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AHSAA News


Author: Marvin Chou

Marvin Chou's Article

9th Annual Champions Challenge Set for Cramton Bowl Friday, Saturday

Six high schools, including one defending state champion, will play Friday night and Saturday at Cramton Bowl as the 9th annual Champion Challenge officially kicks off the 2014 prep football season for the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
              Spanish Fort, which will be staking a 24-game winning streak on the line Saturday night against Stanhope Elmore, won the last two Class 5A state titles. The Toros (15-0) of Coach Mark Freeman will meet Coach Jeff Foshee’s Mustangs (4-6) in the final game of the series Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.
            The Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association (AHSADCA) hosts the series, which played its first Champions Challenge at Cramton Bowl in 2006.
            Carver-Montgomery (10-3), which reached the Class 6A quarterfinals in 2013, opens the triple-header Friday at 7 p.m. against Opelika (7-4). Coach Brian Blackmon’s Bulldogs reached the Class 6A finals in 2012.
           Stanhope Elmore, Carver and Opelika will be competing this season in Class 6A with Spanish Fort, which moves up a class as the AHSAA changes to seven classifications.
          Class 4A Dadeville (11-2) takes on Class 3A Piedmont (11-2) Saturday at 5 p.m. in the small-school game of the series. Coach Richard White’s Tigers have been one of the winningest 4A schools in the state over the last six seasons. Coach Steve Smith’s Bulldogs, the 2009 3A state champions, are likewise in Class 3A. Piedmont lost 34-33 in overtime to eventual state champion Madison Academy last season.
          The 2014 will mark the first year that schools will have 11 weeks to play 10 games and the first year for the new seven-classification system. Schools still have a choice to count any week one contest as a regular-season or exhibition contest. The Carver-Opelika and Piedmont-Dadeville games will remain as exhibition games and will not count on either team's record. The Spanish Fort-Stanhope Elmore game will be the regular-season opener for each school.
         All six schools are taking the playoff-type approach, however. “This game offers a real state playoff atmosphere,” Spanish Fort’s Freeman said. “We played in this game in 2012 and it helped us prepare for the state playoffs and the state championship game.”
          His Toros have compiled a 38-5 record in three seasons under Freeman’s direction and 73-12 over the last six years with three state titles.
         Class 6A Stanhope Elmore finished 4-6 last season. The Mustangs are coached by Jeff Foshee, who has compiled a 98-58 record with 11 playoff appearances in 13 seasons.
         Gresham has led Carver to a 29-9 record the last three seasons. The Wolverines have gone 60-16 over the last six years with six straight playoff appearances. Brian Blackmon has guided Opelika to a 35-20 record in five seasons with 17 wins over the last two years. The Bulldogs have reached the 6A playoffs for four straight seasons.
        Piedmont has won 10 or more games the last seven seasons. Dadeville (11-2) reached the 4A quarterfinals in 2013, losing a 35-34 heartbreaker to UMS-Wright. The Tigers are 66-9 over the last six seasons with an amazing 40-2 record in region play.
        The 2014 Champions Challenge will be televised live and web-streamed by AHSAA TV partner Raycom Network. Stations on the network can be found at www.ahsaa.com. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all three games live. The AHSAA Radio Network affiliates can also be found at www.ahsaa.com.  Live stats will also be available online at www.ahsaa.com.
        The Champions Challenge schedule:

        Friday, August 22 – 7 p.m.: Carver-Montgomery (10-3) vs. Opelika (7-4)

        Saturday, August 24 – 5 p.m.: Dadeville (11-2) vs. Piedmont (11-2)

        Saturday, August 24 – 7:30 p.m.: Spanish Fort (15-0) vs. Stanhope Elmore (4-6)

CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE HISTORY

2013
Benjamin Russell 28, Walker 14
Straughn 35, Walter Wellborn 26
Bob Jones 23, Enterprise 20
2012
Spanish Fort 33, Muscle Shoals 22
Central of Clay County 25, Beauregard 13
McGill-Toolen 27, Northridge 0
2011
Hueytown 36, Thomasville 27
Hamilton 38, Sweet Water 35
Daphne 24, Clay-Chalkville 21
2010
Opelika 34, Greenville 6
Auburn 30, Spain Park 3
Jackson 30, Trinity 8                                     
2009
Prattville 37, Carver-Montgomery 0
T.R. Miller 27, Leeds 7
Hoover 32, Oxford 27

2008
Prattville vs. Oxford, canceled due to inclement weather

2007
Prattville 36, North Gwinnett, Ga. 3

2006
Hoover 38, UMS-Wright 0
Clay-County 41, Addison 6


AHSAA Will Mandate Heat Timeouts Once Again

Guidelines for the proper administration of football games during the 2014 season have been have been finalized by the AHSAA, including mandatory heat timeouts during early season games.


