Rule changes ‘o plenty as the school year nears

While the University Interscholastic League has pretty much put and end to the Texas football tradition of two-a-days set in motion by last summer’s record setting heat.

In case you haven’t heard, you can no longer hold twoa days for two days in a row. Coaches across the state have given the new ruling mixed reviews, concerned about conditioning.

Most coaches feel like they have been complying with the new ruling all along.

There must also be a twohour break between the twoa day practice, up from the old practice of one hour of rest.

With the new school year fast-approaching, there are several other rule changes that will affect several sports throughout the year.

• First off, all coaches were required to take a concussion training class to better recognize the injury and its symptoms.

Also, all student-athletes must sign a concussion acknowledgment form.

• On a related subject, football players must now sit out one play id their helmet comes off while the ball is alive.

• There was an age requirement put on football helmets where a school district may not use a helmet that is 16 years or older in the district’s football program.

If a helmet is 10 years or older it must be reconditioned every two years.

Schools get new equipment and new uniforms just about every year, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

• The National Federation of State High School Associations rules committee also cleared the way for state associations and their member schools to place corporate advertising and/or commercial markings on the field of play. These types of markings previously were only allowed in the end zones and outside the field.

Whataburger Field anyone?

• It is illegal to wear an play calling card anywhere but on the wrist or arm.

• While this has been the norm in Class A for some time in track and field, all conferences will add an area track meet to the post season schedule, between the district and regional meets.

• It is also illegal to grab a mouthpiece protector and will be considered the same kind of foul as grabbing the facemask.

• In Class 4A and 5A, the distance at district, regional and state cross country races for girls will be increased from two miles to three miles, equal to the boys distance.

The girls distance in Class A, 2A and 3A will remain the same.

• And beginning this school year, the number of qualifiers from the regional golf tournament to the state golf tournament will increase to three teams and three individuals per region instead of two teams and two individuals.

• According to the NFHS, 1.13 million boys played football last season in this country. That does not include the 1,561 girls who played.

We have a thriving Pop Warner football league here in Central Texas and even they have jumped on the bandwagon.

The first rule change limits the amount of contact drills, such as one-on-one blocking, tackling and scrimmaging to 40 minutes per practice, or no more than a third of the total weekly practice time.

Pop Warner already caps practice at 2 hours a day, 3 days a week during the regular season.

The second rule change prohibits full-speed head-on blocking or tackling with players more than three yards apart.

Full speed drills may occur only when players approach each other from the angle, but not straight into each other.

Offenses and defenses are more sophisticated, players are stronger and faster than they were back in the day, so despite some grumblings, lets applaud the leaders of these factions for taking actions to protecting the players, playing kids games.

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2012-08-16 digital edition

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