Beginning in the 2017-18 season, high school wrestlers will have the option to choose whether they wear the traditional one-piece singlet on the mat.
A two-piece uniform alternative was approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations Board of Directors this week, allowing for wrestlers to don compression shorts or shorts designed for wrestling as well as a form-fitting compression shirt for competition.
The change was made with an eye toward improving participation in the sport, after experimentation with the alternative uniform got positive feedback from students, coaches and officials. Self-conscious would-be grapplers may be more likely to step onto the mat if they were more comfortable with the uniform.
According to the NFHS, the rule calls for school-issued compression shorts with a minimum 4-inch inseam that does not extend below the knee. Form-fitted compression shirts won’t be allowed to extend below the elbow, and must have at least a 3-inch tail.
Despite the rule change, most schools won’t rush to change out their uniforms according to the Orlando Sentinel. Budget restrictions and the nostalgia tied to the one-piece singlet will likely keep the traditional uniform in place in many school programs.