Summary Info: 



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

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

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

“The rules committee was provided situations in which the defensive team was gaining a timing advantage late in games with a defensive injury or an equipment issue with the defense,” said Todd Tharp, assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association and chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee. “Under the current rule, if a play ended with less than 40 seconds left in the game and a defensive player was injured which resulted in an official’s time-out, the play clock would reset to 25 seconds and another play would need to be run. With the new rule change, another play would not need to be run.”

In the same rule dealing with the play clock (Rule 3-6-1), the committee approved one additional situation when 25 seconds will be on the play clock. Beginning next season, 25 seconds will be on the play clock and start on the ready-for-play signal 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 in Rule 7-5-2 regarding an illegal forward pass being a foul was expanded. Previously, it was legal to conserve time only by intentionally throwing the ball forward to the ground immediately after receiving a direct hand-to-hand snap. The committee expanded the exception to permit a player positioned directly behind the center (shotgun formation) to intentionally ground the ball.

In Rule 7-1, a new Article 9 states that no defensive player shall use disconcerting acts or words prior to the snap in an attempt to interfere with an offensive player’s signals or movements.

Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and staff liaison to the NFHS Football Rules Committee, said this language was moved from Rule 9-5-1d and has been reclassified from a 15-yard unsportsmanlike foul to a 5-yard foul.

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

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

“If the game 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 can mutually agree to shorten halftime intermission, provided there is at least a one-minute intermission (not including the three-minute warm-up period).”

“I am totally impressed with the thoughtfulness and discussion that went into the rules-making process this year by the Football Rules Committee,” Tharp said. “Two of the proposals dealt with the new play clock rule that went into effect last year, while another rule change now allows the passer who is in the shotgun position to intentionally throw the ball to the ground. 

“Additionally, the penalty on the defensive team for any player using disconcerting acts has been reduced from 15 yards to 5 yards. Coaches and officials shared concerns that this was too harsh a penalty for this act, comparing this act to a 5-yard encroachment penalty on the defense.”




