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Archive 2014-2015

June 1
Situation: Approximately halfway through the conference meet, an electrical storm suddenly appears and in the interest of safety, the games committee suspends competition and resumes the meet the next day. When the meet was suspended, there were 5 competitors remaining in the high jump and the bar was at 6 feet 5 inches. A1 and B1 had cleared the height while C1 and D1 had failed their first attempts. A2 had not yet had a trial when the meet was suspended. When the meet resumes, how should the high jump be conducted? Which is to say how are the clearances and misses from the previous day to be treated?
Ruling: NFHS Rule 3.2.6 states that competition interrupted by events beyond the control of the administrative authority shall be resumed from the point of interruption unless there are other rules (state or conference) that apply. All marks and trials made prior to the interruption shall stand. Thus, the high jump will start at 6'5". A1 and B1 have clearances, C1 and D1 have one miss and A2 has 3 attempts remaining.

May 25
Situation: Upon a report from the Chief Umpire, the Referee disqualifies Team B from the 4 x 100 Meter Relay for passing the baton out of the zone. The coach of Team B protests the ruling and cites as evidence a video of the race taken by another coach and claiming that the wrong team had been disqualified. What should the ruling be? Respond for both NFHS and NCAA.
Ruling: Protest denied. Both NFHS 3.2.7 and NCAA 4.4.10(c) exclude the use of all video evidence EXCEPT that which has been produced in conjunction with officiating an event, official photo-timing and official video designated by the Games Committee. 

May 18
Situation: A1 qualifies for the long jump final at the state meet. A1 fails to report for the finals until all but one competitor is left to take his/her last trial in the final. How many jumps should A1 be allowed?
Ruling: NFHS 7.2.13 allows the Head Event Judge to excuse competitors. It also guarantees the final attempt in the finals to the competitor with the best mark in the preliminaries. So, A1 would get one attempt unless the event judge had indicated something else previously. Under NCAA rule 6.1.6, the answer would be none, unless A1 was the next to last jumper in the order. Missed attempts in the final cannot be made up.

May 11
Situation: In the Boys' 110 meter hurdles, A1 knocks over the last three hurdles before winning the event. B1, who finished second, knocks over all 10 hurdles. A1 is ruled to have won the event by the Referee in spite of having knocked down three hurdles. B1 is disqualified. Explain under NFHS rules. Would the result be any different under NCAA rules? Why or why not?
Ruling: Under NFHS Rules (NFHS 5.14.2(a)) it is a violation if a competitor "does not attempt to clear each hurdle." In the case given, the Referee ruled that A1 had made an attempt to clear each hurdle in spite of knocking down the last 3. He did not feel that B1 had made such an attempt in that he didn't clear any.
    NCAA 5.6 has different language. 5.6.(a) requires disqualification for dragging the trail leg below the hurdle plane or failing to get the lead leg over failing to keep within the hurdle width. There is no element of subjectivity involved (in determining that "an attempt" had been made).

May 4
Situation: In the 4 x 400 Relay which is using a three-turn stagger, A2 takes a position outside the beginning of the relay zone, maintaining that she/he is allowed to use the International Zone in Relays in which the exchange must take place in an assigned lane. (Note: A good official actually told me that this was okay this past weekend.) What should the ruling be? Reply for both NHFS and NCAA Rules.
Ruling: Both NFHS 5.10.9 and NCAA 5.10.4 allow the use of the International Zone in relays in which the incoming runner is running 200 meters (220y) or less in an assigned lane. As the incoming runner in this question was running a leg of 400 meters, the outgoing runner is not allowed to use the International Zone. 

April 27
Situation: B1, who has passed three consecutive heights in the high jump while participating in another event asks the judge for a warmup. What should the event judges response be? As usual, is the response different under NCAA rules from NFHS rules? 
Ruling: For high school competition, one warm-up jump, without the crossbar, may be permitted, but the competitor shall enter the competition at that height. The warm-up jump must take place at a height change.NFHS 7.5.8  
    NCAA rules are quite a bit different. NCAA 6.1.9 allows a competitor who has not made an initial attempt in at least an hour from the first trial of the competition a one and a half minute maximum warm-up period without the crossbar in place. As with the high school rule, such warm-up must occur at a height change.

