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Archive 2015-2016

May 30
Situation: A1 reports to the Clerk to check in for the one mile run. She/he is not wearing shoes. The Clerk advises A1 that shoes must be worn to compete and warns A1 of possible disqualification if shoes are not worn. A1's coach protests  to the Referee that shoes are not required and that the Clerk is in error. What should the result be? Remember to respond for both NFHS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: This is one of those where the rules are in direct opposition to one another, therefore interesting. Under NFHS Rules the protest will be denied. Shoes MUST be worn. NFHS 4.3.1(a)1. Under NCAA Rules, the protest will be upheld. The absence of shoes is expressly allowed. NCAA 4.3.5.

May 23
Situation: A1 betters B1's triple jump on her/his last attempt, but inadvertently touches the runway with the drag foot during the step. B1's coach protests that A1 fouled on his or her last attempt and that it should not be permitted. 
Ruling: The protest will be denied. The inadvertent touching of the drag foot is not considered to be an aid and is not a foul. NFHS 7.6.10 NCAA 6.7.3
May 16
Situation: The coach of Team A notices that the measurements in the shot put are being recorded to the nearest lesser inch and protests to the Referee that such is the case and requests that measurements be made to the nearest 1/4 inch. What should the ruling be? Would the ruling be different if the event were the discus, javelin or hammer? Are there any differences between the rules for NFHS and NCAA?
Ruling: The shot put should be measured to the nearest lesser 1/4" or centimeter. NFHS 6.5.11 The discus and javelin should be recorded to the nearer lesser inch or even numbered centimeter. NFHS 6.4.11 and 6.4.13. Under NCAA Rules, all throws are measured to the nearest lesser centimeter. NCAA 6.1.14(b). Big difference!

May 9
Situation: Team A's triple jumper starts his/her run down the runway for the competitor's third attempt. As the competitor initiates the hop, a non-competitor from Team B runs across the runway in front of the jumper, forcing her/him to abort the jump. The head event judge informs the Team A competitor that he/she may return to start the attempt again, and the clock for the event will start over. The coach from Team C (which has the leader in the competition) protests the extension of time to the Referee. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: The procedure used by the event judge is authorized by NFHS 3.10.7 and NCAA 3.4.2(b), which ensure fair and safe competition. The accidental intrusion of the athlete from Team B would have deprived A1 of his/her full minute allowed.

May 2
Situation: A one-turn stagger is used to start the 800 meter run. A1, running in Lane 3, breaks for the inside lane two strides before reaching the break line and is disqualified. The coach of Team A protests that that runners are permitted to run two steps inside their assigned lane before being disqualified. What should the ruling be? Reply for both high school and college rules.
Ruling: Protest denied. The rule for breaking before the break line is different from that for running on or over the lane line. Breaking prior to the break point is clearly a violation: NFHS 5.12.1(e) , and 2, NCAA 5.5.2(d) 

April 25
Situation: A1's discus throw hits the side of the throwing cage and deflects to a landing inside the sector. Is the throw fair or foul? Remember to respond for college and high school rules.
Ruling: This is a foul throw in high school, NFHS 6.4.9. It is a fair throw in college, NCAA 6.9.2(note 2).

April 18
Situation: After both tie-breaking procedures have been applied in the high jump, A1 andB1 are tied for first place at 6'3". Having missed all three attempts at 6'4" in regulation, they both clear that height on their first attempt in the tie-breaker. The bar is raised to 6'5", where A1clears it on his first attempt and B1 misses. A1, who would establish a new school record with the 6'5" height, is credited with having won at 6'3". A1's coach protests that he should be given credit for the 6'5". What should the result be?
Ruling: In the vertical jumps, a competitor shall be credited with his/her best achievement, including performances made in a jumpoff for a first-place tie. NFHS 7.3.3 NCAA 7.1.7(note)

April 11
Situation: Coming around the final curve in the 1600 (1500, mile) , A1 who is leading, veers away from the from the curb and into the path of B1. As B1 starts to pass A1 on the inside, A1 changes direction to stay in the path of B1. There is no contact. What should the ruling (if any) be? 
Ruling: If it is evident that the action by A1 is to prevent B1 from passing, A1 would be disqualified. NFHS 5.9.1 It is not necessary for there to contact for interference to have occurred. NCAA 5.5.3(a) or (b) 

