Is Long Hair Allowed in Scholastic Wrestling?

Professional Wrestling, such as WWE, has a lot of long-haired wrestlers. But how about Scholastic Wrestling, which includes high school and college Wrestling? Is long hair allowed in scholastic Wrestling? Let’s find out.

Long hair is allowed in Scholastic Wrestling, including High School and College Wrestling. However, long-haired wrestlers are advised to wear a hair cover to protect themselves from accidental hair pulling. The NFHS removed the requirement for hair length in 2020 alongside other new rulings.

This post discussed the regulations involving long hair in high school and college wrestling. Furthermore, if there are regulations on hair length, let’s take a look.

Is Long Hair Allowed in Scholastic Wrestling?

Are wrestlers allowed to have long hair?

Wrestlers can have long hair if they cover their hair using a hair cover properly. This protects wrestlers from hair-pulling and irritations caused by the hair. Long hair in Wrestling is defined as someone with hair that exceeds the standard shirt collar in the back.

Before 2020, there was quite a strict ruling on hair length. However, it was changed when the NFHS released a new set of rule changes which included the hair length.

In the past, a wrestler’s hair couldn’t exceed the length of the back collar of a shirt, the sides also couldn’t extend below the earlobes, and the front hair couldn’t exceed the eyebrows. If a wrestler’s hair is too long, they must wear a hair cover.

But why? We know that rules are placed for a reason.

So, let us talk about why hair is a big issue in Wrestling.

Hair length can be used as an advantage and disadvantage in wrestling matches. Thus, hair length rules are placed in grappling sports like Wrestling to make things fair.

But why? We see professional wrestlers have long hair. Just look at Triple H or the Undertaker’s hair.

Well, it’s to make things fair. For one, excessively long hair can cause accidental hair pulling, which isn’t allowed in folkstyle Wrestling.

Remember that if you have long hair, you will have a higher chance of getting hair pulled. This is a big disadvantage to both sides.

Furthermore, long hair can cause issues for both wrestlers in a match since it can accidentally go to the eyes and mouth. If the hair reaches the eyes, it can cause irritation, while it can be uncomfortable if it gets to the mouth.

Thus, a set of rules regarding hair length is necessary to prevent these things.

That’s why keeping the hair short in Wrestling is always recommended.

proper hair length for scholastic wrestling, no need for hair covers
Short hair length for Wrestling (Check the checklist below to know why)

How short should the hair be for Wrestling?

There is no rule on how short a hair should be for Wrestling since the NFHS specifically implied that there is no required hair length, provided that the wrestlers would cover their hair with a hair cover. Thus, a hair cover is necessary for certain circumstances depending on the length of a wrestler’s hair.

Before starting, let’s check the rules for hair length according to NFHS. The rule for hair is included in Rule 4-2-1 of the NFHS.

Here is Rule 4-2-1 from NFHS:

During competition all wrestlers shall be clean shaven, with sideburns trimmed no lower than earlobe level. A neatly trimmed mustache that does not extend below the line of the lower lip shall be permissible. Physical hair treatment items that are hard and /or abrasive such as (beads, bobby pins, barrettes, pins, hair clips, etc. or any other hair-control device) shall not be permitted. A legal haircontrolled device such as rubber band(s) shall be secured so as not to come out readily during wrestling. A wrestler may contain their hair in a legal hair cover. The legal hair cover, if worn, shall be attached to the ear guards.


Okay, let’s talk about the rule.

First, it is worth noting that this rule is also discussing beards and mustaches. I won’t dive deep into the topic, but if the topic interests you, please check my other blog post here: Are Wrestlers allowed to have beards?

However, the ruling specifies that a hair cover is necessary if the hair reaches a certain length.

But what is the hair length? Well, here are the three things you should consider.

Here is how to know if your hair is short enough not to require a hair cover.

  1. Back hair not exceeding the length of the back collar of a shirt.
  2. Side hair should not exceed the ear lobes.
  3. Front hair should not reach or exceed the eyebrows.

If your hair passes these three, then your hair is short enough to wrestle without a hair cover.

You may go back to the picture above to see these three things.

If you didn’t pass all three, then you need to wear a hair cover.

When it comes to hair cover, there are also rules.

First, a simple cover such as a bandanna or scarf is not considered a legal hair cover. The legal hair cover must be of solid material and be nonabrasive.

In fact, your hair cover will be checked in weigh-ins for grooming reasons.

Also, hair covers must be removed before the wrestler steps on the scale to be weighed.

If a referee is not present at weigh-ins, the hair cover must be checked by the meet referee upon arrival at the site.

Next, remember how I said that hair could irritate the eyes? That’s why what you put under your hair cover is essential.

Beads, bobby pins, barrettes, pins, and hair clips are not allowed since they can prick or sting the eye. Also, anything that could harden your hair, such as hair gels, isn’t allowed, as hardened hair can sting the eyes.

As you can see, there is a reason why hair needs to be short or covered in folkstyle Wrestling. Basically, it is there to prevent irritations on the eyes and to prevent hair-pulling.

With all these, you might start to wonder what’s with hair pulling and why it isn’t allowed in Wrestling. Hair-pulling is from a different set of rules which we will discuss next.

Is hair-pulling illegal in Wrestling?

Hair-pulling is an illegal move in Wrestling because it is listed as a part of unnecessary roughness, according to the NFHS. This is under Rule 5-29-1, which addresses unnecessary roughness, including illegal holds like hair pulling, chokes, twisting of fingers, head butting, pinching, and biting. Thus, hair-pulling leads to penalties and disqualifications.

The National Federation of State High School Associations or NFHS is the regulating body for high school sports in the USA, which includes Scholastic Wrestling.

The rules about hair-pulling are listed under Rule 5-29-1 of the NFHS. According to them, hair pulling can cause neck injuries which would be punished accordingly.

Here is an excerpt of rule 5-29-1:

Unnecessary roughness involves physical acts that occur during wrestling. It includes any act which exceeds normal aggressiveness. It would include, but it is not limited to: a) a forceful application of a cross face; b) a forceful trip; c) a forearm or elbow used in a punishing way, such as, on the spine or the back of the head or neck; d) pulling an opponent’s hair. This does not include hair that is caught in a legal maneuver including but not limited to: a headlock, cradle, half-nelson etc.


As you can see, hair pulling is specified in the rule.

But the rule says that hair pulling is not limited to hair caught in a legal maneuver. This means that hair pulling, even if the part in a legal maneuver, is illegal.

So to prevent hair pulling, discipline on hair length and the covering is necessary as hair pulling is illegal even if it comes from a legal maneuver.

So, while many Pro-wrestlers have long and wet hair, there is discipline regarding hair in scholastic Wrestling.

What’s next? Have you ever wondered why many professional wrestlers wet their hair? What’s with that practice, and why is it common for long-haired wrestlers? I did some research which you can read here if you’re interested: Why do wrestlers put water in their hair?

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