What's the rule?

So you think you know the rules? Test yourself, thanks to the Professional Development Committee and member Mark Young. As you encounter situations during meets and want to make suggestions for situations to the Professional Development Committee, please contact Young.

The format is simple. Each week, a new situation is presented below and you can determine if the rule has been correctly applied. The ruling is published the following week. When you answer the questions, consider both college and high school rules.

An archive of previous years is available from the sidebar.


Dec 4
Situation: In the high jump, A1 hits the crossbar and it bounces but does not become dislodged until after A1 has exited the pit. Legal jump or not?
Ruling here next week.


Nov 27
Situation: Prior to the competitor's put, A1 takes a position in the back of the circle and shifts the shot between the right and left hand several times. As the shot returns to the putting hand on the last shift, A1 immediately begins the glide across the circle. During the movement through the circle the shot is held close to the chin and the hand doesn't drop during the putting action. The shot lands within the sector and A1 exits through the back half of the circle. B1's coach protests that A1 did not come to a complete stop before commencing the putting action.  
Ruling: Legal put. NFHS 6.7.8 requires the competitor to start from a stationary position, referring to stance, not hand movement, and is intended to eliminate body momentum from aiding the throw. Similarly, NCAA 6.8.1 requires the competitor to start from a stationary position with no reference to hand movement.

Nov 20
Situation: A1 has taken three running approaches to the high jump. Realizing that time is running short and he/she will not be able to initiate another attempt within the one-minute time limit, A1 yells "pass" to the Event Judge. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: It shall be ruled as a failed attempt. For high school, a miss shall be recorded. NFHS 6.2.2(a) requires that a competitor notify of a pass before the start of the trial clock. Similarly, for colleges, NCAA 6.4.3 requires the competitor to indicate a pass "before the start of the time limit."

Nov 13
SituationIn a cross-country meet where transponders/computerized chips are being used on the shoes, the timing operator noticed that A1 finished less than .1 seconds ahead of B1. a) The chief finish evaluator reviewed the video and saw that the lead foot of A1 crossed before the lead foot of B1. b) The lead finish evaluator reviewed the video and was unable determine which foot crossed first. c) The finish evaluator reviewed the video and saw that lead foot of B1 crossed before the lead foot of A1. What should the results be?

Ruling: According to NFHS 8.3.3      a) A1 wins,  b) A1 wins, c) B1 wins.
    According to NCAA 5.3.1, "The runners shall be placed in the order in which any part of their torso reached the perpendicular plane of the nearer edge of the finish line."
     According to NCAA 5.12.2(b) , "The times of all competitors shall be determined by viewing the official image from the FAT camera ," and (e) "The ranked order of competitors separated by not more than 1/10th of a second shall be verified."
    Thus, for our scenario, we need to look at the picture to see who wins. 

Nov 6
Situation: Team A has 6 runners competing. A5 runs off the course. Runners A1-A4 were the top finishers in the race. Runner A6 finishes last. The referee a) disqualifies the entire team and team runners displace other runners for scoring (except A5), b) disqualifies the entire team and Team A runners do not displace other runners, or c) disqualifies A5 and uses A6 for scoring Team A? As usual, respond regarding both NCAA and NFHS rules.
Ruling: The correct answer is c). The only member of Team A who has done anything incorrect is A5, who should be disqualified. A6 is then the 5th scorer for Team A. NFHS 8.7(f) NCAA 5.5.3(f)

Oct 23
SituationAfter the cross-country race begins, runners from Team A join arms to form a barrier forcing other competitors to run around them . After 200 meters, the runners drop their arms and run a regular race without incident. By the end of the race, two runners from Team A advance to the next level of competition. Team A's total score afforded the entire team a first place award and the chance to advance. Should the referee (a) advance all team members, (b) disqualify the team, but advance the two individuals, or (c) disqualify all members of Team A?  As usual, respond for both NFHS and NCAA rules.  
Ruling: As all members of Team A participated in the arm locking, they would all be guilty of interfering with another as proscribed by NFHS 4-6-3, which calls for disqualification pursuant to NFHS 8-7(b). Team A is disqualified.
    Similarly, NCAA 5.5.2 would find Team A guilty of flagrantly impeding other runners, and therefore disqualify all of Team A. 

Oct 9
Situation: The runners are lined up for a cross country race and one runner anticipates the gun and starts too soon. What consequence?
RulingAccording to NCAA 5.2.1d, "...in Cross-country, a competitor shall be warned for the first false start and shall be disqualified only after the competitor has been charged with 2 false starts."
    NFHS 8.4.4a "For an unfair start, the starter or assistant starter shall call the runner by firing the starting device." There is apparently no provision for a false start, which there most assuredly is in the track section. 

Oct 2
Situation: In a cross-country race, A1, A2, A3, A4 and A5 are wearing maroon bottoms with a white top and a maroon sash. A6 is wearing white bottoms and a maroon t-shirt  and A7 is wearing blue bottoms and a blue top. The school colors are maroon and white. The coach claims all uniforms were issued by the school. What ruling for NFHS and NCAA rules?

Ruling: By NFHS rules, A6 and A7 should be warned that they have to match the other 5.. Failure to comply would result in disqualification. NFHS 8.6.1b. and accompanying note regarding the PENALTY.
    NCAA 4.3.2 requires that all cross-country team members must wear uniforms clearly indicating through color, logo and combination of all outer garments that members are of the same team. Again, a warning should be issued to A6 and A7. Failure to comply could result in disqualification. 

Sept 25
Situation: There is a tie for the team title at the conference cross-country championship . How should the tie be broken. Remember to respond for both NFHS and NCAA rules. 
Ruling: For competitions governed by NFHS rules, "ties in team scoring shall be resolved by comparing the 6th place finishers from the tying teams." The team with the higher placing 6th place finisher wins. If one team does not have a 6th place finisher, the team with one wins. NFHS 9.2.4. For competitions governed by NCAA rules, the tie is broken by comparing "in order the place finish of each of the 5 scoring members of the tied teams. The team with the majority of winning comparisons shall be awarded the higher place."

Sept 18
Situation: Computerized chips/transponders are being used to determine times in a cross-country. Runner A dives across the line to barely edge out Runner B. When the official results are posted, Runner A had the second fastest time, but the judges had awarded her/him first place because his/her torso had crossed the finish line first. Was this the proper result? As always, answer for both NFHS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: No under NFHS rules. NFHS 9.3.3 requires using the chip/transponder results when that system is being used. In 2016, Rule 9-3-3 was revised to recommend the use of a video or photograph to verify the order of finish in races in which the timing system indicates a differential of one-tenth of a second or less. Having the video as a back-up and a process in place for problems that may arise from the use of a computerized transponder/chip system is a good solution, NFHS said.
The NCAA citation is 8.5.6(f). This requires the photo review of places separated by less than 1/10th of a second.