April 20
Situation: A competitor in the Shot Put begins to move across the throwing circle initiating his/her attempt at a throw. The competitor slips and stops the attempt. He/she exits the circle and wipes of her/his shoes then re-enters the circle and restarts the attempt. This action all occurs during the one minute since the competitor's name was called. A foul is called. The competitor's coach objects. What should the ruling be? Would the answer be different if the competitor had exited the circle to wipe off the shoes without initiating an attempt? As usual, respond for both NCAA and NFHS.
b: The throw should be ruled a foul. NFHS 6.4.9(c) prohibits touching an area outside the circle after a throw has been initiated. If the athlete had not commenced the throw by moving across the circle, it would not have been a foul, assuming that all of the other conditions had been met.  
NCAA 8.6.2 has the same language as the NFHS rule, "after entering the circle and starting the put", so the result would be the same.

April 13
Situation: In the 4 x 100 Relay, A2, is standing outside the limits of the acceleration zone as incoming teammate A1 approaches and (a) takes a stationary position prior to beginning his/her acceleration, or (b) fails to take a stationary position prior to her/his acceleration. What should the ruling be? Reply for both NFHS and NCAA rules.
RulingNFHS 5.10.9 Legal in (a), illegal in (b). Case book comment, "while the rule does not specify when a runner must assume a position in the acceleration zone, a runner who begins any movement from outside the limit of that zone without taking a stationary position in the acceleration or exchange zone, violates the purpose of putting prescribed limits on these zones."
    NCAA: 5.8.4 requires that the outgoing runner must be positioned "entirely inside" the International Zone.

April 6
Situation: In the Intermediate Hurdles, A1, who is running in Lane 5, becomes confused as he enters the straightaway and inadvertently clears the hurdle in Lane 4 before returning to his assigned lane. No interference has occurred and no advantage gained. Be sure to respond for both NFHS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: A1 shall be Disqualified. NFHS 5.14.2(d), NCAA 5.6(b). The rule citation requires the competitor hurdle each hurdle within the competitor's lane.

March 30
Situation: With temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, one or more members of Team A's relay team appear at the starting line wearing gloves. The clerk or the starter directs the competitor(s) to remove the gloves as they are not permitted in relays. A protest is made based on the claim that the gloves are protection from the cold. What should the ruling be? Respond for both NCAA and NFHS.
Ruling: Gloves are not permitted in Relay events. NFHS 5.10.5, NCAA 5.9(b)

March 23
Situation: Competitor A1 in the throws or a horizontal jump checks out of her/his event with the head official after completing a successful trial in that event. That trial earns A1 a spot in the final of the event. A1 is delayed in returning for the finals and is not there to take his/her turn when called. How should the event official mange the absence. Respond for both NFHS and NCAA rules and note that they are not the same.
Ruling: Under NFHS rules, the Games Committee shall establish time limits by which excused competitors must return to take their turns (NFHS 6.2.11). The competitor with the best mark in the preliminaries has earned the right to make the last attempt of the competition and may choose to wait until any excused competitor has taken all of their trials. (NFHS 6.2.5) Thus, if returning during the time limit prescribed, a competitor may take a missed turn in the finals.
    Under NCAA rules, a different result. Under NCAA 6.1.6(a), "Excused competitors must not delay the start of the finals. Should a competitor miss a turn in the finals, the head judge shall refuse permission for that competitor to take that turn."

