Along with rules changes, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) listed some points of emphasis for the 2017 season.
Sometimes, a rule is already in place, but just hasn’t been enforced as rigidly as it could be. The NFHS mentioned some rules that would get renewed importance this season.
• One point of emphasis this season will be better enforcement of the sideline boundaries for both players and coaches.
Teams have designated areas in which to stand, but during the excitement of the game, players often creep up closer to the edge of the field.
The NFHS says this poses two problems. One, if a players runs off the field or is tackled at the edge of the field, active players could collide with those standing along the side. Secondly, creeping up doesn’t give the sideline officials room to run along the field and mark the proper place where the ball goes out of bounds.
Rules for the boundaries also apply to assistants, statisticians, team doctors and members of the media.
While coaches must stay within their box during plays, during a dead ball up to three coaches may step forward to the edge of the field to yell out instructions to players. But, they must return to the box for the snap.
• Another point of emphasis will be players wearing their proper safety equipment on the field. If a player is not properly protected, it can result in a 5-yard penalty.
“Examples of such fouls include, but are not limited to, unsnapped chin straps, tooth and mouth protectors that are dangling, or jerseys that do not fully cover the shoulder pads,” stated the NFHS.
“If game officials observe any improperly worn equipment during a dead-ball period, they should use preventive officiating and tell the player to make a correction.”
“However, if the snap is imminent and equipment is not properly worn, the game official should blow the whistle to prevent the snap from occurring and a dead-ball foul should be called.”
If a player has an equipment malfunction such as a chin strap snapping or a problem with a face mask, then one of three things must happen: the problem must be fixed in the 25 seconds before the next play, the player must come out of the game until the issue is resolved, or the team may take a timeout so the player can stay on the field.
Reach Jeff Linville at 336-415-4692.