Heat Timeouts:
According to Rule 3-5-7g in the National Federation Rules Book, an official may grant a heat timeout anytime during the contest when it is warranted. As a matter of procedure, the AHSAA has instructed the Referee at each game to make this decision.

The AHSAA will mandate the heat timeouts being called during the first dead ball period after the six-minute mark in each of the four quarters. These mandated timeouts will be used during the first three weeks of the season that begins Aug. 21 or 22.


25-Second Clock:
The use of a 25-second clock as supplemental equipment has been approved by the AHSAA. The home team will have sole authority whether to use it or not. The 25-second clock operator must be registered with the AHSAA as an official or an Electric Clock Operator (ECO).

After a game has begun, the Referee will have the authority by rule to make any adjustments to timing issues and competency of the operator. This clock will be used for the “Super Seven” championship games in Auburn Dec. 3-5.

All varsity games must have a registered official operating the game clock. All non-varsity games must have a registered official or an AHSAA-approved Electric Clock Operator (ECO) running the game clock.


Chain Crews:
Each host school should use three competent adults on the chain crew for each home game.


Halftimes:
According to Rule 3, Section 1, Table 3-1 Note 2, the AHSAA has set a mandatory length for halftimes of all member school contests. Varsity game halftimes will be 20 minutes in length while all sub-varsity halftimes will be 15 minutes in length. By rule, 20 minutes is the maximum length allowed.

By mutual agreement of opposing coaches, the intermission may be reduced to the minimum length of 10 minutes for all levels of play.


Warm-up Periods:
All players, including team captains, shall have the opportunity to warm up during the mandatory three-minute warm-up period prior to the second half of play. This mandatory period will begin at the conclusion of the scheduled halftime. If the bands are late leaving the field and other appropriate areas are not provided for the teams to warm up, then the three-minute warm up will begin as soon as the bands exit the field. The home school will be penalized for such a delay.

If the bands clear the field prior to the conclusion of the scheduled halftime and opposing coaches agree to shorten the halftime, the mandatory three-minute warm up period may begin at that time.

 

Modifications of Seventh Grade Games Only:

For seventh grade games only, a running clock may be used during each of the four periods played. Each period will be eight minutes in length. Also, modifications of kicking rules including kickoffs, free kicks and scrimmage kicks during a seventh grade contest are now permissible upon mutual agreement of the opposing coaches. This mutual agreement of opposing coaches pertaining to these modifications shall be done prior to the start of the contest.


Knight Eady Unveils New Logo for AHSAA, Super 7 and State Basketball Tournament

    Knight Eady Sports Group, the new marketing partner of the Alabama High School Athletic Association, unveiled the a new AHSAA logo to the state’s media gathered at the AHSAA’s annual Media Day Wednesday.
        The marketing group also displayed new logos for the Super 7 state football championships and the State Basketball Tournament.
      Michael Eady unveiled the logos that will be used in all future AHSAA marketing and branding endeavors. “Since the AHSAA is moving to seven classifications, the time was right for this change,” Eady said.
     AHSAA Executive Director Steve Savarese said the new logos will help move the AHSAA forward. He said, “I really like the changes. The new logos are clean and very well thought out and are already being well received.”
     The AHSAA launched its new-look website recently utilizing the new AHSAA logo. That logo now will also have a secondary mark that will help promote the AHSAA and its branding.
     Eady said the Super 7 logos have been designed specifically to blend easily at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare Stadium and Alabama’s Bryant-Denny Stadium. Each will have its own color scheme.
     The State Basketball Championships logo has undergone the biggest change since the Final 48 logo used in the past is not applicable since there will be 56 participants with seven classes. Knight Eady said two websites are also being launched to promote the football and basketball state championship events.
    The logos can be found at the following link:
http://www.ahsaa.com/AHSAA/Information

