At its annual spring board meeting last week, the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Board of Directors approved several new rules changes for the athletic programs in the state.
The rules changes include anything from new mercy rule regulations to athletes abiding by local attendance policies instead of the state mandated attendance policies.
“The board has a number of very difficult issues to address. We had a very lengthy agenda and, in the end, the board was thoughtful and made decisions that if felt was in the best interests of all member schools,” said NCHSSA Commissioner Davis Whitfield in a press release.
The three most notable changes for North Carolina include eliminating the pod system for seeding 1A playoff teams. The other three divisions (2A, 3A and 4A) eliminated that system already, but the system remained for 1A teams until now. Also, there will now be a mercy rule for football and basketball games that get out of hand.
Once the point differential in a football game reaches 42 points by halftime or any time after, the game will have a constant running clock, or the game can be ended upon mutual agreement by the coaches. The only times the clock will stop will be after scores or if teams call a timeout.
The rule is similar in basketball as well. Once a team leads by as much as 40 points by halftime or any time after, the game will have a running clock except for timeouts called by coaches. Coaches cannot end basketball games early.
Another key rules change will the elimination of tie soccer games during the conference season. Conference games will now include a shootout in regular season matches if the game is still tied after the two 10-minute overtime periods.
Other rules and regulations that passed included:
• Approved a 23-match regular season limitation for volleyball
• Approved 2015 and 2016 football calendar, with August 1 date for beginning practice
• Accepted incident and penalty report
• Accepted ejection report, noting that fighting is down with ejections for fighting last year at 209, currently 145
• Approved change to use now a different course for those ejected or disqualified: “any student-athlete who is ejected or disqualified from a contest is required to complete the NFHS Sportsmanship course before being eligible to return to competition.”
• Increased minimum eligibility standard for officials on tests to score of 75; current standard is set at 65
• Changed ejection/disqualification reporting protocol; athletic directors will no longer be required to submit report of ejection or disqualification, but will be required to send in confirmation email of receipt for that report; effective date would be August 1
• Approved new regional supervisors of officials: Robin Forehand of Northeastern Volleyball Association, Steve Morgan of Northeastern Soccer Association, Charlie Jenkins of Southeastern Wrestling Association
• Approved fine for non-compliance with concussion management course requirement, approving $500 fine per game for coaches who do not meet the mandate to take the NFHS concussion course or equivalent course
• Incentive of one dollar per presale ticket sold by member schools back to the schools themselves for state championship football and basketball
• Approved recommendation from swimming and diving advisory committee that referee and two stroke and turn judges be required for meeting using six or fewer lanes; a referee and three stroke and turn judges would be required for meetings using more than six lanes
• Approved the NCHSAA implementing two year pilot program in basketball to assess administrative technical foul to offending team for non-compliance with uniform rule code; second year of program will assess direct technical foul to head coach for more comprehensive enforcement of uniform rule code
• Approved regulation that licensed athletic trainers or first responders are required for all wrestling competitions
• Approved that all testers/measures be certified and validated prior to start of wrestling season (skinfold measurer/hydration tester)
• Change in weekly limitation in wrestling to include a quad meet in item 6 of the weekly limitations; it would read “one dual, one tri, or one quad plus one multi team event”
• Changed timeline for coaches to complete NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching Course, to “prior to the first playing date of the sport he or she coaches”, instead of the “60-day window”, effective August 1, 2014
• Dressing for game or practicing: recommend change in Handbook to “dressing and being in the designated team area”…also add that “athletes who are disqualified or ejected during a contest will remain in the team area for supervision.”
• For individuals who qualify to regional or state individual playoffs: “schools that have individuals qualifying to the regional and/or state individual playoffs, after the regular season is over for the team (for the sport of wrestling, once individual regional seeding is completed), may work out or scrimmage one-on-one against students from another school where competition is not available at their own school. The number is limited to one partner for each qualifier advancing, whether from their own school or another school.”
• Approved policy that students must meet “local attendance policies” instead of the current statewide policy: “A student-athlete must meet the local education agency attendance policy during the previous semester at an approved high school.”
• Approved clarification that “once the seeding process is completed and the brackets have been finalized, no other team or individual will be substituted in or added to the brackets as a result of a change in the reported record (incorrect or adjusted).”
• Approved increasing cheerleader registration fee to $25 for the NCHSAA cheerleading invitational and adjusting cheerleading invitational late registration from flat fee per team to $35 per cheerleader.
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @NathanHam87