Archive 2013-2014

Monday June 2

Situation: In the 4 x 400 Relay, A1 drops the baton just before crossing the finish line. After crossing the line A1 goes back to pick up the baton. When is A1 considered to have finished the race?

Ruling: A1 is considered to have finished the race when some portion of A1's torso breaks the finish line while in possession of the baton. NFHS 5.10.6, NCAA 5.9(g)

Monday May 26

Situation: Field Event Competitor A has qualified for the Finals in Long Jump. After the Event Judge has organized the order of jumping so it is in reverse order of best jumps in the preliminaries, A is to jump fourth in the finals. A has a conflict with a running event during the Finals and requests that the Event Judge allow her/him to jump out of order in the finals to accommodate the absence. What should the Event Judge do?

Ruling: To the degree possible, the Event Judge should accommodate the request for a high school athlete. NFHS 6.2.5. For collegiate athletes however, the request should be denied. "If a competitor is not present for a trial in the finals, it shall be deemed that the competitor is passing". NCAA 6.1.6(a)

Monday May 19

Situation: A1, A2, A3 and A4 have all elected to pass the first three consecutive heights in the pole vault. A1 elects to enter the competition at the the fourth height, A2 and A3 choose to begin at the fifth height and A4 opts to pass the fifth height and begin at the sixth height. How much warm-up time, if any, are these competitors allowed prior to their first attempts in the competition?

Ruling: Under NFHS 7.5.16, after 3 bar raises, A1 gets 2 minutes. As A2 and A3 are entering at the same height, a total of 4 minutes (2 per entering athlete) is allowed for them to take warm-up attempts or approaches (without the bar). A4 has the same 2 minutes as A1.

Under NCAA 6.1.9, warm-ups (without the bar) are permitted only if at least one hour has elapsed since the first attempt of the competition; the number of bar raises is NOT the determining factor, so it could be either. Pole vault competitors are allowed up to 2 minutes for such warm-up.

In both instances, the warm-ups must occur at a height change.

Monday May 12

It's nearing the end of the season and the big meets await. These meets often depend on the outcome of the relay events. So, two relay situations:

1) A3 receives the baton from incoming A2 in the 4 x 400 meter and crosses into the inside lane before leaving the exchange zone. There is no interference with any other runner. Ruling?

2) Following the conclusion of the 4 x 100 meter relay, A4 of the winning team throws the baton into the air as he/she is congratulated by teammates. No immediate action is taken by the Referee or any other meet official until a protest is lodged. What should the ruling be?

Rulings: In 1, the exchange is legal. NFHS 5.10.11 NCAA 5.8.6

In 2, if the Referee acknowledges that the baton was thrown in to the air, team A shall be disqualified. NFHS 5.11.2 For NCAA, it would depend upon the Referee's judgment as to whether an act of misconduct ( NCAA 4.1) had occurred. Acts of unsportsmanship are governed by NCAA 3.4.2.

Monday May 5

Situation: Coming off the curve, runner A1, who is leading a race not run in lanes, veers to the right, forcing B1, who is moving up to A1, to run wider. A1 continues to veer to the right as B1 attempts to pass, forcing B1 to run wider and wider. There is no contact involved. Ruling?

Ruling: A1 is disqualified for impeding B1 by forcing her/him to run wider. (NFHS5.13.2); (NCAA 5.5.3(b)) What's of special emphasis here is that it is not necessary for there to be any contact for a DQ to result. Simply the act of forcing a competing runner to change her/his course is sufficient.

Monday April 28

Situation: In the intermediate hurdles, A1, who is running in Lane 4, makes contact with the top of hurdle in Lane 3 with his trail leg. The umpire observes a) A1 knocking the hurdle in Lane 3 to the ground, b) displacing the hurdle in Lane 3 a couple of inches, but not interfering or impeding the runner in Lane 3, or c) A1 displacing the hurdle in Lane 3 causing the runner (B1) to change his steps as he approached the hurdle. What should result in each of these instances?

