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A controversy over rules about how wrestlers lose weight

FOR YEARS wrestlers have worn rubber suits in saunas, taken laxatives and used other drastic measures to make weight. Many have endangered their health, and on the college level some have died. This year the National Federation of High Schools implemented rules for how much weight wrestlers can lose, how quickly they can lose it and what minimum body-fat levels should be (7% for boys, 12% for girls).

Some coaches love the rules, saying they have kept wrestlers true to their natural weight. "What it's done for the health of participants is wonderful," says Homewood (Ala.) coach Dickey Wright. Others, such as Solon (Ohio) coach Tony DiGiovanni, believe the system is too complicated. "It's a waste of time, and it's expensive," he says. He's part of a group of coaches calling themselves "A Better Way," pushing for a streamlined system. The NFHS will review the plan at season's end.

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