High school wrestling is a great way to learn self-improvement, discipline, and release stress in a healthy, safe way. The rules for it aren’t always clear, though. For example, are you allowed to have long hair in high school wrestling?

You can have long hair in high school wrestling. Previous rules required hair to be shorter than an average collar in the back. The NFHS deleted this rule in the ‘20-’21 school year. This lets wrestlers choose how to express themselves with their hair and still wrestle competitively.

In this article, I’ll be going over what the current regulations are for hair and facial hair in high school wrestling. Also included will be how the rules have changed over time.

Can You Have Long Hair in High School Wrestling?

Yes, you can have long hair in high school wrestling. For the 2020-2021 school year, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS for short) eliminated the rule limiting wrestlers’ hair length. The NFHS governs and regulates high school education-based athletics.

This rule applies to both girls’ and boys’ wrestling and places no restriction on the way a wrestler wears their hair. This is a big change, intended to attract more participants to the sport without sacrificing their health or safety. 

Another consideration is allowing wrestlers to creatively express themselves. By removing the hair length rule, wrestlers don’t have to keep a short haircut. They will have more freedom to express themselves with their hairstyle.

It’s noted in the decision that young people in recent years have chosen to express themselves with their hair. This is one of the main reasons for deleting the rule.

This is generally considered a great move. However, it’s worth noting that wrestlers who have long hair are at risk of their hair being pulled in the course of a match. 

Hair pulling is against the rules but still poses a risk to participants. Simply put, short hair can’t be pulled and is safer. Notably, it is legal to hold an opponents’ hair in a move like a cradle, headlock, or half-nelson.

Other Hair Regulations

The NFHS kept some miscellaneous hair regulations even after the hair length rule removal. Fortunately, they’re not very restrictive and are generally in place for the health and safety of wrestlers. Any student wanting to wrestle should be aware of these regulations.

These rules include:

  • Hair control devices (hair ties, rubber bands, scrunchies, etc.) can’t be sharp, hard, or abrasive in any manner that could cause injury. Wrestlers also have to properly secure them before matches.
  • Hair treatment products aren’t allowed during matches. This includes hairspray, hair grease, hair gel, etc.
  • If a wrestler uses a hair cover, it must be non-abrasive, solid, and securely attached behind both ear guards.
  • Bandanas, hairnets, and other non-solid or abrasive covers aren’t permitted.
  • Wrestlers must wear their legal hair cover to the weigh-in and have it checked for proper grooming, and remove it before stepping on the scale.

Previous High School Wrestling Hair Regulations

The old rules for hair length in high school wrestling were much stricter. Hair could not be longer than a regular collar in the back, sideburns no longer than the earlobe, and no longer than the eyebrows in the front.

This left room for longer haircuts, but many wrestlers opted for crewcuts or shaved heads anyway. Sometimes when wrestlers have longer hair, it’s permitted if braided and coiled under a non-abrasive and solid hair covering.

These regulations were in place to protect wrestlers, but limited personal freedom. A happy medium was therefore put into effect to satisfy everyone.

Can You Have Facial Hair in High School Wrestling?

Facial hair regulations are more restrictive than regular hair rules. 

According to NFHS rules issued for the 2020-2021 school year, wrestlers have to be clean-shaven or with a neatly groomed mustache. Additionally, sideburns can’t hang lower than the wrestler’s earlobes. This also prohibits abrasive stubble that can irritate an opponent’s skin.

However, some exceptions exist. In some instances, the NFHS permits facial hair if covered with a solid, non-abrasive face covering. A notable example is religious exemptions, i.e, Sikh beliefs prohibit shaving facial hair.

Final Thoughts

High school wrestling used to be quite strict about hair length. Thankfully, long hair is now allowed for all potential participants.