Ruling: In a) and c), disqualification should result. NFHS 5.14.2(d),(f) NCAA 5.5.2(a),(c)

In (b), as no other runner was impeded, and the contact was incidental, the Referee may not have grounds for disqualification. "The fact that A1 makes contact with a hurdle not in his lane does not require an automatic disqualification. If A1 does not interfere or impede B1 and meets all the other requirements of a legal hurdling technique, it is not an infraction." NFHS Case Book p. 62

As the rules are similar, the referee could (not would) make the same ruling under NCAA rules.

Monday April 21

Situation: The javelin lands (a) with the furthermost point (front tip) 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. What should the ruling be in each instance?

Ruling: For NFHS Rules: In (a) measure from the spot where the furthermost point first touched the ground; in (b) measure from point where the rearmost point first touched the ground; and in (c) measure from the point of the cord grip nearest the scratch (foul) line. NFHS 6.6.12

For NCAA Rules: Only the throw in (a) is a legal throw. The throws in (b) and (c) are not legal. NCAA 6.10.1 requires that the metal head of the javelin must make first contact with the ground for the throw to be a legal throw.

Monday April 14

Situation A: Prior to the warm-up for the field events in a dual meet, the coach for Team B asks the Referee for a ruling regarding the legality of the discus cage. The cage in question is a permanent installation built prior to the discus cage requirement and is constructed of metal pipe and chain link fencing. The coach of Team B questions (a) the size of the opening (26') or (b) the use of chain link fencing rather than nylon netting.

Situation B: Instead of a typical discus cage, a school elects to use a straight line backstop.

Ruling: Legal in (a) and (b) NFHS 6.4.6 The intent of the rule is not to rule any previously constructed discus cages illegal. Chain link fencing is not an illegal material. Note to Rule Book Appendix B and Casebook.

NCAA 1.9.2(b) applies to new facilities constructed after 2006.

Situation B: This is NOT legal. NFHS 6.4.6 requires a rear to the cage as well as sides that extend forward at least to the front of the ring. NCAA 1.9.2(a) and (b)

Monday April 7

Situation: A1 runs up to the high jump bar, but decides at the last minute 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 ruling be in either instance?

A1 clears the high jump bar, but chooses to exit the landing pit from the front (without dislodging the bar). A1's coach protests the ruling that this is a legal jump. What should the ruling be?

Ruling: Question 1: (a) Unsuccessful trial, (b) not an attempt unless time expires. NFHS 7.4.14, NCAA 6.5.3(b).

Question 2: This is a successful attempt — same citations. There is no requirement regarding leaving the high jump mat.

Under NCAA rules, the jump counts even if the competitor accidentally dislodges the bar while exiting the pit after a successful jump (NCAA 6.5.4(b). It would be a failed attempt in NFHS rules.

It IS an invalid jump IF the jumper takes off with both feet (as opposed to one), but nothing about leaving the ground during an aborted attempt would be an unsuccessful trial.

Monday March 31

Situation: Team A has been disqualified from the 4 x 100 meter relay for failing to complete the exchange within the limits of the first exchange zone. During the race, (a) one of the umpires assigned to that zone signals with a yellow flag and another signals with a white flag; or (b) no signal was observed from either umpire, but the infraction was reported to the head umpire. The Coach of Team A protests the disqualification in both instances. What should the ruling be in both circumstances?

Ruling: The protest is denied in both instances. NFHS 3.11.4 requires that infractions be indicated by raising a yellow flag, and the absence of an infraction by raising a white flag. However, the absence of a flag is an "administrative procedure" and the failure to raise a flag does not erase an observed violation that has been reported to the head umpire and the referee. Further, it is common that umpires assigned to different edges of the same relay zone may not see a violation. Any decision regarding disqualification rests with the Referee. NFHS 3.4.6, NFHS Case Book.

NCAA 3.5.2 specifies the duties of the Umpires similarly to the NFHS Rule Book. Again, per NCAA 3.4.2(d), the rule empowers the Referee as the sole authority regarding disqualification, so the lack of a flag would seem not to be sufficient to overturn an observed and reported infraction.

We emphasize the requirement that umpires should always raise a flag of one color or the other.

