NFHS makes another change to high school football game clock and other rule changes for 2020


In an effort to eliminate a potential timing advantage gained by the defensive team in high school football, the game clock will be set to 40 seconds – beginning with the 2020 season – when an official’s timeout is taken. for an injury to a defensive player. or a defensive player has an equipment problem.

The change was one of six rule revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee at its Jan. 12-14 meeting in Indianapolis. All recommended changes were then approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Last year, in an effort to establish a more consistent time period between downs, the game clock was extended from 25 seconds to 40 seconds in many cases, although the game clock remained at 25 seconds in most cases after an official’s timeout. However, this coming season, the game clock will be set to 40 seconds following an injury to a defensive player or when a defensive player has an equipment problem.

“The rules committee has been made aware of situations where the defensive team was gaining time advantage late in games with a defensive injury or an equipment issue with the defense,” said Iowa assistant manager Todd Tharp. High School Athletic Association and Chairman of the NFHS Football Rules Committee. “Under the current rule, if a game ends with less than 40 seconds remaining and a defensive player is injured, resulting in an official being timed out, the game clock will be reset to 25 seconds and another game should be run.. With the new rule change, another game would not need to be run.

In the same rule dealing with the game clock (Rule 3.6.1), the committee approved an additional situation where 25 seconds will be on the game clock. ready to play when a new series is awarded following a legal free kick or scrimmage kick.

Two changes to Rule 7 – snapping, handling and passing the ball – were approved by the committee. The exception to the 7-5-2 rule regarding an illegal forward pass as a foul has been expanded. Previously, it was legal to stall only by intentionally kicking the ball down immediately after receiving a direct slap in the clinch. The committee expanded the exception to allow a player positioned directly behind center (shotgun formation) to intentionally smash the ball.

In Rule 7-1, a new Rule 9 states that no defensive player shall use disconcerting acts or words before the snap for the purpose of interfering with an offensive player’s signals or movements.

Bob Colgate, director of athletics and sports medicine for the NFHS and liaison with the NFHS Football Rules Committee, said this wording was moved from rule 9-5-1d and reclassified from an unsportsmanlike foul from 15 meters to a foul from 5 meters.

In addition, several rules will be affected by the committee’s decision that the head coach, prior to the game, should advise the referee as to the designated team representative (coach or player) who will make decisions regarding the acceptance or the declination of the penalty. Several places in the rulebook required team captains to make these decisions, so new language throughout the rulebook will give teams more options.

The final change approved by the committee is an addition to the note to Table 3-1 relating to clock times. The new note 2 will read as follows:

“If play is interrupted due to weather during the last three minutes of the second period, and the delay is at least 30 minutes, the opposing coaches may agree to shorten the half-time intermission. , provided there is at least a one-minute intermission (not including the three-minute warm-up period).

“I am totally impressed with the thought and discussion that has taken place this year in the rulemaking process by the Football Rules Committee,” Tharp said. “Two of the proposals concerned the new game clock rule which came into effect last year, while another rule change now allows the setter who is in shotgun position to intentionally throw the ball to the ground.

“Additionally, the penalty on the defensive team for any player using confusing acts has been reduced from 15 yards to 5 yards. Coaches and officials have shared concerns that this is a penalty too harsh for this act, likening this act to a 5 yard encroachment penalty on the defence.

A full list of Football Rule Changes will be available on the NFHS website at Click on ‘Activities and Sports’ at the top of the home page and select ‘Football’.

According to the 2018-19 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, 11-player football is the most popular high school sport for boys with 1,006,013 participants at 14,247 schools nationwide. Additionally, 31,221 boys participated in 6, 8 and 9-man football, along with 2,604 girls in the four versions of the game for a grand total of 1,039,828.

Rewritten from the National Federation of State High School Associations


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