Arroyo Grande   IN Buchanan    IN Bullard  IN Centennial   OUT
Central  IN Clovis East   IN Clovis North   IN Clovis    IN
Golden Valley   IN Golden West  IN Liberty  IN Ridgeview  IN
San Luis Obispo  IN Santa Maria   IN South  IN Sunnyside  IN
Tulare Western    IN Clovis West   IN Reedley   IN  
Atascadero     IN Bakersfield   IN   Dinuba  IN
Edison  IN El Diamante  IN Madera   IN Madera South     IN
Paso Robles     IN Pioneer Valley    IN Redwood     IN  
Righetti  OUT Sanger  IN Stockdale    IN Tulare Union  IN
West  OUT      
East Bakersfield   IN Foothill   IN Fresno   OUT Frontier  IN
Highland   IN Independence   IN Lemoore   IN McLane     IN
Mira Monte    IN Mission Oak  IN Monache  OUT Morro Bay   IN
Mt. Whitney OUT Nipomo    IN Porterville   IN Roosevelt    IN
San Joaquin Memorial   IN Selma   IN St. Joseph OUT Templeton    IN
Wasco  OUT Washington Union    IN    
Arvin     IN Cesar Chavez  IN Chowchilla   IN Delano   IN
Garces Memorial   IN Hanford     IN Kerman   IN Kingsburg  IN
Lindsay    IN McFarland    IN Mission Prep  OUT Orcutt Academy  OUT
Orosi   OUT Shafter  IN Tehachapi     IN Woodlake    IN
Yosemite  OUT      
Avenal  OUT Bishop Union     IN Boron   OUT Caruthers    IN
Central Valley Christian   IN Coalinga    IN Corcoran    IN Exeter   IN
Farmersville   IN Fowler    IN Hanford West  OUT Hoover   OUT
Liberty (Madera Ranchos)     IN Mammoth   IN Mendota   IN Mojave  IN
North  OUT Orange Cove   IN Parlier    IN Riverdale    IN
Rosamond    IN Taft   IN    
Bakersfield Christian   IN California City  OUT Desert  OUT Dos Palos   IN
Firebaugh    IN Frazier Mountain   IN Fresno Christian  IN Granite Hills    IN
Immanuel   OUT Kern Valley    IN Laton  OUT Minarets  OUT
Robert F. Kennedy    IN Sierra   OUT Sierra Pacific (Hanford)  OUT Strathmore  OUT
Tranquillity  OUT Wonderful College Prep Academy   IN Summit OUT  
Arroyo Grande  IN Atascadero     IN Buchanan    IN Bullard  IN
Central   IN Clovis East   IN Clovis North    IN Clovis    IN
Clovis West   IN Edison  IN Frontier  IN Liberty   IN
Paso Robles OUT Redwood    IN San Luis Obispo  IN Stockdale    IN
Bakersfield   IN Centennial   IN El Diamante  OUT Garces Memorial   IN
Hanford    IN Highland  IN Liberty (Madera Ranchos)     IN Madera IN
Madera South     IN Mission Oak  IN Mission Prep   IN Monache     IN
Righetti  IN Sanger   IN St. Joseph   IN Tulare Union   IN
Tulare Western   IN      
Golden West  IN Hoover   OUT Independence   OUT Kingsburg    IN
Lemoore  OUT Mt. Whitney  OUT Nipomo     IN Pioneer Valley OUT
Reedley   IN Ridgeview   IN San Joaquin Memorial   IN Selma   IN
Templeton     IN Yosemite   IN    
Bakersfield Christian   IN Central Valley Christian  IN Dinuba   IN East Bakersfield   IN
Exeter    IN Foothill   IN Fowler   IN Fresno    IN
Golden Valley OUT Hanford West   IN McLane   IN Morro Bay   IN
Orcutt Academy   IN Orosi  IN Porterville  OUT Santa Maria   IN
Sierra Pacific (Hanford)     IN South  IN Strathmore   IN Sunnyside   OUT
Taft    IN Tehachapi    IN Wasco  IN Washington Union    OUT
Bishop Union     IN Caruthers   IN Cesar Chavez   OUT Coalinga   IN
Desert  OUT Dos Palos   IN Fresno Christian   IN Kerman  IN
Kern Valley    IN Lindsay   IN Mammoth   IN McFarland   OUT
Mojave  OUT North   OUT Roosevelt   IN Rosamond   IN
Shafter   IN Sierra   IN West    IN Woodlake   OUT
Arvin     IN Avenal     IN Boron    OUT California City   OUT
Chowchilla   OUT Corcoran  OUT Delano    IN Farmersville   OUT
Firebaugh   IN Frazier Mountain   IN Granite Hills    IN Immanuel  OUT
Laton   OUT Mendota  OUT Minarets   OUT Mira Monte  MUST WIN
Orange Cove   IN Parlier  OUT Riverdale    IN Robert F. Kennedy    IN
Tranquillity   IN Wonderful College Prep Academy   IN Summit    IN  


Travel Ball Parents: Better Option is School-based Sports

Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff, NFHS Executive Director

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Recent articles have documented the rising costs of club sports, with one noting that about 62 percent of “travel ball” parents will go into debt to involve their kids in year-round sports.

            A USA Today article in 2017 suggested that travel baseball or volleyball could cost a family upwards of $8,000 a year, with soccer running about $5,000 on the high end. A study by TD Ameritrade suggested some parents were spending about $100 to $500 a month to fund their kids’ participation on a club team, with about 20 percent spending $1,000 a month.

            Why? In some cases – unquestionably the minority – students are in the elite category from a skills standpoint and could benefit from a higher level of competition in preparation for college. In most cases, however, it is a case of parents spending beyond their means with the hope that playing club sports will be the difference-maker in their children receiving an athletic scholarship to an NCAA Division I school.