March 16
Situation: After clearing the high jump cleanly at a new meet record, excited A1 exits the landing pit from the front. The head event judge rules the attempt a foul. A1's coach files a protest with the referee. What should the ruling be? Remember to respond for both NFHS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: Leaving the landing pit from the front is not a foul. NFHS 7.4.14, NCAA 6.5.3

March 9
Situation: The high jump event has (a) an apron of natural grass or (b) an all-weather apron, but grass extending into the area where the jumpers start their approach. A1 wishes to place 3 or 4 markers to accommodate for the grass. What should the event judge rule? Answer for both NFHS and NCAA.
Ruling: Under NFHS Rules, the Games Committee determines the number of check marks allowed, their location and the material allowed to be used. So, if more than 2 are allowed by the Games Committee, the request would be allowed, but only if the Games Committee so ruled. NFHS 7.4.7. Under NCAA Rules, a maximum of 2 markers may be used, the request would be denied. NCAA 6.1.7(c)

March 2
Situation: The Javelin lands: (a) with the furthermost point touching just prior to the Javelin sliding along the ground on the shaft, (b) almost flat, but with the rear portion of the shaft touching slightly before the javelin slides along the ground: or (c) perfectly flat. From where should the throw be marked in each instance?
Ruling: In (a) measure from where the furthermost tip first touched the ground. In (b), measure from where the rearmost tip first hit the ground, and in (c), measure from the end of the cord grip nearest to the scratch line. NFHS 6.6.12 NCAA 6.11.4

Feb 23
Situation: In the Shot Put (or Discus) A1 releases the implement and steps out of the back half of the throwing circle (a) while the implement is in flight or (b) after the implement lands within the sector lines. Are both of these throws legal? Respond for NFHS and NCAA Rules.
Ruling: The throws are not legal in (a) but are legal in (b). NFHS 6.5.9 g (shot) and 6.4.9f (discus) require that the thrower remain in the circle until the implement has landed. Similarly, NCAA 6.8.2f (shot) 6.9.2d (discus), require that the implement hit the ground before the competitor leaves the circle. 

Feb 16
Situation: In the High Jump, there is one competitor remaining. The competitor has 5 minutes (4 minutes for NCAA) to complete a trial. The competitor is called and the 5 (4) minutes begin. The competitor exits the immediate competitive venue to (a) get a different pair of shoes, (b) talk to his/here coach at the coach's box, (c) view a video of his/her previous attempt at the coach's box. What should the ruling be? Respond for both NFHS and NCAA.
Ruling:  Allowable for (a) and (b), but not (c). NFHS 3-2-8(a), NCAA 4-2-3(a)(1)

Feb 9
Situation:  During a relay, incoming runner A1 drops the baton (a) while outside the exchange zone (b) within the exchange zone or (c) within the exchange zone where it rolls into an adjacent lane and is retrieved by A1. Who may legally retrieve the baton? Answer for both NFHS and NCAA.
Ruling: In (a) it is permissible for only A1 to retrieve the baton (assuming that no interference occurs while so doing). In (b) and (c), either A1 or A2 may retrieve the baton, provided there is no interference and provided that A2 returns to the assigned lane if that is relevant. NFHS 5.10.7, NCAA 5.8.5

Feb 2
Situation: A two-turn stagger is used to start the 600 meter run Indoors. A1, running in Lane 2, breaks for the inside lane two strides before reaching the break line and is disqualified. The coach of Team A protests that runners are permitted two steps on or over the inside lane line before disqualification. What ruling should be made on the protest?
Ruling: The disqualification should be upheld. NFHS 5.12.2 requires that runners run the entire distance to the break line in their assigned lanes prior to breaking to the pole. NCAA 5.5.2(d) also requires crossing the break line in the assigned lane prior to moving to the pole.
    It should be noted by all who Umpire that NFHS 5.2.12(a) calls for disqualification if a runner steps on or over the inside lane or curb with three or more steps with either or both feet. On the other hand, NCAA 5.5.2 and 3, require disqualification if the runners steps on or over the inside lane or curb with two steps of either or both feet. One less step for the collegians.

Jan 26
Situation: A1 starts the 400 meter run, in a race to be run entirely in lanes, in Lane 2 and runs in this lane until the final straightaway. A1 wins the race well ahead of B1, but finishes the race in Lane 4. The Coach of Team B protests that A1 should be disqualified for not finishing the race in the assigned lane. A1's coach counters with the fact that no one was impeded or interfered with and A1, if anything, ran farther by moving out to Lane 4. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: A1 is disqualified. Both NFHS 5.12.1(d) and NCAA 5.5.2(c) require that a runner in a race run entirely in lanes must start and finish in the assigned lane.

