A rule change allowing scholastic wrestlers to wear a two-piece uniform as an alternative to the traditional singlet is expected to increase participation in the sport, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations and area coaches.
Rutgers University head coach Scott Goodale said if the two-piece uniform option helps more prospective student-athletes come out for the sport, he’s in favor of the rule change.
The NFHS announced on Tuesday that its Wrestling Rules Committee approved for the 2017-18 season and beyond the uniform option, which will allow wrestlers to compete with compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling and a form-fitted compression shirt.
According to an NFHS press release, the compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling must be school-issued and have a minimum four-inch inseam that does not extend below the knee. The form-fitted compression shirt must not cover or extend below the elbow and must have a minimum three-inch tail. The shirt may be worn under a singlet or with compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling.
The committee approved use of the alternate two-piece uniform in the hopes of increasing participation in the sport after receiving favorable results from experimentation and positive comments from schools, students, coaches and officials, the NFHS said in its release.
Wrestling is the seventh most popular scholastic sport in the country for boys with 250,653 participants, according to 2015-16 NFHS data. In addition, the NFHS said 13,496 girls participated in the sport nationally during the 2015-16 campaign.