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InterMat interviews NCAA’s Beaschler about new rules limiting stalling

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Two weeks after the NCAA revealed new experimental rules to reduce stalling in college wrestling – and one week after College Wrestling Examiner shared the opinions of a wrestling writer, a past NCAA champ and a referee – the Secretary-Rules Editor for the NCAA Wrestling Rules Committee offered his inside perspective in a new InterMat interview posted Thursday.

Ron Beaschler told InterMat senior writer Mark Palmer that his role with the NCAA Rules Committee as being “the devil’s advocate” – “looking at the big picture, anticipating what might happen if a rule is implemented.”

“The current Committee is in tune with making wrestling more aggressive, more action-oriented,” Beaschler added. “We keep the fan in mind, to make the sport more appealing, not just to long-time fans, but also to attract new fans.”

Beaschler, who is also the long-time head wrestling coach at Division III Ohio Northern University, makes clear that the four new anti-stalling rules are divided into two distinct categories. Two rules will be in place throughout the 2014-15 season, while two others will be used only for the 2014 NWCA All-Star Classic.

In discussing the two rules in effect all year, Beaschler told InterMat, “(The Committee) saw problems with guys using the side headlock – and hanging on below the waistline – and essentially not doing anything. To make things absolutely clear, we took what we originally saw as one stalling problem, and made it into two, distinct rules.”

While Beaschler expressed confidence that these first two rules would achieve their desired results with minimal issues, he told InterMat that the two other rules were somewhat “outside the box.” Therefore, it made sense to conduct something of a “test-drive” – and the National Wrestling Coaches Association had offered this opportunity to the NCAA at the All-Star Classic.

One of the two new rules to be tried out only at the All-Star Classic November 1 focuses on wrestlers who are in a neutral standing position and, to quote the NCAA announcement on the new rules, “not actively engaged in an offensive attack, or a defensive counter to an offensive attack, while their feet are out of bounds.” Under this new rule, the referee will call stalling. The second rule in use at the All-Stars is geared toward a wrestler who gains an offensive position and is awarded a takedown or a reversal. When the action comes to a natural stopping point – for instance, when the wrestlers go out of bounds – the controlling wrestler can chose the option of resuming the action in the neutral (standing) position (instead of the kneeling position), without an escape point being automatically awarded to the controlling wrestler’s opponent, as is the case now.

In the InterMat interview, Beaschler also provided some insight into the workings of the Rules Committee, even providing a bit of a look at other issues they may be exploring in the future.

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