Monday March 24

Situation: Prior to his/her 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 does not drop below this position during the putting action. The shot lands within the sector lines, the event judge says "mark" and A1 exits through the back half of the cirlcle. What should the ruling be?

Ruling: Legal put. NFHS 6.5.9. A1 had assumed a stationary position before initiating the. The shifting of the put from hand to hand is allowed. NCAA 6.8.1 Thrower must start from stationary position.

Monday March 17

Situation: In the pole vault, only one competitor remains. The bar is set at the new height and the competitor is called for his/her next attempt. The competitor has five (5) minutes in which to initiate and complete the attempt. The athlete wants to go over to the coaches’ box and view the video of his/her last attempt, but is not permitted to do so as the coach shall not use an electronic device for communication with the athlete during a trial.

Ruling: Correct procedure. Comment: Once the competitor has been called for his/her trial, the access to electronic devices is prohibited. NFHS 6-4-9a, 4-6-5g, 3-2-8a, 7-2-11, 7-1-1.

NCAA 4.3.6(a)1. Note: the NCAA rule is more restrictive than the NFHS rule, allowing the viewing of video, but not once the competitor's name has been called.

Monday March 10

A trio of uniform rule situations . . .

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.

Ruling: Correct procedure. Comment: 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 Rule 3-4-6, has the authority to restrict this garment due to risk minimization. (3-4-6, 4-3-1, 9-6-1)

Situation: The 4x100 relay team from school A reports to the clerk of the course. Each member is wearing a solid white, long-sleeved garment with the hole in the sleeve for the thumb to slip through under the uniform top. The clerk looks at the portion of the sleeve covering the palm of the hand to be certain it is not made or altered to provide a grip on the baton, which it does not. No further action is taken and the relay team members are in compliance with the rules.

Ruling: Correct procedure. Comment: Gloves are not permitted to be worn in relays. This item is not a glove, but due to partially covering the palm, the clerk may inspect the garment. (5-10-5)

Situation: All members of team A report to the starting line wearing arm sleeves/warmers displaying a leopard design. This has no relation to the school mascot. The meet referee instructs the coach and athletes that their items are considered visible undergarments and, therefore, must be a single, solid color or must be removed if the individual competitors are to participate in the race.

Ruling: Incorrect procedure. Comment: The visible garment requirements apply to shirts worn under the official uniform top. The arm sleeves are not considered a visible garment, as a shirt. These items may consist of more than one color. [4-3-1b(8), 9-6-1b(7)]

NCAA rules 4.3.1, 4.3.2 and 4.3.3 cover the relevant topics. It should be noted that the NCAA rule and the NFHS rule do NOT agree on the "visible undergarment" requirement of being of a solid color. This is specific to Situation C.

Monday March3

Situation: In a throwing event or horizontal jump, at the conclusion of the Preliminary Round, A1 and B1 are tied for the final position to advance to the Finals. The Event Judge advances B1 to the Finals on the basis of the 2d best throw or jump. Was this the proper procedure?

Ruling: No. The tie breaking procedure does NOT apply for advancing competitors to the Finals. NFHS 6.2.3, 7.2.3; NCAA 6.2.3. Those who are tied at the last qualifying spot will be advanced in to the final.

Situation: In the 4 x 100 Meter Relay, in which acceleration zones are being used: (a) A1 hands the baton to A2 in the acceleration zone before either enters the exchange zone, or (b) A1 and A2 are simultaneously holding the baton as they move from the acceleration zone into the exchange zone, where A2 takes sole possession of the baton. What should be the ruling in each instance?

Monday Feb 17

Situation: On the last leg of the Relay, A4 is running in the inside lane. As A4 comes out of the curve and enters the straightaway, he turns his head, loses his balance and stumbles across the inside lane boundary. A4 is observed taking 4 or 5 steps before regaining his balance and returning to Lane 1, but he has not passed anyone. No interference with other competitors is observed. The head umpire determines that the A4 lost his balance on the straight. What should the ruling be?

