Monday June 4
Situation: In the 100 meter dash, A1 places both feet in the starting blocks in such a manner that neither foot is touching the track. The coach of B1 points this out to the starter and requests that A1 be charged with a false start. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: No false start is charged. It is not required that either foot be in touch with ground on the starting blocks. (NFHS 5.7.4), (NCAA 5.1.3)
Monday May 27
Situation: At the beginning of the Triple Jump competition, A1 selects the takeoff board farthest from the pit as that from which he wishes to take-off. As the competition progresses, A1 decides that he would like to jump from the board nearest the pit and requests permission to do so from the official. Is changing one's designated take-off board allowable once the competition has started?
Ruling: For high schoolers, yes (NFHS 7-6-7) but ONLY with permission from the event judge.
For college competitors, no. Once you've selected your board, you must stay with it. (NCAA 6.7.2). It is also worth noting that only two boards per gender are allowed in college Triple Jump competition. (NCAA 6.7.2).
Monday May 20
Situation: A1 runs up to the high jump bar but decides at the last moment to abort the attempt. In trying to stop, A1's hand or arm passes beyond the plane of the crossbar and a) touches the landing pit, or b) does not touch anything beyond the plane. What should the result be in each instance?
Ruling: An unsuccessful trial in a) and no trial in b). NFHS 7.4.14, NCAA 6-5-3.
Monday May 13
Situation: In the 4 x 100 meter Relay: Outgoing runner A2 assumes a position that a) straddles the beginning of the acceleration zone, or b) has one foot in the acceleration zone and one foot in the exchange zone. Further, situation c) where A2 takes an initial position outside the limits of the acceleration zone, but moves into the acceleration zone as A1 approaches and takes a stationary position prior to beginning his/her acceleration, is there a different result than situation (a)? What is the appropriate ruling in each instance?
Ruling: Answer for both NFHS and NCAA Rules: Disqualified in a) , legal in b) and c). NFHS 5-10-9 NCAA 5-8-4
Note: It is imperative that A2 be inside the zone AND in a stationary position prior to beginning acceleration. The best advice/instruction is to be certain to line up entirely in the zone.
Monday May 6
Situation: In announcing the results of the Javelin throw at a high school meet, A1 is credited with 3rd place with a throw of 160 ft 2 1/2 inches. B1 is credited with 4th place and a throw of 160 ft 2 inches. B1's coach protests that the distances are equal because distances are to be measured to the nearest lesser inch. What should the resolution be?
Ruling: B1's coach is right. A1 and B1 are tied at 160' 2" and the appropriate tie-breaking procedure should be employed. (NFHS 6.4.11) NCAA Rule 6-1-14(b) requires the recording of all Field performances to the nearest lesser centimeter.
Monday April 29
Situation: A curved starting line is used for a distance race. On the first turn of the race, A1 falls to the track as the competitors move towards the inside lane. Under NFHS rules, under what circumstances should the Starter recall the race, if any? a) Recall the race no matter what caused the fall? b) Only recall the race if there was apparent interference by another competitor? c) Recall the race if the fall is the result of any contact, inadvertent or otherwise, with another competitor?
Ruling: C) The Starter should recall the race if the fall is result of contact with another competitor. (NFHS 5-8-6)
Is the answer to the above question the same under NCAA rules? Answer: Yes. (NCAA 5-1-6)
NOTE: It is important to note that if A1 falls without any contact, the race should NOT be recalled.
Monday April 22
Situation: In a high school competition, A1, who is second in the long jump after the preliminaries, is excused by the head event judge to compete in another event. As the final progresses in reverse order of standing, B1, who is leading the competition, is called for her/his turn. B1 objects (politely), stating it is his/her right to jump last. What should the Field Event Judge rule: a) If the objection occurs during the first round of final jumps? and b) If the objection occurs during the final round of jumps?
