Rule Change Allows Alternative Wrestling Uniform


Jessica Rosiak, Staff Writer

New National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) rules now authorize the use of a 2-piece compression shirt and shorts in place of the classic singlet for wresters. The NFHS has also set stricter policies on weight loss and the use of dangerous moves in the sport.

According to a 2014-15 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey, the rule changes were made to increase wrestling participation. Wrestling is currently ranked 6th in scholastic sport participation for high school boys.

“I think [new uniforms] will be a good thing for the sport, especially for newer wrestlers who are coming in. A lot of them complain that the singlets are a little too revealing, so it’s good that they can have the shorts and shirt alternate,” said wrestling coach Sam Sotelo.

Arine Kim, who is one of the few female wrestler’s on the Campolindo squad, said, “I would say if wearing singlets and that kind of tight revealing clothing is a drawback to [athletes], because I know that most males are uncomfortable with it, then I would encourage [the program] to [implement new uniforms].” 

Although new uniforms might make participation more appealing for boys, the Campolindo squad is not planning to change their team gear due to the cost. “In the future, I would like to, but as of right now, we still have the singlets, but that’s been a huge thing that I have wanted to do is get the compression gear,” said Sotelo.

However, there are some on his squad that do prefer the traditional wrestling uniform, including Kim.

The compression shirts are allowed either by themselves with the compression shorts or under the singlet. Even with the options, the regulations are still strict, requiring the shorts to have an inseam and sit above the knee, while the shirt’s sleeve must not pass the elbow.

“[The change to compression gear] makes absolutely no difference [to play]. We work out in that gear every day during practice. They are used to wrestling in that kind of gear,” said Sotelo.

The NFHS also prohibited some dangerous moves and has tried to prevent athletes from gaining or losing weight in an unhealthy manner by updating the weigh-in protocol. Coaches and officials will now ensure safety by testing each participant at the beginning of the season and using that data as a baseline for the season.

“For my team, we have a lot of lighter weight guys. Most of the time, I’m encouraging them to put on more weight or working out and lifting weights throughout the year. Most of them are gaining weight,” said Sotelo, who added that his athletes rarely come to him asking to lose weight.

“I agree with everything. National Federation of High School Sports is doing the best they can to keep our athletes healthy and safe, so if they find that those rules are adequate, I trust them,” Sotelo added.

Not everyone is excited to make the transition however. Freshman wrestler Joshua Liao said, “I would [prefer] singlets because the other version… has more space for your opponent to grab onto.”