Ruling: As the incident happened on the straightaway, no advantage was gained, and as there was no interference, no disqualification is warranted. (NFHS 5.12.1, NCAA 5.5.3(e, note))

Monday Feb 10

Situation: Athlete A1, a competitor in the high jump, visits his coach in a designated coaching area while the bar is being raised to a new height. The coach shows A1 some video of his latest attempt. The event judge happens to see this activity and reports it to the Referee who disqualifies A1 from the competition. A1's coach appeals this ruling. What should the result be?

Ruling: The disqualification is overruled in high school, NFHS rule 4.6.5 allows such activity as long as it occurs in an unrestricted area or designated coaches' box and it does not interfere with the progress of the event. This is new this year. Also, NFHS 3.2.8. In college, the disqualification stands. NCAA 4.3.6(a)1.

Monday Feb 3

Situation: At the start of a distance race, just after the gun has been fired and the runners proceed to move to the inside from the curved start line, A1 falls to the track. In situation a), the fall is caused by inadvertent bumping or interference from another competitor; in situation b) there is no evidence that the fall was caused by another competitor. What should the ruling be in either case?

Ruling: In a) the race should be recalled. NFHS 5.7.6, NCAA 5.1.6. In b) the race should not be recalled. Same citations. The key element is the requirement of contact with another runner. NO contact; no recall.

Monday Jan 27

Situation: As A1 goes over the pole vault cross bar, he/she touches the bar causing it to bounce up. While coming down, A1 has the awareness and athletic skill to steady the bar with a hand, keeping it in place on the setting. What should the head event official rule?

Ruling: Failed attempt. NFHS 7.5.29(g); NCAA 6.6.2(b)

Staying with the pole vault: Because of inclement weather, A1 requests permission to wear gloves in the pole vault for a better, safer grip. What should be the response of the event official?

Ruling: For High School, No. NFHS 7.5.21 For College, Yes. NCAA 6.6.4

Monday Jan 20

Situation: During the Finals of the 110 Meter Hurdles, A1 hits a hurdle and also displaces a hurdle in an adjacent lane. B1 in the next lane is unable to clear the displaced hurdle. B1's coach protests. What should the resulting ruling be?

Ruling: The referee declares a rerun which includes all but A1 who has been disqualified. NFHS 5.9.3, 5.14.2(f)

The answer for the NCAA is a bit less clear. If A1 has not violated the provisions of NCAA 5.6., A1 could be included in the rerun.

Monday Jan 13

For this week: Let's look at being excused from a field event.

Situation A: In the Finals of the Long Jump, A1, who has the second best jump entering the Finals, requests and is excused to run in the 4 X 200 Relay. A1 takes the option provided by the Event Official to take his second jump in the Finals out of order. Through no fault of his own, A1 has not returned to the venue as the final attempts in the competition are being made. B1, who is leading the competition, refuses to take his last jump until A1 has taken his. What should the ruling be?

Situation B: During the high jump competition, A1 has not yet started to jump when she is excused to compete in a running event. When she leaves, the bar is at 5'4". When she returns 15 minutes later, the bar has been raised to 5"6", and the Event Official informs her that she has 2 attempts remaining at that height as she has been charged with a failed attempt for not taking an attempt within the prescribed limit when her name was called. A1's coach protests that ruling by the event judge. What should the ruling be?

Ruling: Situation A: NFHS Rule 7.2.12 allows the event official to permit A1 to jump out of turn in the final for his second attempt, BUT, 7.2.4 entitles B1 to be the last jumper, so, provided that A1 returns in a timely fashion, B1 can wait until A1 has taken his last jump.

The results are different under NCAA Rule 6.1.6(a) which prohibits allowing a competitor from jumping out of order in the Finals, AND requires that the competitor take his attempt within the prescribed time allowed or have the attempt to be recorded as a pass. In our Situation A, after one minute, B1 would be required to make his final attempt and A1 would be adjudged to have passed his final attempt.

Situation B: Protest upheld according to NFHS 7.2.12 would mandate that a pass be recorded. 7.2.8 would allow A1 three attempts at the new height.

The same result would pertain for the colleges. NCAA 6.1.6(b) allows the competitor to have the number of remaining jumps (in this case 3) at whatever height the bar is at upon her return.

