Football Comments on the Rules - 2017

By NFHS on June 16, 2017 football

COMMERCIAL ADVERTISING PROHIBITED ON BALL (1-3-1h NEW): The ball cannot have commercial advertising added to the surface. The only permissible items on the ball are the ball manufacturer's name and/or logo; school name, logo and/or mascot; conference name and/or logo; state association name and/or logos; and NFHS name and/or logos.

HOME FOOTBALL JERSEY COLOR RULE FURTHER CLARIFIED (1-5-1b(3)): Home game jersey specifications were further revised to provide schools and manufacturers additional clarification regarding the current trend of utilizing lighter gray shades. The implementation date of 2021 affords schools and manufacturers the opportunity to ensure that newer dark-colored jerseys will clearly contrast with white jerseys. The requirement for contrasting colors to white is not a new rule, and this new clarification will allow changes to be made during normal replacement cycles.

EQUIPMENT VERIFICATION PROCESS REVISED (1-5-1a(2) NOTE, 1-5-4): Member state associations may determine the game official who is to accompany the referee during the required pre-game meeting with each head coach.

BLINDSIDE BLOCK DEFINED AND FOUL ADDED (2-3-10 NEW, 9-4-3n NEW, 9-4 PENALTY): Continuing with the focus on risk minimization, the committee created a definition for a blindside block. This block involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury. Unless initiated with open hands, it is a foul for excessive and unnecessary contact when the block is forceful and outside of the free-blocking zone.

SPECIFIC FOULS NOW POST-SCRIMMAGE KICK FOULS (2-16-2h): Illegal participation fouls by the receiving team occurring during the kick are now enforced under post-scrimmage kick fouls. Illegal substitution and illegal participation fouls by the receiving team occurring at the snap continue to be enforced from the previous spot.

POP-UP KICKS MADE ILLEGAL (2-24-10 NEW, 6-1-11 NEW, 6-1 PENALTY): Continuing with the committee's efforts to minimize risk, a pop-up kickoff has been defined. A pop-up kick is a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee. Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball free-kick infraction.

DEFINITION OF DEFENSELESS PLAYER EXPANDED (2-32-16): The committee adopted specific examples of a defenseless player. By adding these examples, the committee continues to focus on risk minimization and responded to requests on the annual NFHS football rules questionnaire from participating coaches, game officials and state association representatives.

CLOCK OPTIONS ADDED FOR FINAL TWO MINUTES OF EACH HALF (3-4-7 NEW): The committee added an option for the offended team on an accepted penalty inside the last two minutes of either half. The referee continues to have the authority to start or stop the clock if a team attempts to conserve or consume time illegally.

ADDITIONAL PROTECTION FOR ATHLETES PARTICIPATING WITH A PROSTHETIC LIMB (4-2-2l NEW): With this change, the ball becomes dead when a prosthetic limb comes completely off of the runner.

ENCROACHMENT FOUL EXPANDED (7-1-6): Defensive players are restricted from contacting the ball or the snapper's hand(s) or arm(s) until the snapper has released the ball.

FORWARD PASS INTERFERENCE MODIFIED (7-5-10): This change eliminates the previous foul for non-contact face guarding forward-pass interference.