National Federation of State High School Associations

The National Federation of State High School Associations made a few minor rules changes for the 2013 season, including rules for players who lose their helmet during a dead-ball situation and first downs on pass interference.

Announced by the NFHS for the upcoming season were:

  • If a player’s helmet comes completely off during subsequent dead-ball action related to the down, and is not directly attributable to a foul by the opponent, the player must leave the game for at least one down. An official’s timeout will be called.
  • Automatic first downs for defensive pass interference and the loss of down for offensive pass interference have been removed. The 15-yard penalty provision remains for both fouls.
  • A helmet-less player cannot block, tackle or otherwise participate beyond the immediate action in which the player is engaged when the helmet came completely off. The penalty would be a live-ball, basic-spot foul.
  • The committee added a new illegal personal contact foul. The foul is charged to any player who initiates contact with an opposing player whose helmet has come completely off.
  • The committee clarified the definition of a catch. An airborne player who has forward progress stopped inbounds and is carried out of bounds by an opponent before contacting the ground is awarded a catch at the spot of forward progress.
  • A new provision added to the existing rule stipulates the kicking team may initiate contact once the receiving team has initiated a block within the neutral zone during a free kick.
  • Clarified that the touchdown scoring team is the only team that can score following a touchdown.
  • The committee added a 15-yard penalty to the existing option of accepting an awarded fair catch for kick-catch interference. The option to try a scoring free kick after an awarded fair catch remains.
  • Expanded use of communication devices allows coaches, players and non-players to use any form of available communication technology during authorized conferences outside the 9-yard marks on the sidelines and during the halftime.
  • Solid colored towels are allowed as long as they are not the color of the football or penalty flag. Previously, the towel could only be white and unmarked.

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