High school football rule changes you should know

By Katelyn Lemen | Posted 8/9/2017

The National Federation of State High School Associations, the governing body for high school sports, has made some rule changes for the upcoming football season.

Notably, the new rules have eliminated blindside blocking and “pop-up” onside kicks.

For blindside blocking, this means officials will assess a 15-yard penalty for a hit on a player who is not carrying the ball and “does not see the blocker approaching.”

The NFHS expands on the reason behind the rule by saying, “contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury.”

The “pop up” onside kick rule states, “a pop-up kick is a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee. Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball free-kick infraction.”

Other new rules involving ball specification, uniforms, penalty time clock management and prosthetic limbs have been amended.

  • 1-3-1h: Commercial advertising is not permitted on the ball.
  • 1-5-1b(3): Further clarifies that the jersey of the home team shall be a dark color clearly contrasting to the white jersey required for the visiting team.
  • 2-16-2h: Clarified that illegal participation fouls by the receiving team occurring during the kick are now enforced under post-scrimmage kick fouls.
  • 3-4-7: Added a new option to the offended team to start the clock on the snap for an accepted penalty inside the last two minutes of either half.
  • 4-2-2l: Specifies that the ball is declared dead if a prosthetic limb comes completely off the runner.

For more information, visit the NFHS official site