Monday Jan 6

Situation: Athlete A1, a vertical (high jump, pole vault) jumper, has been injured prior to this competition, so the coach instructs A1 to clear the opening height and then pass until A1 is the only athlete remaining in the competition. Once all of the other competitors are out, A1 requests that the bar be raised only one inch, not 2 inches (hj) or 3 inches (pv) prescribed by the Games Committee, as A1 is the only competitor remaining at this height. What should the ruling be under NFHS rules and NCAA rules?

Ruling: Request denied. A1 has not yet won the competition and is, therefore, NOT entitled to determine the height of the bar as is allowed under NFHS 7.4.9 (hj), and 7.5.18 (pv), and NCAA 6.5.2 (hj) and 6.6.1 (pv).

Monday Dec 30

Situation 1: In a race run around the track oval Runner A1 appears to interfere with Runner B1 as they come off a turn. The Umpire stationed in that area does not raise a yellow flag or note in any other way that an infraction has occurred. After the announcement of the Official Results, the coach of B1 protests to the Referee that his runner was interfered with and offers videotaped (by the coach of another team) evidence of the infraction.

Situation 2: As runners A1 and B1 race off the turn toward the finish line, A1 moves outside to impede B1. No foul is indicated by any of the officials assigned to that area of the track. The coach of B1 protests to the Referee that A1 should have been disqualified and requests that the Referee view any available video evidence, including a tape made by the coach of an opposing team, to determine whether there was a foul.

What should the ruling be in both cases? Consider both NCAA and NFHS rules.

Ruling: In situation 1: The video is not allowable. NFHS 3.2.7, NCAA 4.3.7(c)

In situation 2: The video taken by the opposing coach would not be usable for the same reasons as above, but official recordings produced in conjunction with officiating the event would be available and usable by the Referee. Same citations apply.

Monday Dec 23

Situation: Team Claus 4 x 200 Meter Relay members are all wearing school issued singlets and shorts that are the same in color and design. However, Donder (a member of the team) is wearing red, ankle length tights under his shorts. Dasher, another team member, is wearing black half tights that do not reach his knees. A third team member, Dancer, is wearing green half tights of the same length as Dasher's. Cupid, the anchor leg, is wearing no visible garment under his shorts. Do Team Claus's uniforms comply with the NFHS and NCAA Rules?

Ruling: NFHS: Yes, 4.3.1 (Note 7). NCAA: No, NCAA 4.3.2(b)

Monday Dec 16

Situation: During a relay, A1 drops the baton a) while outside the exchange zone, b) while passing it to A2 within the exchange zone, or c) while passing it to A2 within the exchange zone where it rolls into an adjacent lane and is retrieved. Who can legally retrieve the baton in each instance?

Ruling: Only A1 in a); either A1 or A2 in b) and c). NFHS 5.10.7 NCAA 5.8.5

Monday Dec 9

Situation: After completing a put that lands between the sector lines, A1 steps or falls out of the back half of the throwing circle a) while the throw is in the air, or b) after the throw has landed. What are the proper rulings in each instance?

Ruling: A foul is called in both instances. (NFHS 6.9.g and 6.9.h, NCAA 6.8.3(f), and 6.8.3(c.3)).

Monday Dec 2

Situation: Runner A2 is running in a race that is being conducted entirely in lanes. A2 runs very close to the lane line to his/her left so her/his feet land on or over that line as follows: in succession, right foot, left foot, right foot, then within the prescribed lane. There is no impediment or obstruction to another competitor involved. Should there be a disqualification? Is the answer the same for NFHS as for NCAA?

Ruling: Under NFHS Rules, disqualification; NFHS 5.12.1(a) requires disqualification with three or more consecutive steps of either or BOTH feet.

Under NCAA Rules, no disqualification. NCAA 5.5.2(b) requires disqualification with TWO consecutive steps of the LEFT foot.

Monday Nov 25

Safety is always a big concern at track meets, especially in those areas involving the throws.

Situation: Event Management has posted an EVENT CLOSED tent-type sign in Shot Put/ Weight Throw area with the intention that no practice will be permitted during the meet without an official present. At the championship, (a) one hour before the start, or (b) after the event has been concluded, A1, A2, and B1 are observed by an official, practicing with their implement. Each admits that the sign was present and that they removed it of their own accord. What should the ruling be?