Jan 19
Situation: When the results of the discus are announced, A1 is credited with a distance of 150 feet 6 1/2 inches and B1 is credited with a distance of 150 feet 6 inches. The coach of Team B protests that they should be tied as the discus is measured only to the nearest lesser full inch. What is correct result? Answer for both NFHS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: The throwers are tied, as NFHS 6.5.11 requires that throws shall be recorded to nearest lesser inch (or even numbered centimeter). Fractions of inches would not be recorded.
    Under NCAA Rules, the situation would not happen as described because NCAA 6.1.14(b) requires that all measurements shall be recorded to the nearest lesser centimeter. Imperial measurements are not recorded nor official.

Jan 12
Situation: When reporting for the 4 x 200 M Relay, all four members of Team A are wearing compression garments that do not extend below the knees underneath their uniform shorts. Each competitor's undergarment is of a different solid color. What action should the Clerk or other officials take, if any?
Ruling: Under NFHS Rules, no action is necessary as the identical color rule only applies to visible undergarments that extend below the knee. NFHS 4.3.2(b) But, under NCAA Rules, the Clerk would inform Team A that three team members would have to change their undergarments as NCAA 4.3.2 requires that visible undergarments on the bottom must be of an identical color, irrespective of length.

Jan 5
Situation: A1 has been assigned to the third flight of a throwing event or horizontal jump. A1 reports to the head official for that event a) after completion of flight 2 , but before the beginning of flight 3, or b) after the commencement of flight 3 but before A1's name has been called. In which circumstance would A1 be allowed to compete?
Ruling: Neither. NFHS 4.1.3 requires athletes to report to field events before the competition has begun. Failure to do so eliminates the competitor from the competition. NCAA 4.1.1 requires athletes to be promptly at the starting point of each competition entered. 

Dec 29
Situation: During the 4 x 200 Meter Relay, Team A is disqualified for completing an exchange outside the zone. Following the race, the coach for Team A protests the ruling, claiming that it was another team with similar uniforms that committed the violation. The coach submits video taken by a parent as evidence of the actual violation. Correct result?
Ruling: Protest denied. NFHS 3.2.7 restricts the use of video replay or other visual aids to official finish line equipment only. Any and all other forms of replay are not allowable. NCAA 4.7.10(c) specifically excludes all visual material except that produced in officiating an event.

Dec 22
Situation: A1 enters the shotput circle from the front half of the ring, comes to a full stop, gets into position, puts the shot, waits until the put lands and exits out the back half of the circle. Is this a legal put?
Ruling: Yes. The requirement is that the competitor leave from the back half of the circle, but there is no requirement about entry. NFHS 6.4.9(g). NCAA 6.8.2(g)

Dec 15
Situation: A1 starts the 400 meter dash in Lane 3 and remains in that lane until the final straightaway. A1 wins the race handily over B1, but finishes in Lane 4. The Coach of Team B protests that A1 should be disqualified. The coach of Team A maintains that since A1 was on the straightaway and no advantage was gained, and no one was obstructed, A1 should be the winner.
Ruling: A1 should be disqualified. While it is permissible to run outside your lane on either side on a straightaway as long as no other runner is impeded, NFHS 5.12.1(d) and NCAA 5.5.2(c) require that runners in lane races must start and finish in their assigned lane.

Dec 8
Situation: In a Discus competition, A1's discus hits the side of the cage and deflects to a landing site inside the sector lines. Is this a Fair or Foul throw?
Ruling: For High School: Foul NFHS 6.4.9(e). For College: Fair NCAA 6.9.3(Note 2) 

Dec 1
Situation: In the 55 meter hurdles for males, A1 knocks over the last 3 hurdles before winning the event. B1, who finished 2d, knocks over all 10 hurdles. In the Umpire's judgment, A1 was making an honest attempt to clear each hurdle, whereas B1 appeared to not be attempting to clear the hurdles. What should the result be?
Ruling: A1 is the winner according to either NCAA or NFHS rules. B1 is disqualified under NFHS rules, but NOT under NCAA rules.
NFHS 5.14.2(a) Cites failure to attempt to clear each hurdle as grounds for disqualification.
NCAA 5.6 does not require that the hurdler attempt to hurdle each hurdle.
BUT, both the NCAA and NFHS Rules require that no leg or foot should be advanced or trail below the top horizontal plane of the hurdle or hurdle extended. Enforcement of hurdling violations can be very difficult.  