Raycom Announces Raycom/AHSAA Thursday TV Game of the Week Slate

       Raycom Media’s Mike Llewellyn announced the first slate of games for the new Raycom/AHSAA Thursday Night Game of the Week Wednesday at the Champions Challenge press conference at the Alabama High School Athletic Association Office.
     Raycom, the AHSAA’s TV Partner for the Super 7 football championships and State Basketball Tournament, will show 10 Thursday night football games, beginning Aug. 28 with Mountain Brook at Huntsville.
      The remaining schedule includes: Sept. 4: Shades Valley at Center Point; Sept. 11: Florence at Cullman; Sept. 18: Washington County at Sweet Water; Sept. 25: Montgomery Academy at Trinity Presbyterian; Oct. 2: Hoover at Spain Park; Oct. 9: Charles Henderson at Eufaula; Oct. 16: Smiths Station at Enterprise; Oct. 23: R.A. Hubbard at Hackleburg; and Oct. 30: Blount at Saraland.
       “We have an outstanding lineup of games for this first year,” said Llewellyn, Raycom executive producer for the telecasts. “We worked very hard to try and reach every section of the state and give every classification representation. We want this to be more than just a football game. We plan to showcase the communities and the traditions of the schools.”
        Raycom, which plans to broadcast all three Champions Challenge contests at Cramton Bowl Aug. 22-23 over its network of six stations as well as its internet site, will also make the games available through its mobile link each week.
       Stations in the network include Raycom stations WAFF TV 48 (Huntsville), WBRC Fox 6 (Birmingham), WSFA TV 12 (Montgomery), WDFX TV 34 (Dothan) and WTVM TV 9 (Columbus, Ga.) as well as non-Raycom station UTV44 (Mobile). Jack’s, Alabama National Guard and the Alabama State Department of Transportation are the major sponsors, Llewellyn said.
      More information will be available about the Thursday Night Game of the Week package at www.pathtotheplayoffs.com.
     Llewellyn also announced that Montgomery’s Graham Dunn and Mike Peacock will be the Game of the Week broadcast team for the Thursday Night Game of the Week series.

Six Schools Making Debuts In Ninth Annual Champions Challenge Aug. 22-23

            Six high schools chosen to participate in the ninth annual Champions Challenge high school football triple-header addressed the media Wednesday at the 2014 event press conference at the Alabama High School Athletic Association Office in Montgomery.
          The press conference closed out the AHSAA’s annual Media Day, which was attended by more than 50 media representatives from across the state.
          Carver-Montgomery will meet Opelika Friday night, Aug. 22 in the first of three games, according to Alvin Briggs, Director of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association which hosts the event each year.
        The two remaining games will be played Saturday, Aug. 23, beginning at 5 p.m. with Piedmont taking on Dadeville in the small-school game. Class 6A teams Spanish Fort and Stanhope Elmore will meet in the final game at 7:30 p.m.
        “We are very appreciative of the AHSAA for inviting us to participate,” Carver head coach Billy Gresham told the media. “We think this is a great opportunity for us to play a team we have the utmost respect for.”
        This coming season will be the first year that schools will have 11 weeks to play 10 games and the first year for the new seven-classification system. Schools still have a choice whether to count any week one contest as a regular-season or exhibition contest. The Carver-Opelika and Piedmont-Dadeville games will remain as exhibition games, Briggs said, and will not count on either team's record. The Spanish Fort-Stanhope Elmore game is set to be the regular-season opener for each school.
        “Coach Blackmon and I have talked and although it is officially an exhibition game, we are going to be playing all out just like a regular game,” Gresham said.
         Piedmont Coach Steve Smith said his Class 3A Bulldogs will be facing a powerful opponent in Dadeville. “We lost of lot from last year’s team,” he said, “but we have young players who are having to step up and be leaders this year and this will be a very good challenge for us.”

        Class 6A Carver (10-3) reached the third round of the 6A state playoffs last season and Class 6A Opelika (7-4) reached round one after playing in the 6A finals in 2012. 
       Spanish Fort (15-0) coached by Mark Freeman, moves up to Class 6A after winning back-to-back Class 5A state football titles. The Toros will be riding a 24-game winning streak heading into the Champions Challenge. The team is 38-5 in three seasons under Freeman’s direction and 73-12 over the last six years with three state titles.
         Class 6A Stanhope Elmore finished 4-6 last season. The Mustangs are coached by Jeff Foshee, who has compiled a 98-58 record with 11 playoff appearances in 13 seasons.
          “We think this is a great game for our program and our community,” Foshee said. “This is an exciting opportunity for our players, coaches, dance team, band and our entire community.”