April 4
Situation: During the Pole Vault competition, the bar is at 14'0". A1, who has not vaulted at this height, is excused to participate in the 100 meter dash. When A1 returns 15 minutes later, he/she finds that the bar has been raised to 14'6". The head event judge informs her/him that he/she has two remaining attempts/trials because the time limit for initiating a trial has elapsed. This decision is appealed to the meet Referee.
Ruling: The protest should be upheld. Trials not made while a competitor is excused from the vertical jumps should be treated as Passed attempts and the competitor should be allowed 3 attempts at the new height. NFHS 7.2.1, NCAA 6.6(b)

March 28
Situation: It is a typical New England spring day, that is, cold and raw. Prior to the start of the 4 x 100 meter relay, it is noted that Team A is wearing visible undergarments under their school-issued uniform bottoms. A1 and A2 are wearing full-length red tights and A3 and A4 are wearing red compression shorts. Both the tights and compression shorts have no markings or design. The members of Team B show up with B 1, 3 and 4 all wearing gloves. The Referee rules that both teams are in violation of the rules because gloves are not allowed and the undergarments are not of the same length. The coaches of both teams protest that ruling. What should the outcome be referring to both NFHS and NAA rules?
Ruling: For NFHS, Team A is not in violation as all of their undergarments are of the same color. NFHS 4.3.2(b) which does not require that undergarments of the same color be of the same length. Team B must get rid of the gloves as NFHS 5.10.5 prohibits them irrespective of the weather.
    For NCAA, Team A is not in violation as the only requirement is that visible undergarments on the bottom be of identical color. NCAA 4.3.2(b). Wearing of gloves in relays is prohibited by NCAA 5.9(b)

March 21
Situation: When the results of the discus are announced at a high school meet, A1 is given third place and credited with a throw of 150 feet, 6 1/2 inches. B1 is announced as the fourth place finisher with a distance of 150 feet 6 inches. The coach of team B protests that the distances are equal since measurements are to recorded to the nearest lesser inch. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: The protest is upheld and the normal tie breaking procedure should be applied. NSHS 6.4.11 For NCAA, measurements are to be taken to the nearest lesser centimeter. NCAA 6.1.14(b) 

Feb 29 
Situation: A competitor in the discus event enters the circle. It has ben raining and she/he wants to wipe her/his hands before initiating the attempt to throw the discus. The competitor steps out of the circle and wipes her/his hands on a towel and then re-enters the circle for the throw. All of these actions are completed within one minute. 
Ruling: Legal under NFHS rules (NFHS 6.4.9). 


Feb 22
Situation: A1 has the best mark in the prelims of the long jump. After all other finalists take their first attempt in the finals, A1 decides to pass Round 4 because he/she still has the best mark. However, in Round 5, B1 betters her/his jump so that he/she finishes with the second best jump behind B1. A1 asks the event judge for permission to take the jump she/he passed. The head event official permits the jump and A1 wins the competition. The coach of B1 protests. What should the response be?
Ruling: Protest upheld and B1 is awarded first place and A1 second place. A1 was entitled to be the final jumper and was with his/her 6th attempt. NFHS 7.2.12.

Feb 15
Situation: In a race which is run as a two-section final, Team A1 wins the first the first section and team B3 finishes third in the second section with a time which is identical to A1's. How should the event be scored?
Ruling: A1 and B3 tie for 3rd and divide equally the points available for fourth and fifth respectively. NFHS 5.8.4

Feb 8
Situation: A coach has an athlete who is injured. The coach has the competitor clear one height in the high jump and then pass the rest of the heights until all of the other athletes have failed to clear the last height, so he/she is the last competitor left in the competition. The competitor wants to raise the bar only one inch (instead of two, which would have been the case with more than one competitor remaining) and try to win the competition.
Ruling: Request denied. The competitor has not won the competition until he/she clears a height that no one else has made. NFHS 7.5.9, NCAA 6.5.2 allow the last remaining competitor to select the next increment only after having won the competition.

