One more checkpoint was reached in the PIAA’s effort to tweak the weight class structure in high school wrestling.
The PIAA Board of Directors met Wednesday evening and passed on a first reading basis the wrestling steering committee’s proposal to reduce the number of weight classes from 14 to 13 beginning in the 2020-21 season. A few steps still remain before any change goes into effect.
The proposal will be referred to the PIAA Sport Medicine Advisory Committee for its consideration and recommendations, Mark Byers, PIAA chief operating officer, wrote in an email. From there, the Board of Directors will consider any recommendations given from the committee.
“The item will require additional Board action in order to be approved,” Byers continued. “Whether it will require just a second reading or require a subsequent third reading will be at the discretion of the Board.”
A date for the Sport Medicine Advisory Committee’s next meeting has not yet been scheduled, though it’s expected to take place in June before the next Board of Directors meeting.
If the proposal continues smoothly through the approval process, next season will be the first time wrestlers compete in new weight classes since 2012, when most of the 14 weight classes were adjusted slightly. Since then, meets were wrestled at 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220 and 285 pounds.
Now, though, the PIAA is hoping to shrink the number of forfeited bouts with its latest proposal, which aims to turn the weights between 170-220 into three classes: 172, 189 and 215.
The PIAA’s wrestling steering committee went ahead with its own proposal in April, one day after the National Federation of State High School Associations chose not to make any weight class rules changes for the upcoming academic year.
Eric Shultz, a Penn State University graduate, is a national award-winning sports writer who has worked for the Citizens’ Voice and the Hazleton Standard-Speaker. When it comes to high school sports, Eric has you covered. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-821-2000; @CVEricShultz