NEW NFHS FOOTBALL, VOLLEYBALL, WRESTLING SWIM & SOCCER RULES

WRESTLING

 

Beginning next year, a wrestler will be inbounds if two supporting points of either wrestler are inside or on the boundary line. This could be two supporting points of one wrestler or one supporting point of each wrestler that is inside or on the boundary line.

Changes related to out-of-bounds and inbounds calls, along with rules dealing with uniforms and sportsmanship, were among the rules revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Wrestling Rules Committee at its April 2-4 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The revised definitions for out of bounds and inbounds eliminate subjectivity with the out-of-bounds call without increasing the out-of-bounds area. The removal of “majority of weight” from the definition will allow officials to focus on inbounds and out of bounds rather than having to make a judgment on where the majority of the wrestler’s weight is being supported.

“The majority of rules changes for the 2018-19 high school wrestling season deal with revised definitions of escape, reversal, out of bounds and takedown,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and liaison to the Wrestling Rules Committee. “These changes were needed to reinforce our new position with increasing scoring opportunities by addressing the supporting point issue, but not creating additional risk to the sport. We have defined what the usual supporting points are while down on the mat and how near-fall points or a fall shall be earned.”

Several articles in Rule 5 are affected by the elimination of subjectivity in the out-of-bounds call. Rule 5-10 now provides language stipulating that any combination of two supporting points allows an official to make an inbounds call. Similarly, Rules 5-15-1 and 5-15-3 introduce the same clarity while Rule 5-15-2 alters language from “knees” to “knee(s),” making it consistent with Rule 5-15-2a(4) and its use of “hand(s).”

The revision to the definition of an out-of-bounds call is clearly stated in Rule 5-18, which outlines that it occurs when there are no longer two total supporting points inside or on the boundary line (two supporting points of one wrestler or one supporting point of each wrestler). Rules 5-22, 5-25-1 and 5-25-3 will have similar language to establish inbounds and out-of-bounds calls for reversals and takedowns.

Revisions to Rule 5-24-3 will assist officials with making a stalling call. The new criteria establish that stalling in the neutral position also takes place when a wrestler is backing off the mat and out of bounds, as well as when the wrestler is pushing or pulling out of bounds.

In addition to the numerous changes related to inbounds and out-of-bounds calls, Hopkins noted sportsmanship issues, a new illegal hold and uniform promotional references as other rules changes made by the committee. Among those are the following:

•    Rule 4-1-2: New language will state that no additional manufacturer’s logo, trademark or promotional references shall be allowed on the wrestling uniforms.

•    Rule 7-1-5y (NEW): The Nelson-Cradle is a new illegal hold/maneuver that is a combination made up of a Half-Nelson on one side with a locked cradle from around the neck with the far side knee. The back of the knee acts as the other arm (arm pit) to complete the Full-Nelson pressure on the neck and throat.

•    Rule 7-4-2: New language states that repeatedly dropping to one knee, as well as one hand, to break locked hands is considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

 

SWIMMING & DIVING

 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 16, 2018) — In an effort to assist meet personnel operating high school swimming and diving meets, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee reorganized Rule 1 and Rule 5 at its March 18-20 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Additionally, the committee’s other rules changes focused on pre-meet conferences, equipment requirements and the order in which diving may take place at non-championship events.

“While the list of 2018-19 swimming and diving rules changes appear to be extensive, in general, most of the proposed changes involve a reorganization of two rules,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “These changes provide clarity, a definition and flexibility to accommodate swimming and diving meets that are conducted in a variety of formats and facilities, and with various team personnel.”

In addition to a reorganization of Rule 1, the committee approved new terminology that accurately reflects and defines meet specifications and organization, including the consolidation of several terms that label the types of meets such as dual, double-dual, triangular, invitational, multi-team, etc.

In a similar fashion, Rule 5 was reorganized to list meet specifications in a “logical stepwise fashion from the dual meet to the championship meet,” according to Searcy. Rule 5-3-2 was one of the notable changes within the rule, as additional lane assignments were provided to accommodate non-championship multi-team and double/triple dual meets.

“The changes to Rule 5 provide flexibility and direction for situations in which the number of teams and/or entries cannot be equally divided into the number of available lanes,” Searcy said. “New language delineates options for conducting meets based on high school facilities across the country.”

