Wrestling weight classes to remain as is next season

Staff Writer

While the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Board of Directors last week approved the first reading of a rules change dropping wrestling weight classes from 14 to 13 the issue was referred to the Sports Medicine Advisory Board (SMAB) for further review. Because of this, the current weight classes will remain the same for the 2020-2021 season.
Positives and negatives were voiced by coaches, wrestlers, parents and, fans, prior to last
Wednesday’s meeting. Currently, the weight classes are 106, 113, 120, 126, 132,138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, and 285-pounds. The new proposal calls for the nine weight classes from 106 to 160-pounds to stay as-is. The four remaining upper weight classes would be changed to 172, 189, 215, and 285-pounds. Last summer it appeared the state might cut the weight classes to 12. The most drastic move would have been the elimination of the 106-pound class. The 11 other weight classes would have been - 110, 118, 125, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 190, 215, and 285-pounds. Several online petitions were signed against the change to 12 classes and after meeting on the situation the Board decided to drop the change. The National High School Wrestling Association is keeping the 14 classes.
PIAA’s executive director Robert Lombardi said he would like the SMAB to address the weight changes within the next two weeks and submit its recommendations prior to the next board meeting on June 15.
Health risks to wrestlers were one of the main concerns addressed by a petition submitted to the PIAA directors prior to the meeting. The petition was submitted by Joshua Gray, Barry VanScoten, other parents and student-athletes through the law firm of Jones, Greg, Creehan, and Gerace, LLP in Pittsburgh.
“Contrary to the purposes of the PIAA in encouraging participation in wrestling, the elimination of the current 182-pound weight class will discourage student-athletes and limit such participation. Further, it will have a cascading effect on all weight classes by causing larger wrestlers to lose weight to compete at lower weight levels and smaller wrestlers to move up which causes serious health and safety issues,” read a portion of the petition.
Several other issues were discussed and approved at last week’s meeting. A change in basketball’s mercy rule and a change in golf for girls competing with boys were approved. JV football and suspensions for abuse of game officials may also go into effect next school year.
Mismatches on the hoop court will be sped up. Currently, the running clock goes into effect when a team leads by 40 points during the second half. The rule will now kick in when a 30-point lead is reached. The mercy rule keeps the clock running except during timeouts, player injuries, and the end of the third quarter.
A change in girls competing in boys PIAA tournaments was approved last week. With the exception of the state finals, females competing in boys PIAA tournaments will tee off from the same tee set-up as the males.
A second reading was approved concerning conduct by varsity athletes and coaches. If the third reading is approved at the June meeting suspensions will increase from one to two games if the abuse of game officials is deemed to be overly aggressive.
A second reading on proposed JV football changes will be conducted at the June meeting. Many coaches have voiced agreement with the changes that would include no kickoffs. Teams would begin possession on their own 25-yard line and possession would include no more than 10 plays. A break would take place after each team had three possessions. If passed teams would have to agree to go along with the format prior to the start of the contest