Feb 1
Situation: For the Umpires among us: What determines whether a competitor is far enough in advance to cross the path of another competitor?
Ruling: NFHS 5.13.2 provides that a runner must be ahead by what would be normally considered a running stride. The determining factor is whether the competitor whose path is crossed is forced to adjust stride in order to avoid contact. Umpires are guided by the competitor whose path is crossed. 
    NCAA: Rule 5.4.2(c) allows cutting in front of another runner provided that the overtaking runner has one full stride.

Jan 25
Situation: At an indoor meet in which the 4 x 200 meter relay is contested, the coach from Team A requests that his/her team be able to use the acceleration zone. What should the ruling be? As always, cite both the NCAA and NFHS rules.
Ruling: NFHS 5.10.9 would allow the use of the acceleration zone for races where the incoming runner is running 200 meters or less "in the assigned lane." For this to be permitted, however, the Games Committee would have to have authorized this procedure under the responsibilities assigned to it in NFHS Rule 3.2.
    Similarly to the NFHS rule, NCAA 5.8.4 permits the use of the international zone if the incoming runner is running 200 meters or less and each leg is lane specific. So, if a three-turn stagger is used, use of the international zone would be permitted between legs one and two.

Jan 18
Situation: A1 enters the throwing circle (in either the discus or shot put) from the front. A1 executes his/her throw, waits for the implement to land and exits from the front half of the circle. The event official rules that the throw is a foul. A1's coach protests on the basis that the throw was fair once it had landed. What should the ruling be? As usual, answer for both NFHS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: NFHS 6.4.9(g) (discus) and 6.5.9(h) (shot) require that the athlete both wait until the implement has landed AND leave from the back half of the circle for it to be a fair throw. NCAA 6.8.2(g) (shot) and 6.9.2(e) discus have the same requirements.

Jan 11
Situation(s): During a relay, A1 drops the baton: (a) while outside the exchange zone, (b) while within the exchange zone, or (c) within the exchange zone where it rolls into an adjacent lane where it is retrieved by A1. What are the permissible actions?
Ruling: In (a), it is permissible for A1 to pick up the baton provided that there is no interference with another competitor. In (b) and (c), either A1 or A2 may retrieve the baton provided that there is no interference and that A2 has returned to the assigned lane before passing the limit of the exchange zone. NFHS 5.10.7.NCAA 5.8.5 defines relay passes as commencing when the baton is first touched by the outgoing runner and completed when the baton is solely in the possession of that outgoing runner. Then, if in a genuine attempt to pass the baton, it is dropped, either runner may retrieve it. A baton dropped outside the exchange zone must be recovered by the runner who dropped it. The runner recovering the baton MAY leave the assigned lane or track provided no other runner is impeded AND the distance covered is not lessened. 

Jan 4
Situation: As A1 goes over the pole vault cross bar, he/she touches the bar causing it to bounce. While coming down, A1 has the awareness and athletic skill to steady the bar with a hand, keeping it on the original pin setting. The event judge rules this a failed attempt. A1's coach protests. What should the ruling be? As always, respond for both high school and college.
Ruling: It is ruled a failed attempt if the competitor steadies the crossbar with arms or hands. NFHS 7.5.27(g), NCAA 6.6.2(b)

Dec 21
Situation: A1 appears in the Shot/Discus circle with tape on his/her throwing hand. The tape is for the purpose of a) to give support to sprained finger, or b) to cover an open wound. What ruling should the event official make? As always, respond for both HS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: Legal in b), illegal in a). NFHS 6.4.7 and 6.5.7. NCAA 6.1.8(a) prohibits the taping of two or more fingers together so that they may not move individually. So, it is possible that a college thrower could have a different result, but highly unlikely.

