sports

New Michigan High School Fall Rule Changes

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Aug. 3 – A pair of football rules changes taking effect this season builds on continuing work to minimize health risks in all interscholastic sports as 2017-18 fall practices begin next week for member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA).

The first major rule change is to the allowable level of contact on a blindside block in football which is aimed at increasing player safety. A blindside block involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration (for example, while following a ball carrier on a kickoff return), is vulnerable to injury by a block coming from outside his field of vision. Blindside blocks now must be initiated with open hands only; blindside contact that is forceful and initiated with other parts of the body outside of the free blocking zone will be penalized as excessive and unnecessary.

In addition to redefining the blindside block, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) sought to also minimize risk by eliminating the pop-up kick – that is, any free kick during which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, causing it to bounce only once and into the air similar to the flight of a ball kicked directly off the tee. Kicks off a tee that bounce multiple times and then pop into the air remain allowed.

A few other notable rules changes in football will be apparent this fall:

  • A defensive player will be called for encroachment for striking the offensive snapper’s hand or arm, or the ball, prior to the snapper releasing the ball to begin a play.
  • Non-contact face guarding is no longer considered pass interference.
  • A team accepting a penalty during the final two minutes of either half now will have the option of re-starting the clock at the snap of the ball rather than the referee’s ready-for-play signal.

While most fall sports face at least minor rules changes this season, a few more of the most noticeable adjustments will come in boys soccer and girls swimming & diving.

  • In boys soccer, overtime periods and shootouts during the regular season have been eliminated. Leagues and conferences are allowed an overtime option for their end-of-season bracketed tournaments, but overtime in those cases must not exceed two 10-minute periods plus a shootout. Multi-team regular-season tournaments also may receive waivers to employ a shootout if it is used to determine the winner of a game.
  • Also in soccer, kickoffs may now travel in any direction from the center of the field. Previously, kickoffs at the high school level were required to move forward down the field of play.
  • In girls swimming & diving, a diver will need only four regular-season wins (instead of the previous five) to qualify for the Regional Diving Qualification Meet. A diver also may qualify if she places ahead of all divers from opposing schools in varsity competition in at least four meets, even if she does not finish ahead of her teammates.
  • Also in swimming & diving, to promote safer take-offs during relays, the second, third and fourth swimmers must have at least one foot in contact with the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during take-off. Those second, third and fourths swimmers may not take off with both feet on top of the starting block wedge.
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sports, Uncategorized

Clipping Clipped And Other MHSAA Rule Changes

Clipping has been eliminated in high school football, the biggest playing rules change on the horizon for member schools of the Michigan High School Athletic Association, which formally begin practice for 2016-17 fall sports next week. Eliminating clipping from the high school game is the latest step in the national playing rules promulgated by the National Federation of State High School Associations.   Clipping previously was permitted in the free-blocking zone when it met three conditions; however, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. According to the rule, the free-blocking zone is defined as a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.

The reason for the rule change is to cut down on the number of injuries. Injuries and concussions have been on the rise, especially in football in recent years. Other rule changes include:

  • In cross country, a participant who assists an injured or ill competitor when the appropriate health care professional is not available no longer will be disqualified from the race; only the runner receiving assistance will be disqualified for not finishing the race unassisted.
  • In soccer, changes were made to the offside rule that makes it match offside rules for the NCAA and FIFA/USSF. The most notable change states that a player in an offside position receiving the ball from an opponent who deliberately plays the ball (except from a deliberate save) is not considered to have gained an advantage and can move ahead toward attempting to score a goal. A player who does receive the ball while in offside position after a deliberate save remains offside, and the result is an indirect kick for the defending team.
  • Also in soccer, eliminating of rough play will be a point of emphasis this school year. Rough play including contact above the shoulder often results in player injury.
  • In volleyball, a change to rules on uniforms aims to make the libero more recognizable from all angles. Beginning this fall, the libero, her teammates, or both will be required to wear a solid-colored uniform top; the libero’s top must clearly contract the predominant color(s) of her teammates’ uniform tops. Also related the uniforms, soft hair devices, formerly no more than two inches in width, may now be up to three inches in width.
  • Also in volleyball, a service toss that contacts a basketball backboard or its supports in a vertical position over the serving area is a service fault and not eligible for a re-serve. The opponent receives a point and the next serve.
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