2019 HS football rules change

Published 2:22 pm Friday, August 2, 2019

The National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) announced football rules changes in May. One allows video review of plays in playoff games. The GHSA declined to adopt video replay. Here are the other more significant rules changes for 2019.

*Improved visibility of numbers: To help officials and fans identify players, the committee has clarified the size requirements for jersey numbers through the 2023 season. The committee also added a new requirement that, effective in 2024, jersey numbers must be a single solid color that clearly contrasts with the body color of the jersey. The delayed implementation of the rule allows schools to use uniforms they’ve already purchased.

*Redefined requirements for a legal formation: A legal offensive scrimmage formation now requires at least five players on the line with no more than four backs. This change will make it easier to identify legal and illegal formations.

*Forty-second play clock: To have a more consistent time period between downs, the rules committee approved situations when 40 seconds or 25 seconds will be placed on the play clock.

*Prohibition on tripping the runner: To decrease risk, tripping the runner is now prohibited. It is now a foul to intentionally use the lower leg or foot to obstruct a runner below the knees.

*Illegal kicking and batting penalty reduced: The penalty for illegally kicking or batting the ball was reduced to 10 yards from 15.

*Horse-collar tackle addition: Grabbing the name plate area of the jersey of the runner, directly below the back collar, and pulling the runner to the ground is now a personal contact foul.