High school football rules changes: Players will sit for improper equipment

By Brent Glasgow | Posted 8/7/2018

Photo via Mike Fender

The National Federation of State High School Associations announced rule changes for the 2018 high school football season throughout the United States.

Now, players with missing or improperly worn equipment during play will be removed for at least one down, unless it's directly attributable to a foul by the opponent.

In a related change, the head coach is responsible for assuring all players are legally equipped. The penalty for use of illegal equipment remains unchanged, and will result in an unsportsmanlike foul charged to the coach. 

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The second rules change provides another option for teams on fouls committed by the kicking team during free kicks and scrimmage kicks. Now, the receiving team can accept a 5-yard penalty from the succeeding spot. The previous three options remain: accept a 5-yard penalty from the previous spot and have the kicking team re-kick, put the ball in play at the inbounds spot 25 yards beyond the previous spot or decline the penalty and put the ball in play at the inbounds spot.

The third change was a revision related to examples of a defenseless player, where provisions don't apply to a passer until a legal forward pass is thrown. The passer continues to be a defenseless player until the pass ends or the passer moves to participate in the play.

Another alteration, the signal for free-kick infractions, other than encroachment of the neutral zone, changes from officials Signal 18 to Signal 19.

The final change concerns six-player football, where the timing rule between periods and intermission has been standardized to match the current NFHS rules for 8-player, 9-player and 11-player football. 

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