NFHS RULES CHANGES SPIRIT---BASEBALL--SOFTBALL--TRACK & FIELD

NFHS SPIRIT RULES CHANGES

 

 — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Spirit Rules Committee revised several rules for the 2017-18 season, including adjustments to release transitions and inversions, in an ongoing effort to minimize risk of injury for participants in high school cheer and dance.

All rules revisions recommended by the committee at its March 4-6 meeting in Indianapolis were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

The term “static” was removed from several places in the rules book and replaced with wording that more clearly defines the intent of the rules. One particular example involves allowing braced extended stunts to transition in such a way as to allow for more creativity and better technique.

Rules 3-3 and 4-3 had extensive revisions to reduce risk of injury for the top person in a stunt in cheer and dance. The rules were reorganized and clarify the requirements that must be followed in order for the top person to be in an inverted position. 

Rules 3-3-8 and 4-3-8 were also added to prohibit a swing roll-down stunt because the person in the swing is being moved facedown toward the performing surface. Additionally, in Rule 3-3-3, inverted stunts that go to a non-inverted position may pass through the inversion without having to stop in a stationary position. This change will allow more creativity and proper technique for certain inverted skills. 

“The Spirit Rules Committee takes risk minimization very seriously and looks at the rules for cheer and dance to ensure the most amount of success – from beginners to advanced – with minimal risk for all involved,” said James Weaver, NFHS director of performing arts and sports and staff liaison to the Spirit Rules Committee.

Rules 3-2-7 and 4-2-7 in cheer and dance, respectively, allow for stunts that don’t end in an extended position to be performed without a spotter. However, a spotter would still be required for stunts that stop in an extended position.

Rule 3-8-2 in cheer and Rule 4-8-2 in dance now state that props cannot be held in the hands during tumbling skills, where the supporting hands are not on the performing surface. The committee believes props are a safety concern when a tumbler is using her/his hands for support during a cartwheel or round-off.

A new rule (4-10-14) states that when transitioning from a prop to a stunt/lift, the new bases shall be in contact with the top person before he/she leaves the prop. This rule minimizes the risk to participants when transitioning from props as bases to people as bases so that at no time the top person is free of contact from a base.

In addition, the Spirit Rules Committee approved revisions or removal of 11 definitions in Rule 1.

“The revision of definitions is to ensure accurate understanding of rules by clarifying the language and removing repetitive definitions,” Weaver said.   

A complete listing of all rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Spirit.”

 

BASEBALL

 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 30, 2017) — Effective January 1, 2019, all balls used in high school baseball competition shall meet the NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) standard at the time of manufacture.

This revision in Rule 1-3-1 was one of the four changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 4-6 meeting in Indianapolis. All changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

              “We are excited that our membership will now have equipment that meets a standard that is consistent across the country,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball. “We are comfortable knowing that all baseballs for high school play will be the same size, same weight and have similar playability.”

              The committee also revised Rule 1-5-3, which will require the catcher to wear a chest protector that meets the NOCSAE standard at the time of manufacture, effective January 1, 2020. The NOCSAE standard has been developed to protect the heart and the cardiac silhouette from commotio cordis, which continues the committee’s focus on minimizing risk of injury for players.

              “Being aware that a standard exists to protect players, this decision was easy to make,” Hopkins said. “When our catchers wear this chest protector, we are confident that the best protection for their heart is constructed into this equipment.”

The Baseball Rules Committee also modified Rule 1-3-2a2 regarding the components of a bat. The modified language states that bats “not have exposed rivets, pins, rough or sharp edges or any form of exterior fastener or attachment(s) that would present a potential hazard.”

              A modification was also made to Rule 8-2-7, which strikes the language preventing a player who is awarded first base on a base on balls the ability to over-run the base and return safely.

                                                         
       SOFTBALL

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 30, 2017) — The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Softball Rules Committee approved an addition to Rule 2 about intentional walks and three additions to Rule 3 regarding uniforms and equipment at its June 12-14 meeting in Indianapolis. All recommended changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

In Rule 2-65-2, the committee added language to include intentional walks into the fast-pitch game. The rule states that a request for an intentional walk can now be made prior to or during the at-bat by the defensive coach or catcher. This change aligns fast-pitch and slow-pitch rules to keep up with current trends of the sports and maximize the flow of the game.

“The Kentucky High School Athletic Association experimented with intentional walks for the 2017 season, and the response from coaches and umpires was overwhelmingly positive,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and staff liaison for softball. “The NFHS questionnaire response from constituents was also very favorable.”

In another change, equipment no longer has to be inspected by the umpire or placed outside the dugout/bench prior to the start of the game. The rules committee agreed that the responsibility for ensuring that players are legally and properly equipped rests with the head coach and school administration.

“Umpires must remain vigilant in identifying illegal or altered equipment throughout the course of the game, and equipment violation penalties will continue to be assessed when discovered,” Searcy said.   “However, it is the head coach’s responsibility to verify that his or her players’ equipment is legal.” 

The committee also approved an exception to Rule 3-2-7c which defines wristbands with a playbook/playcard attached as equipment.  The wristband shall be a single solid color other than optic yellow.

In Rule 3-7-1, a new note was added to clarify the number of pitches permitted for an incoming pitcher when the outgoing pitcher is removed by rule or injury. This change was made in order to minimize risk for the incoming pitcher.

The committee also revised Rule 6-1-2b by permitting the pitcher to step backward with the non-pivot foot at any time prior to start of the pitch.  This change is less restrictive than the previous rule, and allows for a more fluid sequence of motion and will aid the development of pitchers.

 

TRACK & FIELD

 

NDIANAPOLIS, IN (June 30, 2017) — All uniforms worn in high school track and field/cross country must be either issued or approved by the school.

The uniform revision in Rule 4-3-1 was one of the four revisions recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 12-14 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

In other changes, a new penalty was added to Rule 6-2-14. Several prohibitions regarding competitors’ actions were included in the rule but had no associated penalty if the rule was not followed, which created confusion for enforcement. The appropriate penalty of disqualification from the event has been added.

The committee also revised Rule 6-5-11, establishing that the nonmetal crossbar in the pole vault shall not be less than 14 feet, 8 inches or more than 14 feet, 10 inches in length. This revision provides consistency in establishing a range for the length of the crossbar in pole vault, similar to high jump.

Language in Rule 8-6-1 (cross country) regarding track and field uniforms was eliminated and replaced with: “Each competitor’s uniform shall meet all requirements and restrictions as presented in Rules 4-3-1 and 4-3-2, Competitor’s Uniform in Track and Field and Cross Country.” The change was made by the committee in order to eliminate duplicate language within the two separate sections.

 

 
                           
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