2014 New High School Rules Changes


 “Targeting” Defined in High

            School Football


In Effort to Reduce Risk of Injury





                        FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                      Contact: Bob Colgate

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 13, 2014) — In an effort to reduce contact above the shoulders and lessen the risk of injury in high school football, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee developed a definition for “targeting,” which will be penalized as illegal personal contact.

The definition of targeting and its related penalty were two of 10 rules changes approved by the rules committee at its January 24-26 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Effective with the 2014 high school season, new Rule 2-43 will read as follows: “Targeting is an act of taking aim and initiating contact to an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders

Bob Colgate, NFHS director of sports and sports medicine and liaison to the Football Rules Committee, said the committee determined – in its continued effort to minimize risk of injury in high school football – that it was important to separate and draw specific attention to this illegal act.

“Taking aim with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders to initiate contact above the shoulders, which goes beyond making a legal tackle, a legal block or playing the ball, will be prohibited,” Colgate said.

A new definition for a “defenseless player” was also added to Rule 2 for risk-minimization purposes. Rule 2-32-16 will read as follows: “A defenseless player is a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury.”

In an effort to reduce the risk of injury on kickoffs, the rules committee approved two new requirements in Rule 6-1-3 for the kicking team. First, at least four members of the kicking team must be on each side of the kicker, and, second, other than the kicker, no members of the kicking team may be more than five yards behind the kicking team’s free-kick line.

Rule 6-1-3 also notes that if one player is more than five yards behind the restraining line and any other player kicks the ball, it is a foul. In addition to balancing the kicking team’s formation, the change limits the maximum distance of the run-up for the kicking team.

“The Football Rules Committee’s actions this year reinforce a continued emphasis on minimizing risk within all phases of the game,” said Brad Garrett, assistant executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association and chair of the Football Rules Committee.

In other changes, new language was added to Rule 8-5-1 and states that “the accidental touching of a loose ball by a player who was blocked into the ball

is ignored and does not constitute a new force.” In addition, roughing the passer fouls now include all illegal personal contact fouls listed in Rule 9-4-3, which result in automatic first down in addition to a 15-yard penalty.

The remaining changes approved by the Football Rules Committee are as follows:

Rule 1-1-7: Provides state associations authority to require game officials to be on the field more than 30 minutes prior to game time.

Rule 2-24-9: The intent of an illegal kick was clarified. Now, when an illegal kick occurs, the loose ball retains the same status that it had prior to the illegal kick.

Rules 3-3-3 and 3-3-4: With this change, in order to extend or not extend a period with an untimed down, time must expire during the down.

Football is the No. 1 participatory sport for boys at the high school level with 1,115,208 participants in the 2012-13 school year, according to the High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the NFHS through its member state associations. In addition, the survey indicated there were 1,660 girls who played football in 2012-13.


About the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS)

The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and performing arts activities that help students succeed in their lives. The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 16 sports for boys and girls at the high school level. Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.7 million in high school sports. As the recognized national authority on interscholastic activity programs, the NFHS conducts national meetings; sanctions interstate events; offers online publications and services for high school coaches and officials; sponsors professional organizations for high school coaches, officials, speech and debate coaches, and music adjudicators; serves as the national source for interscholastic coach training; and serves as a national information resource of interscholastic athletics and



Laplace, LA -     The River Parish Football Officials

Association is currently looking for New Officials to officiate high school football. There will be a upcoming meeting at 7pm at RPFOA Meeting Room located at 425 West Airline Hwy in Laplace, LA (Danny Becnel Office 2nd Floor) on Tuesday, March 25 and April 1, 21014. The meetings will continue every Monday night until end of May for anyone interested in officiating high school football. Requirements are 18 years of age and high school graduate or GED. For further information please visit the RPFOA web site at www.rpfoa.com or call 800-908-1524 for further information.

High School Football Officials – Becoming an official…It’s not all about the stripes

imagesCA5B4Q8J  So you’ve gotten to the point of joining your local high school football association or a youth recreation league – now what? Well there are a few things to start considering:
Crawling first – basic fundamentals Rules
Seeking out a mentor – Learn and Learn some more Equipment
Crawling first – basic fundamentals:

There’s an old saying “You gotta crawl before you walk”. What this means is: take things slow. Learn as much as possible as you go. This is true for officials of any sport. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  •  Read your rule books, then read them again
     Talk to other officials for advice, attend meetings, become active in your local sports organizations
     Understand that player safety comes first ALWAYS – no ifs ands or buts. If a player hurts another player illegally you always call the penalty regardless of the bearing on a play.

If there is bad weather – heat, lighting, etc. – always keep player safety your top priority. On extremely hot days always call for ‘Water In’ during time outs, or as needed.
This next one is strictly my own opinion – but I treat players like I would any of my own kids – If I think a player doesn’t seem right after a play (this could be due to heat, or a really hard hit) – I always ask that player “Are you ok?”. If I don’t like the response in any way – I will ask the coach to consider taking a player out for a play to be checked. Or I take an officials’ time out for that player to be checked.

Understand these basics about making calls:

  •  Be sure of all of the calls you make. If you are unsure of a call – then don’t make the call, unless it is a player safety call.
  •  Always get a number and say the penalty and number in your head, “I have holding on 47 red (defense)”, and repeat it, “I have holding on 47 red.” Learning to do this helps you when you have to communicate the call the to the referee or other crew members.
  •  Watch your whistle usage. Be slow on your whistle, not late, just a fraction slow – yes coaches may complain that “‘players are taught to play until they hear the whistle”. This is so untrue – the whistle does not end the play. The play action ends the play. Don’t blow your whistle if you don’t see the ball. Nothing is worse than killing a play when a play still has a live ball in possession. And if you ever blow an inadvertant whistle – own it, to yourself and your crew. Everyone (yes, even officials in the NFL!) blows a call once in a while. Learn from it and move on.
  •  Stay in your zone. Don’t blow your whistle if the play is not in your zone or throw a penalty on what you ‘think’ is a penalty from too far a distance. This doesn’t mean that if you clearly see a penalty that you should ignore it. It just means use good judgement and stay in your zone. That is why there’s more than one official on the field – everyone has their own job, but all of us are responsible.

Learn Your High School Football Rules:

What most people see on Sundays (NFL football) is so different than most of the rules at the high school or youth level. For instance: Know the differences between offense off sides (false start) and defense off sides (encroachment). No one can false start on the offense and no one can jump in the neutral zone where the ball lays.
Learn what pass interference is – it is separation or a physical advantage gained by either player. At the high school level – there is no such thing as an ‘uncatchable ball’. Pass interference is pass interference.
> Intention grounding is intentional grounding – there is no ‘outside the tackles’.

Read your rules as often as possible and then reread them as often as possible. It is a disservice to your crew and the teams if you do NOT know the rules and are not able to explain your calls.
Seek out a mentor – find someone in your high school football association that is well respected and that you think you can become friends with. Ask them for advice. There are many tales and stories and lessons that you can learn from a mentor. A mentor can teach you so very much – proper position, guidance, what to avoid, what to expect, etc.

If  we have you intersted in joining – Click on the New Member Section and fill out the application and someone will contact you how to get started and become and High School Official in Louisiana.

Meeting are held every Tuesday Night at Riverside Academy in Reserve, LA at 7 pm.  Just show up and let’s get you started….