Ruling: Let's highlight the difference between the high school rule and the NCAA rule. The high school rule allows making up missed attempts in the final. The NCAA rule does not. It is a significant difference.
a) Depending upon time constraints imposed by the Games Committee, the Judge should order A1 to take her/his first or second trials before being excused, if possible. (NFHS 7-2-4)
b) B1 is entitled to be the final jumper, so, provided that A1 returns in a timely fashion, the Judge should wait for A1 to jump before making B1 take his/her final jump. (NFHS 7-2-4)
Note: If there are no extenuating circumstances, and A1 does not return in a timely fashion, the head Judge can declare that A1 has forfeited his/her final attempt. (NFHS 3-10)
Is the result different for college competition? Yes, while the event Judge may excuse or rearrange the order for preliminary attempts, should a competitor miss a turn in the finals, the Judge shall refuse permission for that competitor to take that turn. (NCAA 6-6-a)
Monday April 15
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. Is this allowable? Does it make a difference if all of the members of the team wish to wear gloves?
Ruling: Gloves are not allowed in relays (NFHS 5-10-5) (NCAA 5-9-2).
Monday April 8
Situation: In the 100-meter dash semifinals, the top three finishers from each semi are to qualify for the final. The winner of heat one withdraws due to injury. The coach of the fourth-place finisher in that heat requests that her/his athlete be advanced to fill the open lane. What is the ruling?
Ruling: No advancement is allowed. NFHS 4-5-5. NCAA Rule 5-10-2.
Monday April 1
Situation: In a vertical jumping situation: Due to an existing injury to A1, A1's coach instructs the athlete to compete at the opening height and then pass all subsequent attempts until he/she is the only one remaining. Assuming that A1 is successful at the opening height, she/he passes all subsequent heights as instructed until A1 is the only remaining competitor. Although the bar increments have been 2 or more inches up to that point, A1 then requests that the bar be raised only one inch as he/she is the only one remaining. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: Request denied. The privilege of requesting the next competitive height belongs only to the winner of the event. A1 has not yet won the competition. The bar in this instance must be raised to the next increment in the sequence determined by the Games Committee. A legal clearance at that height would make A1 the winner. NFHS 7-2-7, NCAA 6-5-2.
Monday March 25
As we move to Outdoor Track and Field, some different events, with unique officiating challenges, appear:
Situation: The javelin lands a) with the furthermost forward point landing first before sliding along the ground on the shaft; b) almost flat, but with the rear portion landing slightly before the javelin slides along ground; or c) perfectly flat. From which point do you measure in each instance?
Is the answer the same for colleges as for high schools?
Ruling: For high schools: a) From the point where the furthermost tip first landed; b) from the point where the rearmost point of the javelin first landed; c) from the point at the end of the cord grip nearest the scratch line first landed. NFHS 6-6-12.
For colleges: Legal in a); Not Legal in b) or c). NCAA 6- 10-1.
Monday March 18
Situation: Spring track season is often a time for relay competitions, so this week's situation involves relays. A4 is the anchor leg of the 4 x 400 meter relay team for her/his high school. As A4 approaches the finish, he/she falls in such a manner that the torso crosses the finish line, but the hand holding the baton does not. Has Team A finished?
Ruling: Yes. A4 has finished when the torso crosses the finish line (NFHS 5-8-1) as is the case in individual races. Team A has finished as long as A4 has possession of the baton at the finish line.
Monday March 11
Situation: The Discus results are announced as A1 placing third with a throw of 150' 6-1/2" and B1 as having finished fourth with a throw of 150' 6". Is this the right result?
Ruling: No. Discus results are to be recorded to the nearest lower inch (NFHS 6-4-11), so, in this situation there is a tie at 150' 6'' and the tie should be broken using normal tie-breaking procedures (NFHS 6-3-2).
Monday March 4
Situation: The 800 Meter event is to be run in 3 sections, all of which have more competitors than there are lanes available on the track, so the event is to be run in alleys. The first 2 sections are conducted this way. However, prior to the start of the third section, 2 competitors scratch from the event, making it possible for each competitor to start in her/his own lane. What should the clerk/starter do?
Ruling: Alleys must be used in Section 3. (NFHS 5-5-7: All sections for an event shall use the same starting procedure.)
Monday Feb 25
Situation: At the conclusion of a running event not run entirely in lanes, the coach for Team B files a protest stating that a runner from Team B was fouled and impeded by a runner from Team A during the running of the race. Though there were Umpires in place around the track, no violations were reported and the Referee did not personally witness the alleged violation. The Coach from Team B has in his possession a video of the race that clearly shows that there was a foul committed. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: The final results remain as initially reported. Video replay, other than Official Finish Line equipment, shall not be used to make decisions related to the meet. (NFHS 3-2-7).
