consequence for non-compliance of existing products. It was not the intention of the rules committee to impact the high school wrestling community with an unexpected or unplanned expense. We will suspend that portion of the rule (NFHS Rules 4-1-4) until we speak with the representatives of the Sport and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) who represent US sporting goods manufacturers. We will direct them to advise their ear guard manufacturing clients that they are in violation of NFHS Wrestling Rule 4-1-4 and give them a future deadline to become compliant.

The rules committee will discuss this issue in greater detail when they convene in April during their annual rules committee meeting. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office. Thank you in advance for your understanding of this issue.


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