            It is, in fact, true that an overwhelming majority of NCAA Division I athletes played club sports. According to an NCAA survey, 92 percent of women and 89 percent of men played club basketball, and 91 percent of women’s volleyball players competed on a non-school team in high school. At the other end, however, only 24 percent of football players competed on a club team.

            Herein lies the difference. There are more than 540,000 boys who played high school basketball last year and fewer than 6,000 who played basketball at the NCAA Division I level where most of the scholarships are available. Stated another way, about one percent of high school boys basketball players will play at the NCAA Division I level. About 2.8 percent of the one million-plus boys in high school 11-player football will play at the Division I level.

            The answer? Parents should encourage their kids to play multiple sports for their high school teams and save the money they would spend on club sports for college tuition if scholarship money does not materialize. Even in those situations where students are charged a modest fee to participate, school-based sports remain an incredible bargain when compared to club sports.

In many cases, Division I football and basketball coaches are looking to recruit multiple-sport athletes. While there are a few sports where non-school competition is crucial, college coaches will find those athletes who excel in school-based sports.

            High school-based sports have more interest, more media coverage and more fans than club sports, and the kids have more fun because they are representing their team and their community.

            Playing one sport in the fall, another during the winter and yet another in the spring is the best route to future success – whether that success is on the playing field or court, or in a boardroom.   


Dr. Karissa L. Niehoff is beginning her second year as executive director of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) in Indianapolis, Indiana. She is the first female to head the national leadership organization for high school athletics and performing arts activities and the sixth full-time executive director of the NFHS, which celebrated its 100th year of service during the 2018-19 school year. She previously was executive director of the Connecticut Association of Schools-Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference for seven years.














Arroyo Grande  IN Atascadero  IN Bakersfield Christian  IN Buchanan  IN
Bullard   IN Clovis East  IN Clovis   IN Clovis North  IN
Clovis West  IN East Bakersfield Liberty   IN Paso Robles   IN
Pioneer Valley Redwood  IN San Luis Obispo   IN St. Joseph  OUT
Stockdale  IN      
Bakersfield OUT Centennial  IN Central  OUT Central Valley Christian  IN
El Diamante OUT Frontier  IN Garces Memorial  IN

Golden West


Hanford West   OUT Immanuel   IN Monache  OUT Morro Bay  OUT
Porterville  OUT San Joaquin Memorial  IN Sanger  IN Sunnyside  OUT
Tehachapi  OUT Templeton   IN Tulare Western   OUT West  IN
Delano  IN Dinuba   OUT Edison   IN Hoover  OUT
Independence  OUT Lemoore  IN Madera  OUT Mt. Whitney   IN
Nipomo   OUT Orcutt Academy  IN Reedley   IN Ridgeview  OUT
Santa Maria  OUT Selma   IN Taft   IN Tulare Union  OUT
Yosemite  IN      
Arvin  IN Chowchilla  OUT Corcoran IN Foothill   OUT
Fowler  IN Fresno   OUT Hanford   OUT Highland  IN
Kerman  IN Kingsburg IN Madera South  IN Mission Oak  OUT
Mission Prep   IN North  IN Roosevelt  IN Sierra Pacific (Hanford)  IN
South  OUT Wasco  IN    
Avenal OUT Bishop Union   OUT California City Caruthers   IN
Cesar Chavez   IN Coalinga  OUT Dos Palos  IN Exeter   OUT
Farmersville  OUT Firebaugh  IN Frazier Mountain  OUT Fresno Christian   IN
Golden Valley   IN Granite Hills  OUT Kern Valley   OUT Laton   OUT
Liberty (Madera Ranchos)  IN Lindsay   OUT McFarland  OUT McLane   IN
Mendota   OUT Mira Monte  OUT Orange Cove  IN Orosi   OUT
Parlier  OUT Riverdale   OUT Robert F. Kennedy   OUT Rosamond  OUT
Shafter OUT Sierra  OUT Strathmore    OUT Tranquillity  OUT
Washington Union   OUT Woodlake   IN