Nov 24
Situation: In a Relay race in which the acceleration zone is not permitted, outgoing runner A2 takes a position just inside the beginning of the exchange zone. As incoming runner A1 approaches, A2 begins to accelerate by taking a step backward with the right foot outside the limit of the exchange zone. Has a violation occurred?
RulingYes. NFHS 5.10.10;     NCAA 5.8.4 and 5.9.(i)

Nov 17
Situation: Following the preliminaries, there is a tie between A1 and B1 for the last qualifying spot to advance to the final in a throwing event or a horizontal jump. The event judge advances A1 to the finals on the basis of having the second best performance. Is this the correct procedure?
Ruling: No. The tie-breaking procedure does not apply to preliminary competition. Both A1 and B1 should be advanced. NFHS 6.2.3 NCAA 6.2.3

Nov 10
Situation: An Umpire at the 3,000 meter mark of the State Cross-Country Meet raises a yellow flag when A1 is observed wearing a two-color undergarment under his/her uniform that does not extend below the knees. The incident is reported to the Chief Umpire and then to the Referee after A1 has crossed the finish line. What should the ruling be? Under NFHS Rules? Under NCAA Rules?

Ruling: NFHS -- No violation because the undergarment in question did not extend below the knee. NFHS 9.6.1(7)

NCAA -- Violation because the relevant NCAA rule requires a solid color. So, even if there are no other team members
wearing an undergarment on the bottom, it must a solid. NCAA 4.3.2(b)

Nov 3
Situation: At the Conference Championship meet, Teams A and B tie for second place. Team A finished only five runners; Team B finished six runners. How is the tie broken? Is the answer any different if Team B also has only five runners finish?

Ruling: Under NFHS Rules, Team B is the winner in the first scenario, as ties are broken by the team with the first sixth-place finisher. (NFHS 9.2.4). Under NCAA Rules, the winner is determined by comparing each runner by place against their counterpart (first place runner against first, second place runner against second, and so on). The team that wins the majority of these matchups prevails. (NCAA 8.6.3(d))

In the second scenario, the tie will be broken under NFHS Rules by totaling the scores of the first four finishers from each team. Lowest total wins. (NFHS 9.2.5). There would be no change in outcome under NCAA Rules.

Some people are under the impression that ties are only broken for first place. Neither Rules book makes such a distinction for cross country scoring.

Oct 27
Situation: In a meet that includes individual members from teams that are not fielding full teams, or teams that started at least five runners but do not finish at least five, how is the team scoring computed? This is important as it can change the team results.

Ruling: NFHS: If fewer than five competitors of a team finish, the places of all members of that team shall be disregarded and the team scores re-ranked. NFHS 9.2.3.

NCAA: The answer is the same for NCAA competition. Those teams not finishing at least five runners shall not be included in the order of team finish. NCAA 8.6.3(a.) However, the newest NCAA rule requires the listing those teams that do not finish five runners, in alphabetical order, as DNF.

Oct 20
Situation: As it's turning cold, all members of Team A report to the start line wearing arm sleeves/warmers displaying a leopard design that bears no relationship to their school mascot. The referee rules that the warmers are an undergarment and, therefore, must be of a single, solid color or removed. Is this the correct ruling?
Ruling: Under NFHS rules, the answer is no. The warmers are not considered an undergarment as they are not under anything and they are not a uniform top as described in NFHS 4.3.1b(8) or 9.6.1b(7).
    Under NCAA 4.3.2(e), additional visible clothing is defined as an undergarment. That being so, the warmers should be of the same color, so the answer in this case would be yes.

