Track and Field Rules Interpretations - 2020

By NFHS on February 03, 2020 track & field/cross country Print

Publisher’s Note: The National Federation of State High School Associations is the only source of official high school interpretations. They do not set aside nor modify any rule. They are made and published by the NFHS in response to situations presented.

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, Publisher, NFHS Publications © 2020

RULES BOOK CORRECTIONS: (Underlining shows additions; strikethrough shows deletions.)
3-2-3h: Approved items (tape, chalk, half-tennis balls, etc.) and locations of these marks in the acceleration zones of for all relay races run in lanes.

CASE BOOK CORRECTIONS: (Underlining shows additions; strikethrough shows deletions.)
3.2.4 SITUATION H: In the 4x100-meter relay, Team A wishes to place a mark on the track outside the acceleration exchange zone to aid the outgoing runners in timing their start. The mark, or marker, is: (a) half of a colored tennis ball placed in Team A’s lane; or (b) a colored tongue depressor; or (c) a chalk mark. Meet management approves the marking in (a) and (b), but prohibits any markings such as chalk, water-soluble spray paint, etc. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: The games committee and/or meet management is within its authority to prohibit all markings on any surface, including the running track. (3-2-3h);

5.10.7 SITUATION B: During a relay, A1 passes the baton to A2 in assigned Lane 1. A1, steps off the track. During the actual exchange, A1 was running on the grass surface outside the lane, but within the acceleration exchange zone while A2 remained within the assigned acceleration and exchange lane and zone. The baton was: (a) within the exchange zone, (b) outside the passing lane and zone when it was exchanged. No interference with any other competitor occurs. RULING: It is an illegal exchange in both (a) and (b). Team A is disqualified. COMMENT: The exchanges are illegal because in (a), A1 is off the track and in (b), the baton is not handed off in the exchange zone. It is not legal for the outgoing runner to touch the baton outside of the exchange zone.

SITUATION 1: The outgoing Runner 3 from Team A lines up outside the exchange zone in the 4x100-meter relay. As the incoming runner approaches, Runner 3 accelerates, and the exchange is made inside the 30-meter exchange zone. RULING: Team A is disqualified. COMMENT: Each outgoing competitor, while waiting for the baton, shall take a position entirely within the exchange zone and must complete the exchange while the baton is within the exchange zone. (5-10-9)

SITUATION 2: During warm-up for the javelin, the athletes are all working on their steps. Thrower B starts at the beginning of the sector and runs backward down the runway. The event judge notifies the field referee, who gives the thrower a verbal warning. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: It is illegal to run backward or in the opposite direction on the javelin runway. The first offense shall result in a warning and, if repeated, disqualification from the event. Preventive officiating would encourage that this be included in pre-event discussions with all athletes prior to the runways being opened for warm-ups. (6-2-6)

SITUATION 3: In a 4x200 meter relay, competitors from both Team A and Team B drop their batons. In the confusion, the competitor from Team B picks up the baton from Team A and continues the race. The competitor from Team A is confused and looks for help. The umpire raises the flag and discusses the situation with the meet referee, who disqualifies Team B and offers a rerun to Team A’s coach. RULING: Correct procedure. COMMENT: A relay team must finish the race with the same baton with which it began the race. (5-11-1)