The committee approved a change in diving in Rule 5-1-2a. In non-championship events, diving may now be the first event. Beginning next year, diving may be conducted either first, last or simultaneously with swimming events.

“In addition, it is now permissible to conduct 11-dive competitions during any non-championship meet with prior mutual consent of competing teams,” Searcy added.

Another change involves the pre-meet conference in Rule 4-2-1d. A mandatory pre-meet conference with the referee, starter, and the captain and coach of each team must be held to review meet procedures, special instructions and any unusual pool conditions. Equipment requirements were addressed in Rule 2-4-5, which now mandates a 15-meter mark on both sides of the pool deck. Markings may also be integrated into each lane marker, but deck markings take precedent.

Other rules changes include:

•    Rules 2-6-1 through 4, which were reorganized to clarify mandatory requirements versus recommendations.

•    Rule 2-7-2b, which adds the prohibition of the backstroke starting ledge to the rules so that there is no question that the equipment is not permitted in high school swimming.

•    Rules 4-5-3 and 4-7, which clarify and confirm that responsibilities of stroke inspectors and turn/finish judges can be combined. This is especially the case when the availability of officials is limited. The flexibility to staff the deck effectively and efficiently with available officials should be preserved.

SOCCER

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 15, 2018) — High school soccer teams will be reversing their home and visiting uniforms next season. Effective with the 2018-19 season, the home team will wear dark jerseys and socks, and the visiting team will wear solid white jerseys and solid white socks.

This uniform change was one of nine rules revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Association’s (NFHS) Soccer Rules Committee at its January 22-24 meeting in Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Previously, the home team was required to wear solid white jerseys and the visiting team wore dark-colored jerseys. The language defines dark as “any color which contrasts with white.”

“This change allows home teams to wear their school-color jerseys at home,” said Theresia Wynns, director of sports and officials and liaison to the Soccer Rules Committee. “It also could provide the opportunity to use an alternative color uniform for special events.”

The Soccer Rules Committee also approved a change that would permit a player to participate while wearing a head covering, if the player meets certain criteria and if the applicable state association approved the request.

If approved by the state high school association, players could participate with a head covering for medical/cosmetic reasons or for religious reasons. In the case of medical/cosmetic reasons, a physician’s statement is required before the state association can approved a head covering. In both cases, the head covering cannot be abrasive, hard or dangerous to any other player and attached in such a way that it is highly unlikely to come off during player.

Another example of unsporting conduct was approved by the committee involving denying obvious goal-scoring opportunities in a game. When a player commits an offense against an opponent within its team penalty area that denies the opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, a yellow card is given if the offense was an attempt to play the ball. Previously in this scenario, the player received a red card in addition to the team receiving a penalty kick.

“The committee thought this rule needed to be revised because in this situation in the past, the player and the team were placed in double jeopardy when applying a penalty,” Wynns said.

One rule regarding the offside rule in high school soccer was revised. Rule 11-1-4 now states that “A player is offside and penalized if, at the time the ball touches or is played by a teammate, the player, in an offside position, becomes involved in active play . . . “The penalty remains an indirect free kick at the spot of the infraction, but it now will be subject to the provisions in Rule 13-1-3.

“This change better articulates the difference between being in an offside position and an offside violation, as well as where the subsequent restart takes place,” Wynns said.

In another uniform change, undergarments can be a different solid color than the uniform, although the length and color of the undergarments must be the same for all members of the team.      

As a result of the change made last year that allowed the kickoff to be taken in any direction, the committee revised Rule 8-1-2 to allow the player taking the kickoff to be in the opponent’s half of the field in order to take the kickoff.

The committee addressed proper sportsmanship with an addition to Rule 13-2-1. If a player, coach or bench personnel enters or leaves the field of play without permission of an official and interferes with play or an official, a direct free kick will be awarded at the point of the infraction.

In Rule 18, the committee approved a new definition of deliberate act, which is “one in which a player chooses to act, regardless of the outcome of that action. This deliberate act is neither reaction nor reflex. A deliberate action may result in the opponent benefiting from the action, e.g., a deliberate but misplayed ball that goes directly to an opponent. A reaction or reflex may result in that player benefiting from the action, e.g., a ball inadvertently contacting the arm and falling directly to the player’s feet.”

 

FOOTBALL

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.”

 

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