Players in high school football who are detected with missing or improperly worn equipment during playing action will be removed from the game for at least one down, unless the improper equipment is directly attributable to a foul by the opponent.

This revision in Rule 1-5-5 and other related rules was one of five rules changes for the 2018 season recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee at its January 19-21 meeting in Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 1-5-5 also states that if the player is wearing otherwise legal equipment in an illegal manner, the participant must also be replaced for one down. If proper and legal equipment has become improperly worn through use during the game, and prompt repair does not delay the ready-for-play signal for more than 25 seconds, the repair can be made without replacing the player for one down.

In a related change (1-5-4), the head coach is responsible for verifying that all players are legally equipped and will not use illegal equipment. The penalty provisions for any use of illegal equipment remain unchanged and result in an unsportsmanlike foul charged to the head coach.

“I commend the entire football rules committee for its thoroughness and focus on the state of the game of football,” said Todd Tharp, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “The committee recognizes that the state of high school football focuses on risk minimization and the responsibility that coaches, players and game officials play in continuing to protect our student-athletes. By emphasizing that the coach is ultimately responsible for assuring his players are using legal equipment by issuing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for violations and that players will be removed for using legal equipment in an illegal manner, the committee continues to focus on minimizing risk for all players.”

The second rules change approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee provides another option for teams in Rule 6-1-9 on fouls committed by the kicking team during free kicks and scrimmage kicks. Now, the receiving team can accept a 5-yard penalty from the succeeding spot. The previous three options remain: accept a 5-yard penalty from the previous spot and have the kicking team re-kick, put the ball in play at the inbounds spot 25 yards beyond the previous spot, or decline the penalty and put the ball in play at the inbounds spot.

Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and liaison to the NFHS Football Rules Committee, said this additional option was approved by the committee in an effort to reduce re-kicks, further minimize risks and ensure that appropriate penalties are in place for all fouls.

“The ability to ‘tack on’ penalty yardage on free kicks will potentially reduce the amount of repeated free kicks,” Tharp said. “In addition, this rule change is consistent with NFHS rules that no foul should go unpenalized.”

The third change approved by the committee was a revision related to the examples of a defenseless player. In Rule 2-32-16a, the committee clarified that defenseless player provisions do not apply to a passer until a legal forward pass is thrown. The passer continues to be a defenseless player until the pass ends or the passer moves to participate in the play.

The committee also changed the signal for free-kick infractions, other than encroachment of the neutral zone, from Signal 18 to Signal 19.

The final change approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee concerned six-player football in Rule 3. The timing rule between periods and intermission for six-player football has been standardized to match the current NFHS rules for 8-player, 9-player and 11-player football.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (January 31, 2018) — A new penalty and signal related to unnecessary delay and a new procedure for warming up between sets that minimizes risk of injury are among the rules changes for the 2018-19 high school volleyball season.

These revisions were among the rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Volleyball Rules Committee at its January 7-9 meeting in Indianapolis and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

In Rule 10-2, after a team is charged with unnecessary delay, no further substitutions may be requested by that team until the next completed rally. This change eliminates further delay of the set by removing the option of requesting additional substitutions after a team is charged with an unnecessary delay.

The committee also approved a change in Signal No. 21 regarding unnecessary delay. The new mechanics call for the official to raise the hand on the side of the offending team, beside the head with palm facing the shoulder, and hold the appropriate card on the wrist of the raised hand.

“Previously, the mechanics were awkward and clumsy; this new procedure streamlines the delivery of mechanics,” said Lindsey Atkinson, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Volleyball Rules Committee. “The new signal is a better way for the teams as well as fans to understand the penalty.”

In its ongoing effort to address risk minimization, the committee approved a new rule, 11-5-3, which states that between sets, teams may warm up in their playing area; however, volleyballs may not be hit over the net.

In Rule 2-4-1b, the committee clarified that no team member may assist a player during an attempt to play the ball. The wording was changed from “another player” to “team members” to clarify that no one on the team bench can assist a player who is making an attempt to play the ball.

Two rules changes were approved to clarify revisions made in the rules last year. Regarding last year’s change in the responsibilities and mechanics of the second referee during a time-out, the committee added a note to Rule 5-8-3a stating that “when multiple courts are in use, the second referee may end a time-out or interval between sets with a whistle.”

Atkinson said that while the rule calls for the timer to sound the horn at 60 seconds as the defining end of a time-out, this could be confusing and distracting when multiple courts are being used.

In addition, the committee added an exception to a rule (9-8-2) approved last year stating that once a replay is signaled by the first referee, no requests may be recognized until after the replay. An exception will now be allowed for an injured or ill player. If the injured or ill player cannot continue, Rule 11-4-1b now permits the coach the option of requesting a substitution, completing a legal libero replacement or taking a time-out if the team has time-outs remaining.

The final change approved by the Volleyball Rules Committee was an additional responsibility of the second referee that previously was outlined in the Volleyball Case Book and Officials Manual but not included in the rules book. Item No. 10 was added to Rule 5-5-3b stating that the second referee shall “ensure that the head coach remains in the replacement zone no closer than 6 feet to the sideline, when standing during play.”

“While these changes were important to certain areas of the sport, overall the committee believed the rules of the sport are in great shape and that no major changes were necessary,” Atkinson said. “We are pleased with the continued growth of the sport, both for boys and girls.”