Monday Feb 18
Situation: A1 checks in with the clerk wearing a uniform top that exposes the midriff. The clerk informs A1 that the uniform top is illegal and she will be disqualified if she competes in this uniform. A1 borrows a legal uniform from a teammate and is permitted to run. The coach from Team B protests, claiming that A1 should have been disqualified when she reported to the clerk. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: A1 is permitted to run. A running event officially begins when the competitors report to the starting line, not when they report to the clerk (NFHS 4-7-1).
Monday Feb 11
Situation: In a Relay race, outgoing runner A2 has one foot clearly outside of the end of the 20-meter Exchange Zone. Incoming runner A1 hands the baton to A2 while A2's back foot and receiving hand are within the plane of the Zone. What should the ruling be?
Ruling: The pass is legal (NFHS 5-10-7). There has been some confusion caused by this rule's recent revision, but a recent clarification of this wording states, "That the baton must be in the possession of the outgoing runner, before the BATON leaves the zone." This most recent wording can be found in the Track and Field Pre-Meet notes.
Monday Feb 4
Situation: Athlete A1 steps or falls out of the back half of throwing circle after throwing the shot or discus. The implement (shot or discus) lands within the sector. Part A) A1 steps out while the implement is in flight, and B) after the implement has landed. What should the ruling be in either case?
Ruling: Foul in both cases. Athlete must wait until the implement has landed AND the Judge has called "Mark". NFHS Rule 6-9-h.
Monday Jan 28
Situation: True or false: After the the qualifying rounds, a tie for advancement to a running event final should be broken by having the tied competitors compete in a run-off for the available lane or position in the final.
Ruling: True, if there are not enough lanes on the track to advance those who are tied and no other means (going to the thousandth on computer time) of breaking the tie are available. (NFHS 4-6-4)
Monday Jan 21
Situation: True or false: After the Qualifying Rounds, a tie for the final spot for advancement to a Field Event Final should be broken by using the tied competitors' second-best performances.
Ruling: False (NFHS 4-5-4)
Monday Jan 14
Situation: During the first leg of the 4 x 800 Relay, A2, who has taken a position in the relay zone, decides to switch places with A3. A3 runs the second leg, A2 the third and A4 the fourth. Is this allowable?
Is the ruling any different if the coach of Team A approaches the edge of the track and calls out for A2 to switch places with A3?
Ruling: First situation is allowable. The second is not, because, while it is allowable to change the order of running at any time during a relay, the coach, from the edge of the track, which is a restricted area, has committed an unfair act for coaching a competitior after the race had been started. (NFHS 4-6-7).
Monday Jan 7
Situation: Prior to the start of a relay, it is noted that Team A is wearing visible undergarments under their school-issued uniform bottoms. Team members A1 and A2 are wearing red leotards, A3 is wearing red bicycle shorts, and A4 is not wearing any visible undergarment. There are no markings or designs on either the leotards or the bicycle shorts. Is team A wearing legal uniforms?
Ruling: Yes. (NFHS Rule 4.3.2.b)
Monday Dec 31
Situation: In a high school competition, a runner running a turn steps on the lane line to the left in the following sequence of consecutive steps: right foot, left foot, right foot. The next step is properly within the lane. What, if anything, should be called by the Umpire? Is the result different if the meet is a college meet? If so, why?
Ruling: For high, the runner would be disqualified. (NFHS Rule 5-12.1.a)
For college, the runner would not be disqualified. (NCAA Rule 5-5.2.b)
Monday Dec 24
Situation: How much time is allowed by the rule book for a contestant to initiate an attempt in the High Jump after her/his name has been called by the official? Are there exceptions? If so, under what circumstances may a competitor be granted more time?
Ruling: One minute to completion of a trial. Exceptions: 1) With three or fewer competitors remaining at the start of a bar height, the time increases to three minutes. 2) With a single competitor, who has won the event, remains, the time increases to five minutes.
Rule: NFHS 7.2.10
Monday Dec 17
Situation: In the High Jump, competitor AB has made a first attempt at 5'4" and failed. AB is then excused by the event official to compete in another event. When AB returns in a timely fashion, the bar has been raised to 5'6". At what height should AB be allowed to resume competition? If your answer to that is 5'6'', how many attempts at that height should AB be given?
Rule: NFHS 7.4.11