Oct 13
Situation: Competitor A reports to the clerk of the course wearing Superman socks that have a cape attached to each sock flowing behind the athlete. The clerk, after consulting the meet referee, directs competitor A to either remove the socks or securely affix the capes to the socks so as not to come loose during competition; otherwise, he/she will not be permitted to participate.
Question: Is the Clerk correct in this instance?

Ruling: Yes. Although socks are not a part of the uniform and, therefore are not required to meet uniform restrictions, the cape extending from the socks becomes a risk minimization issue, as the spikes from the individual runner or others could get caught in this excess material. The referee, under NFHS Rule 3-4-6, has the authority to restrict this garment due to risk minimization. (3-4-6, 4-3-1, 9-6-1) .

The NCAA rule is a little less clear, but NCAA 3.4.2(c) and (d) give the Referee powers for the same purposes as stated above.

Oct 6
Situation:  True or false: The Referee of the cross country meet shall review and approve the final meet results?

Ruling: Yes, NFHS rule 3.4.2. 
No, NCAA 8.5.2. (New this year, so not in the old rules book)

Sept 29
Situation: In a multi-team cross country meet, the teams are permitted to enter a maximum of seven runners. Team A, in an attempt to conceal the identity of the seven runners intended to make up its team, placed eight runners at the start line, and when the starting device was fired, seven runners started and the eighth remained behind the start line. Team A finished with the lowest team score. What should the ruling be?

Ruling: Team A should be disqualified. As there is no specific reference to this situation in Rule 9, NFHS 4.1.2 would govern. That rule states "Contestants officially become competitors when they report to the clerk of the course ... for an event in which they are entered." A8 would be considered to have become a contestant upon reporting to the starting line, thus exceeding the number of entries allowed.

Regarding the NCAA, the situation seems to be covered by NCAA 8.5.5, which assigns to the Clerk of the Course the duty to remove from the starting area everyone who is not a clerk, an equipment marshal or an official runner. So the situation should not happen. if somehow it should occur, NCAA 4.1 governing unsportsmanlike conduct would apply.

Sept 22
Situation: In a cross-country race, Runner A1 is wearing a two-color undergarment under her/his uniform bottom that does not extend below the knees. A course umpire reports this to the referee as a possible violation of the uniform rule. What should the ruling be? Again, note the difference between the high school rule and the college one.

Ruling: For high schools, this is allowable. NFHS Rule only specifies requirements for undergarments that extend BELOW the knee. For colleges, the undergarment in this situation violates NCAA Rule 4.3.2(b), which requires all undergarments to be of a solid color. 

Sept 15
Situation: There is a tie for first place between two teams at the conference cross-country championships. How should the tie be broken? Please note that there is a very different answer between the high school and college rule books. 

Ruling: For high schools, NFHS Rule 9.2.4 requires that the tie shall be resolved by comparing the finishes of the sixth place runner for each team. The team with better sixth place finisher shall prevail. If one team only has five finishers, the team that had six finishers wins. If both of the tying teams only have runners, then the tie is broken by totaling the scores of each teams top four runners.

For colleges, NCAA Rule 8.6.3(d) requires ties in team scoring to be broken by comparing in order the place of each of the five finishers on both teams. The team that wins the majority of these comparisons shall be awarded the higher place.

Sept 8
Situation: In a Cross-country race in which computerized chips are being used to determine times, Runner A dives across the finish line to barely edge out Runner B. The finish judges pick runner A as the winner as her/his torso was first across the line. Runner B, however, had the fastest time. What should the official result be?  
Ruling: Runner A is second. NFHS Rule 9.3.3 covers this situation explicitly. "When transponders/chips are used, the official order of finish is that recorded by the Transponder/chips."

Under NCAA Rules, the Games Committee would determine what the official method of scoring will be. However, NCAA Rule 5.3.1 states that "the runners shall be placed in the order in which any part of their torso reached the perpendicular plane of the edge of the finish line". So, if a fully automatic timing system were in place in addition to the chip timing, the FAT system would have precedence. Again the Games Committee will have established and published the official method in advance of the competition.