Ruling: For high schools, in (a) and (b) all 3 are disqualified from further competition at the meet for unsporting conduct. In (b) however, the points that they have already earned are allowed to stand as the unsporting conduct occurred after the completion of their event. NFHS applications use the signs put out by meet management as a "constructive" warning. Thus, to willfully remove and disobey the signs amounts to unsportsmanlike conduct under NFHS Rules.. NFHS 6.2.14

NCAA Rules don't cover the situation specifically. For the NCAA, a similar scenario could arise. NCAA 6.1.18 requires the roping and flagging of all throwing areas and requires that an official should be present at all field events to monitor all warm-ups. So, removal of the warning signs could be treated similarly under NCAA rules, but it would not necessarily be depending upon the circumstances. If disqualification were to arise, it would be for the same unsportsmanlike cause -- failure to follow the instruction of an official.

Monday Nov 18

Situation: In a college high jump competition, the starting height and increments have been established by the Games Committee as follows: I.78m, 1.83, 1.88, 1.91, 1.96... and so on. The coach from Team A protests that the bar should not be raised to 1.96 but only to 1.94 in this sequence if there is more than one competitor remaining in the competition. What should the ruling be?

Ruling: Coach A's protest should be upheld. The increment shall never be increased. NCAA 6.5.2

Monday Nov 11

Situation: There are 12 competitors participating in the vertical jumps, all of whom have cleared the opening height. As the bar moves to the next height, nine of the competitors pass, so that only three jumpers are actually jumping at the next height. How much time should each jumper be allowed before being required to initiate an attempt?

Ruling: 1 minute NFHS 7.2.11, NCAA 6.1.4

Point of Clarification: There has apparently been some confusion caused by the wording in the Rules Books. The critical fact in determining the number of minutes competitors are to be allowed before an attempt at a given height is the total number of athletes remaining in the overall high jump competition, not simply the number who elect to jump at any particular height. Note: The various rules chairs (NCAA, NFHS and USATF) have all concurred on this interpretation.

Monday Nov 4

Situation: At the State Sectional (or Regional NCAA) Meet, Team A (whose school colors are black and gold) has one runner (A4) who is wearing a black top with gold lettering and the remaining team runners wearing gold tops with black lettering. All uniforms are school issued. What action should the Clerk(s) and/or Referee take?

Ruling: Warn A4 and Team A's coach that A4 will be disqualified for uniform violation if the that uniform is worn. NFHS 9.6.1, NCAA 4.3.2(a)

Monday Oct. 28

Situation: In a cross-country race, Team A has 6 runners competing. Runner A5 runs off course, which is noted by the Umpires. A1- A4 finishers were the top four finishers in the race. A6 finished last. What action should the Referee take?

Ruling: The Referee should disqualify A5 and use A6 for team scoring. NFHS 9.7.5, NCAA 8-8(a)

Monday Oct. 21

Ruling: While arm warmers are permitted, the logo on the arm warmers is not legal in NFHS and NCAA events of any sort. Logos may not exceed 2 1/4 square inches. Warmers (and socks) are not part of the official uniform, but the logo rule applies to all visible items, whether part of the uniform or not. (NFHS 4.3.1.(b)(c)). (NCAA 4.3.3)

Situation: What's wrong in this picture? Remember to cite both the NFHS and NCAA rules.

Monday Oct. 14

Situation: In a cross-country race that is using transponders/computerized chips to time the race, Runner A dives across the finish line to barely edge out Runner B. The judges pick Runner A as the winner even though he/she has a slower time because Runner A's torso crossed the line first. What should the proper result be?

Ruling: Runner B is the winner if the Games Committee has chosen the chip/transponder method for official scoring. (NFHS 9.3.3), (NCAA 8.5.7(f))

Monday Oct. 7

Situation: During a championship cross-country meet, an umpire observes A1 wearing a two-color undergarment as A1 climbs a hill on the course. The umpire raises a yellow flag and reports the observation to the Referee. The Referee checks A1 at the conclusion of the race and observes that the undergarment is not visible while A1 is on flat ground. Is A1 in violation of the Uniform Rule? Is the answer the same for colleges as well as high schools?