         Gresham has led Carver to a 29-9 record the last three seasons. The Wolverines have gone 60-16 over the last six years with six straight playoff appearances. Brian Blackmon has guided Opelika to a 35-20 record in five seasons with 17 wins over the last two years. The Bulldogs have reached the 6A playoffs for four straight seasons.
        Piedmont (11-2) reached the Class 3A quarterfinals last season, losing 34-33 in overtime to eventual state champion Madison Academy. Smith’s Bulldogs averaged 43.2 points per game in 2013 while yielding only 12.5 points per game. He is beginning his ninth season as head coach. Piedmont has won 10 or more games the last seven seasons with an 86-18 record overall and a 17-7 mark in eight playoff appearances. The Bulldogs won the 2009 Class 3A state championship.
       Dadeville (11-2) reached the 4A quarterfinals, losing a 35-34 heartbreaker to UMS-Wright. Coach Richard White’s Tigers are 66-9 over the last six seasons with an amazing 40-2 record in region play. Dadeville will be in Class 4A, Region 3 and Piedmont is in 3A, Region 6 this fall.
        In last year’s Champions Challenge, Benjamin Russell beat Walker 28-14, Straughn downed Walter Wellborn 35-26 and Bob Jones edged Enterprise 23-20.
        The 2014 Champions Challenge will be televised live and web-streamed by AHSAA TV partner Raycom Network. The AHSAA Radio Network will also broadcast all three games live.             
        Raycom announced at the press conference the first slate of games for the its new AHSAA Thursday Night Game of the Week.  Raycom, the AHSAA’s TV Partner for the Super 7 championships and State Basketball Tournament, will show 10 Thursday night games beginning Aug. 28 with Mountain Brook at Huntsville.
       The remaining schedule includes: Sept. 4: Shades Valley at Center Point; Sept. 11: Florence at Cullman; Sept. 18: Washington County at Sweet Water; Sept. 25: Montgomery Academy at Trinity Presbyterian; Oct. 2: Hoover at Spain Park; Oct. 9: Charles Henderson at Eufaula; Oct. 16: Smiths Station at Enterprise; Oct. 23: R.A. Hubbard at Hackleburg; and Oct. 30: Blount at Saraland. Executive producer Mike Llewellyn announced that Graham Dunn and Mike Peacock will be the announcers for the Thursday Night Game of the Week.
        The Champions Challenge schedule is:

        Friday, August 22 – 7 p.m.: Carver-Montgomery (10-3) vs. Opelika (7-4)

        Saturday, August 24 – 5 p.m.: Dadeville (11-2) vs. Piedmont (11-2)

        Saturday, August 24 – 7:30 p.m.: Spanish Fort (15-0) vs. Stanhope Elmore (4-6)

CHAMPIONS CHALLENGE HISTORY

2013
Benjamin Russell 28, Walker 14
Straughn 35, Walter Wellborn 26
Bob Jones 23, Enterprise 20
2012

Spanish Fort 33, Muscle Shoals 22
Central of Clay County 25, Beauregard 13
McGill-Toolen 27, Northridge 0
2011
Hueytown 36, Thomasville 27
Hamilton 38, Sweet Water 35
Daphne 24, Clay-Chalkville 21

