Home      Administration
Officials' Corner Login: Official ID: Forgot your Password?
Forgot your Official ID?

Elimination of Clipping in Free-Blocking Zone


Contact: Bob Colgate

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — The elimination of clipping from high school football is the latest attempt to reduce the risk of injury made by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee.

The decision to eliminate clipping in the free-blocking zone (Rule 2-17-3) was the most significant of three rules changes recommended by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its January 22-24 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“With very few major rules changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee for the 2016 season, it indicates that the committee feels that the rules of the game are in pretty good shape,” said Bob Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the NFHS and staff liaison for football.

Clipping, as previously stated in Rule 2-17-3, was permitted in the free-blocking zone when it met three conditions; however, clipping is now illegal anywhere on the field at any time. According to the rule, the free-blocking zone is defined as a rectangular area extending laterally 4 yards either side of the spot of the snap and 3 yards behind each line of scrimmage.

“The NFHS Football Rules Committee’s action this year on making clipping illegal in the free-blocking zone once again reinforces its continued effort to minimize risk within the game,” Colgate said.

“I look forward to ongoing conversations about how best to limit exposure to harm within the free-blocking zone and in situations involving defenseless players,” said Brad Garrett, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant executive director of the Oregon School Activities Association.

Other changes for the 2016 season will include those made to football protective equipment and gloves in Rules 1-5-1d(5)a and 1-5-2b.
“The committee expanded the options on what can now be worn as a legal tooth and mouth protector and also football gloves,” Colgate said.

Tooth and mouth protectors that are completely clear or completely white are no longer illegal. Rule 1-5-1d(5)a continues to require that tooth and mouth protectors include an occlusal (protecting and separating the biting surfaces) portion and a labial (protecting the teeth and supporting structures) portion, and that they cover the posterior teeth with adequate thickness.

In Rule 1-5-2b, football gloves are now required to meet either the new Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) specifications or the existing National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) test standard at the time of manufacture.

“I give my compliments to the voting members of the NFHS Football Rules Committee as they continue to put the health and safety of student-athletes at the forefront of all committee discussions regarding the future of the game,” Garrett said.

A complete listing of all rules changes will be available soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Football.”

According to the 2014-15 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, football is the most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 1,083,617 participants in 11-player football. Another combined 28,938 boys participated in 6-, 8- and 9-player football. In addition, 1,698 girls participated in football during the 2014-15 season.

www.NFHS.org | www.NFHSLearn.com

Show Past Features
The following letter was written to Minneapolis Washburn girls basketball coach Tylor Coley following a game at Waconia on Feb. 16, 2016.

Coach Coley,

I attended the game last night between Washburn and Waconia, and feel compelled to write you this morning. I’ve attended hundreds of games as Principal at Waconia High School, but last night’s game was truly memorable.

I’d like to congratulate you and your girls for playing the game hard and fair. Your girls continued to play tenaciously even with a short bench, against a deep team with a hot shooting hand. You, and your staff, continued to coach, teach, and encourage your athletes, even as they fell behind.

However, the game will be unforgettable to me for another reason. I’m virtually certain that no one in attendance last night will remember the final score, and many will even forget the outcome, but no one will forget the incredible display of sportsmanship and spirit of the game shown by you and your girls. Your team’s role in getting our athlete into the scorebook (twice) serves as a reminder that basketball is just a game, and the lessons learned about life and compassion are independent of the final score.

I know your team is struggling through a difficult season, and there are some who will say adversity and difficult losses build character. I don’t buy it. I believe adversity and difficult losses reveal character, and you and your team were revealed as true winners last night, a true class act. Even as a crusty 22-year veteran principal, I can honestly admit I had tears in my eyes at the conclusion of the game. Tears at the excitement of our girls for a teammate, and tears for the recognition of your team that they had just been part of something bigger than the game.

Good luck on the remainder of your season.


Mark Fredericksen
Waconia High School Principal

Show More Alerts

In a softball game, while attempting to make a catch, F3 dives from live-ball territory and, before landing and coming to rest in dead-ball territory, makes the catch.

What is the ruling?

 A.This is a catch, but the ball becomes dead. Any runners on base will be awarded one base.
 B.No catch. The ball becomes dead so the catch is disallowed.
 C.This is a catch, but the ball becomes dead. Any runners on base must return to the base last legally touched at the time of the pitch.
 D.No catch. Any runners on base will be awarded one base since F3 completed the catch in dead-ball territory.
Show More You Make the Call

Copyright 1994-2018 Minnesota State High School League
2100 Freeway Boulevard Brooklyn Center, MN 55430-1735
(763) 560-2262    FAX (763) 569-0499