Dec 14
Situation: In a conference meet on an eight-lane track, meet management announces there will be three semi-final heats with the first two finishers in each heat, plus the two fastest thirds, advancing to the finals. Following the semifinals, it is determined that the two fastest thirds were in heats one and two. The coach of Team A protests that her runner, the fourth-place finisher in heat one, had a faster time than the third-place finisher in heat 2, and, therefore, should be advanced to the finals. How should the protest be resolved? As always, respond for NCAA and NFHS rules.
Ruling: Protest denied. NFHS 5.5.2 gives the authority to determine advancement to the Games Committee. 5.5.4 mandates weighing place ahead of time. NCAA 3.2(j), and 5.11.1, similarly give this responsibility to the Games Committee. Further, 5.11.29(c) mandates weighing place first, then time. 

Dec 7
Situation: In a race being started in but not finishing in lanes, Runner A1 is disqualified for breaking to the inside before crossing the break line in her/his lane. The coach of Team A files a protest citing the fact that the cones at the break line were placed in front of the line, not on it. What should the ruling be? As always, respond for both college and high school rules. 
Ruling: Under NCAA rules, the protest would be denied. NCAA 1.1.10 stipulates that "small cones shall be placed on the lane lines immediately BEFORE the intersection of the lane line and the break line." There is no such rule in the NFHS book, which provides a variety of methods for designating the break line. NFHS 5.13.2 requires the athlete to run all the way to break line before crossing to the inside or be disqualified.

Nov 30
Situation: After a successful clearance in the high jump, A1 catches her foot on the landing pad while exiting the pit. This causes her to stumble into the upright, which dislodges the bar. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: NCAA 6.5.4(b) and NFHS 7.3.18 both allow this occurrence to be a successful attempt, provided a successful clearance and accidental dislodging.

Nov 23
Situation: In a track meet in which non-vertical jump field event competitors are being given three preliminary attempts/efforts and then three more in the finals, there is a three-way tie for the last qualifying spot in the finals. How should the tie be broken?
RulingAll competitors qualifying for the last position shall be finalists. No ties are broken in this instance. NFHS  6.2.3, NFHS 7.2.11, NCAA 6.2.5

Nov 16
Situation: At a championship cross-country race, competitors from Team A are attired in the following fashion: All team members are wearing school issued singlets and shorts that are identical. A1, A3 and A4 are wearing white T-shirts of varying lengths under their singlets. A1 and A3 are also wearing half tights (above the knee in length) under their shorts/briefs. A1 is wearing blue; A3 is wearing green. A4 and A6 are wearing identical black full length tights under their shorts/briefs. What action, if any, should the Clerks/Referee take? As always answer for both the NFHS and NCAA rules.
Ruling: Under NCAA rules, A1 and A3 should be advised to change to black half or full length tights or face disqualification. NCAA 4.3.2(b) and accompanying note. Under NFHS Rule 9.6.1 there is no violation. Tights that do not extend below the knee do not have to match.

Nov 9
Situation: In a cross-country team competition, Team A starts the race with only 5 runners. A2 sprains her ankle during the race and does not finish. How should Team A be reflected in the Final Results and how should the other A team runners be reflected in those results?
Ruling: NFHS 9.2.2 requires that all places be recorded and tallied. 9.2.3 requires that the places of the other runners on Team A shall be disregarded and that there would be no team score for Team A.
NCAA 8.6.2 requires that all runners who finish a race shall be given an over-all finish place. NCAA 8.6.3(e) requires hat tams which start with 5 or more runners, but have fewer than 5 at the finish shall be listed alphabetically at the end of the team results as DNF. 

Nov 2
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. The NCAA citation is 8.5.6(f). This requires the photo review of places separated by less than 1/10th of a second.

Oct 26
Situation: In a cross-country race, A1, A2, A3, A4, and A5 are wearing maroon bottoms with a white top and a maroon sash, while A6 is wearing white bottoms and a maroon T-shirt and A7 is wearing a blue top and blue bottoms. When questioned, the coach of Team A says that the uniforms were issued by the school. What action, if any, should be taken by the appropriate officials? Respond for both NFHS and NCAA Rules.
Ruling: A warning should be issued to A6 and A7 for improper uniforms and disqualification should result if they do not conform. NFHS 9.6.1 NFHS 9.6.3. NCAA 4.3.2

Oct 19
Situation: At the conclusion of the Conference Cross-country Championship race, teams A and B are tied for third place with 68 points. How should the tie be broken? Be sure to answer 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."