- High School
Player Safety a Part of Two New Rules
As part of the Countdown to Kickoff, here are the new rule changes for the 2012 high school football season. Rule changes involve the definition of a catch, blocking restrictions on free (onside) kicks and the removal of a helmet during a down.
The first major change defines what makes a catch. Prior to this season, officials could rule that a player in the air would have come down in the field of play, but was prevented by an opponent from doing so in completing a catch. The new rule any guess work out of the play, a player must come down with a foot or body part inbounds while maintaining possession, regardless of an opponent's action.
The next rule change will help to improve player safety, if a player's helmet comes off during the course of a down, that player must leave the field for one play. This change should force players to wear the helmet in a proper fashion. An exception will be made for players whose helmet is removed due to an opponent's foul(facemask or illegal helmet contact).
On a free kick (onside) attempt, members of the kicking team may not initiate contact until the ball has gone the required ten yards or is touched by a member of the receiving team. Kicking team players can block if contacted by a member of the receiving team prior to the ball going ten yards or touching by the receiving team.
State associations and member schools are now permitted to play corporate advertising or commercial sponsor logos on the playing field provided standard field markings are not covered. Previously, advertising was only allowed on the outside of the field or in the end zone.
The NFHS rules committee also mandated that play or flip cards can only be worn on the wrist and not on any other part of the uniform or body. The section covering the foul for grasping the face mask was altered to cover illegal grabbing of a player's mouth protector which is attached to the face mask.