Ruling: As the garment in question is not visible (either at the top or the bottom) while A1 is stationary, there is no violation of NFHS 9.6.1.(c7).

The same answer would apply for colleges. NCAA 4.3.2.b also applies only to "visible" undergarments, and includes the note that the "effect" of the rule to eliminate the need for any imagination to identify members of the same team.

Monday Sept. 30

Situation: In a multi-team cross-country meet in which each team is permitted to enter a maximum of seven runners, Team A sent eight runners to the starting line. When the starting device sounded, only seven runners started and the eighth (who was injured) remained behind the line. Is such a practice permitted? As usual, consider both the NFHS and NCAA rules.

Ruling: For high schools, Team A is disqualified for entering more than the allowable number. NFHS 4.1.2 stipulates that once a contestant has reported to the starting line, he/she officially becomes a competitor, so Team A entered too many athletes.

Colleges may run up to 12 runners in most meets (NCAA8.6.1.A). Even in meets in which only 7 are allowed to start, it is not uncommon for non-competing team members to join in the team instructions and cheer prior to the start of the race. If, under a particular set of circumstances, the actions of the eighth runner could be construed as a deliberate attempt to mislead opposing teams, Team A could be disqualified under the Misconduct Rule (NCAA 4.1), should the Referee determine that misconduct has occurred.

Monday Sept. 23

Situation: In a cross-country competition that allows both teams and individual competitors (like the State Meet or the NCAA Championships), how are the team scores determined?

Ruling: Whenever competition includes individuals as well as team entries, the places won by those individuals not representing teams are disregarded when computing the team scores. NFHS 9.2.3, NCAA 8.6.3.a

Monday Sept. 16

Situation: This week's question involves the breaking of ties in a cross-country competition. Using the appropriate applicable scoring system, Team A and Team B finish with identical scores in a cross-country meet. How should the tie be broken? Is the ruling for high schools different than that for colleges, and, if so, how do they differ?

Ruling: NFHS rules determine the winning team by comparing the sixth-place finishers. The team with the lower sixth-place finisher wins. If only one team has a sixth-place finisher, that team wins. If neither team has a sixth-place finisher, the tie shall be resolved by adding the first four placers of each team. The team with the lower total is the winner. NFHS 9.2.4 and 9.2.5

NCAA rules use a very different method. NCAA ties are broken by comparing the finishes of the five scoring runners of the tied teams head to head (comparing first runner against first runner, second against second, and so on). The team winning the majority of those comparisons shall be awarded the higher place. NCAA 8-6-3(d)

Monday Sept. 9

At 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 blue bottoms and a blue top. The school colors are maroon and white, and the coach claims that each of the uniforms is school issued. What action, if any, should officials take in this situation? Provide an ruling for both high school and college competitions.

Ruling: In both instances, A6 and A7 should be warned for not wearing an appropriate uniform as they are not the same color or design as runners A1 - A5 (NFHS 9.1), nor do they clearly indicate through color, logo and design that all members are from the same team (NCAA 4.2.a). Failure to change the uniforms would result in disqualification by the Referee.

Monday Sept. 2

Situation: A cross-country course is marked with a white line identifying the race course as well as by flag designations. Due to an error in laying out the course, the white directional line passes on the right side of a yellow flag. A1 runs on the line instead of passing on the left side of the flag. A1 is disqualified for not running the whole course. On appeal, what should be the correct ruling?

Ruling: For high schools, Disqualification is upheld. The rule (NFHS 9.2) clearly states that whenever a discrepancy in course markings may occur, the directional flags take precedence.

For collegiate competitions, the answer is a little less clear cut. The Games (or meet organizing)Committee will prescribe what the Official course boundaries are. Disqualification will result when a competitor gains a meaningful advantage by not completing the prescribed course which is defined by a legal marking system(NCAA 9.8.a). Thus, the answer to this week's question would depend upon whether the flag system was the "official" system and whether a "meaningful advantage" had been gained.