2010
Opelika 34, Greenville 6
Auburn 30, Spain Park 3
Jackson 30, Trinity 8                                     

2009
Prattville 37, Carver-Montgomery 0
T.R. Miller 27, Leeds 7
Hoover 32, Oxford 27

2008
Prattville vs. Oxford, canceled due to inclement weather

2007
Prattville 36, North Gwinnett, Ga. 3

2006
Hoover 38, UMS-Wright 0
Clay-County 41, Addison 6


Auburn’s Bruce Pearl To Tip Off AHSAA Mini-Clinic Series In September

   New Auburn University men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl will tip off the 2014-15 AHSAA Sports Mini-Clinic series hosted by the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association.
   Pearl, who will be addressing the AHSAA basketball coaches for the first time as Auburn’s head coach, will be speaking at the Basketball Mini-Clinic Wednesday, Sept. 3. The basketball mini-clinic will be the first of 12 sports-specific mini-clinics hosted by the AHSADCA, said Director Alvin Briggs.
|   “We are very excited to have Coach Pearl open this school year’s mini-clinic series,” Briggs said. “We know he will be a very popular clinician, so we encourage our coaches to go online and register as soon as possible because the space will be limited. This is a tremendous opportunity for our coaches to learn from one of the top college coaches in the U.S.”
    The Basketball Mini-Clinic will be limited to the first 150 registrants due to space.
    Pearl, one of the most popular coaches in Division I, was hired at Auburn University after last season. The former University of Tennessee and Milwaukee head coach owns a 231-99 career coaching record over 10 seasons heading into his first season with the Tigers. His teams have reached the NCAA Tournament eight times in that 10-year stretch.
   Briggs said that bowling will be offered for the first time as an emerging sport this coming winter and is expected to become a championship sport in 2015-16.
   “There has been a lot of interest by the schools in starting a bowling program,” he said. “We know the Bowling Mini-Clinic set Wednesday, Sept. 17, will provide an excellent opportunity for schools to learn more about the sport.”
    The mini-clinic series will also include the sports of golf, tennis, wrestling, baseball, softball, soccer, track & field, volleyball and football. The football mini-clinic will conclude the 2014-15 series March 11.

AHSADCA 2014-15 Mini Clinic Series Schedule

BASKETBALL              SEPTEMBER 3, 2014
BOWLING                   SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
GOLF                           OCTOBER 2, 2014
TENNIS                       OCTOBER 9, 2014
WRESTLING               OCTOBER 15, 2014
BASEBALL                  NOVEMBER 19, 2014
SOFTBALL                  JANUARY 14, 2015
SOCCER                      JANUARY 28, 2015
TRACK & FIELD        FEBRUARY 4, 2015
VOLLEYBALL            FEBRUARY 11, 2015
FOOTBALL                MARCH 11, 2015


Central Board of Control Approves Revenue Sharing & State Track Sites

$1.4 Million In Revenue Sharing, Track Championship Sites Approved By Central Board of Control

        The Alabama High School Athletic Association Central Board of Control for the second straight year approved returning $1.4 million to its member schools under its Revenue Sharing Plan. The action was taken Wednesday at its annual summer meeting in Montgomery. The Central Board also approved Gulf Shores (4A, 5A, 6A, 7A) and Cullman (1A, 2A, 3A) as host sites for the AHSAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships for the next three years (2015-17).  
        The AHSAA Legislative Council also met Wednesday.
        The Revenue Sharing Plan, approved first by the Central Board in 2009, will have returned $6  million to its member schools in the five years of the program once 2013-14 school year payments are sent out next month. The formula for the distribution of funds includes a differential between classifications and the number of sports played by non-football-playing schools. The plan returns excess funds back to the schools when the AHSAA has at least one year’s working capital in reserve.
        Also, for the 22th consecutive year, the Central Board voted to waive membership dues to all member schools – a cost savings of more than $75,000 annually.
        “I want to thank the Central Board for their strong leadership,” said Executive Director Steve Savarese. “Returning another $1.4 million to our schools and waiving the annual membership dues are certainly important boosts to the financial well being of our schools.”
        The board also approved area and section adjustments and championshionip play for soccer to the following groupings: Class 1A-3A, Class 4A-5A, Class 6A and Class 7A. The move reduces travel for member schools, more equally aligns each group and also accommodates the growth in boys and girls soccer.
            Three new Central Board members were also sworn in by AHSAA Associate Executive Director Tony Stallworth, including Dr. Stephanie Robinson, principal of Fultondale High School; Darren Douthitt, Superintendent of Education of Anniston Schools; and Larry Raines, representing the Alabama State Board of Education.


In other Central Board action:

– Approved the financial reports for the spring championships in soccer, softball, baseball and track. Attendance and revenue was up overall from 2013.

– Approved a new catastrophic insurance plan for member schools, beginning 2014-15, and a new plan for calculating catastrophic insurance premiums. The Board was also updated on all AHSAA insurance coverage.

– Reviewed and approved all changes for the 2014-15 AHSAA publications.

– Approved the 2014-15 budgets for the AHSAA and the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association and the 2013-14 audits for each group.

– Approved new track officials requirements.

– Approved adjustment to the fee structure for District Compliance Officers who conduct school audits.

– Approved middle school football jamborees on Saturday during the annual Champions Challenge.

– Voted to continue prohibiting member schools from competing in post-season national championship play as per current NFHS regulations.

