Football rule changes
By RON PRESTON
The physicals are completed, the concussion check forms have been filed with school offices and now the practices will be begin Monday for football, volleyball, cross country and girls tennis.
Many schools are already in session, the rest should begin sometime next week but the student athletes will hit the field or the court Monday.
Football practices, in some cases two-a-days, begin the 2013 season with ever cautious practices on athlete safety officials say.
Safety precautions will be observed in all sports, but especially in football where the Kansas State High School Activities Association with the focus on safety precautions adopted some new rules of the game.
Football practices for the first three days will be with helmets only. Full uniform pads are not being allowed until the Aug. 22. The first practices will focus on drills teaching the students athletes to tackle with their head in the proper position so as not to cause themselves an injury, coaches said.
New rules or changes to existing rules written by the National Federation of State High School Associations are now in the KSHAA rulebooks.
The rule changes as it applies to safety are:
1. Loss of helmet after the down. The rules committee clarified that if the helmet comes completely off during subsequent dead-ball action related to the down, and is not directly attributable to a foul by the opponent, the player must leave the game for at least one down (unless half-time or overtime intermission occurs). An official’s time-out shall be called.
2. Initiating contact with a helmet-less opponent. In the interest of minimizing risk, the committee added a new illegal personal contact foul. This foul is charged to any player who initiates contact with an opposing player whose helmet has come completely off.
3. Illegal participation for players continuing to play without a helmet. Continuing with focus on risk minimization, the committee determined that a helmet-less player should not block, tackle or otherwise participate beyond the immediate action in which the player is engaged when the helmet came completely off. The penalty would be a live-ball, basic spot foul.
Other rule changes of interest adopted by the rules committee are:
1.Solid-colored towels now legal. The committee modified the rule regarding the authorized wearing of a moisture-absorbing towel. Towels that are one solid color may now be worn, as long as they are not the color of the football or penalty flag. The towel cannot have no more than one visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark, which cannot exceed 2 ¼ square inches in any dimension. Towels worn by teammates must be the same color. Previously, the towel could only be white and unmarked.
2. Definition of a catch clarified. The committee clarified the definition of a catch. An airborne player who has forward progress inbounds and is carried out of bounds by an opponent before contacting the ground is awarded a catch at the spot of forward progress.
3. Kick-catching interference. The rules committee added a 15-yard penalty to the existing option of accepting an awarded fair catch for kick-catch interference. The option to try a scoring free kick after an awarded fair catch remains.
4. Pass interference penalties revised. This rule change removes the automatic first down for defensive pass interference and the loss of down for offensive pass interference. The 15-yard penalty provision remains for both fouls.
The five Dickinson County high schools will begin playing their first game of the regular season on Friday, Sept. 6, with these rule changes in place.
That is just three weeks away football fans.