– Gave approval to Knight Eady, the AHSAA’s new marketing partner, to procede with new AHSAA logo designs as well as Super 7 Football Championship and State Basketball Tournament logo designs.
––
– Heard a report from Denise Ainsworth that the AHSAA Five-Year Strategic Plan is ahead of schedule with 21 of 24 items now already completed.

– Heard a request by Briarwood Christian School Athletic Director Terry Davis to provide more stringent regulations for spring sports, especially baseball, softball, tennis and golf.


Action by the AHSAA Legislative Council, which met in the afternoon: 
– Heard a review of the Central Board action.

– Reviewed and approved all changes for the 2014-15 AHSAA publications.


NFHS Lifts Jewelry Ban For Track & Field

Jewelry Prohibition Lifted in High School Track and Field

 

INDIANAPOLIS — Effective with the 2015 high school track and field season, the prohibition of jewelry will be eliminated. This was one of several rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee, said the committee determined that prohibiting jewelry in high school track and field and cross country is not necessary.

“The wearing of jewelry ordinarily presents little risk of injury to either the competitor or opponents,” Oakes said. “Elimination of the rule allows officials to focus on meet administration directly related to actual competition. Coaches continue to have the obligation to see that competitors are properly equipped.”

In other changes, language regarding the time limit to initiate a trial in the throwing and jumping events was revised. Previously, competitors in these events had to initiate a trial and carry it to completion within one minute. Beginning next year, participants must only initiate the trial within the one-minute time limit. Completion of the event will be allowed beyond the prescribed time.

Another change was made in field events involving implements. In events such as the shot put, discus, javelin and pole vault, an additional trial will be allowed when an implement breaks – and thus becomes illegal – during competition due to no fault of the competitor.

The revised note in Rules 6-2-17 and 7-2-17 reads as follows: “If a legal implement breaks during an attempt in accordance with the rules, no penalty shall be counted against the competitor and a replacement trial shall be awarded. If the implement breaks upon completion of the trial, a replacement attempt shall not be awarded and the results of the trial shall be recorded, provided it was made in accordance with the rules.”

In the discus throw, it no longer will be a foul if a competitor is out of control when exiting the back half of the circle. Also, in the discus, shot put and javelin, the requirement for the judge to call “mark” was eliminated.

Another change involves the high jump and pole vault events. A new article in Rule 7-2 will state that “a crossbar displaced by a force disassociated with the competitor after he/she is legally and clearly over the crossbar shall not be a fault and is considered a successful attempt.”

In Rule 8 involving special events, the committee approved the 1,500-meter run as an alternate for the 1,600-meter run in the decathlon and pentathlon. Oakes said when using the IAAF standard scoring, the 1,500-meter run is the standard distance. In addition, the indoor weight throw was approved for the listing of special events.

The final change involves Rule 1-4 on indoor track. Since many indoor meets are held in college facilities, the committee approved the 60-meter high hurdles and dash as alternates for the 55-meter high hurdles and dash. Oakes said this option eliminates special marking of the facilities for the hurdles and dash.


High School Baseball, Softball Rules Changes Approved

INDIANAPOLIS — Beginning with the 2015 high school baseball season, teams will be allowed to use video monitoring or replay equipment for coaching purposes during games.

This revision to Rule 3-3-1 was one of five changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 8-10 meeting in Indianapolis. The committee’s recommendations were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Previously, video equipment was permitted but it could not be used during games for coaching purposes.

“With advancements in technology, it was extremely difficult for officials to determine if teams were using video replay during games,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and educational services and liaison to the Baseball Rules Committee. “The committee determined it was the right time to permit teams to use these technological aids if they so choose.”

In softball, two rules changes were recommended by the NFHS Softball Rules Committee at its June 16-18 meeting in Indianapolis and subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rules 1-6-1 and 1-7-1 were revised to state that the batting helmet and the catcher’s helmet shall have a non-glare surface (not mirror-like).

Theresia Wynns, NFHS director of sports and officials education and liaison to the Softball Rules Committee, said the committee instituted these changes because helmets that are mirror-like in nature are distracting and could be dangerous for other players.

In other baseball rules changes, the committee expanded the definition of interference in Rule 2-21 to include follow-through interference and backswing interference.

Rule 2-21-4 will state that “follow-through interference is when the ball hits the catcher after the batter has swung at a pitch and hinders action at home plate or the catcher’s attempt to play on a runner,” and Rule 2-21-5 will state that “backswing interference is when a batter contacts the catcher or his equipment prior to the time of the pitch.”

Hopkins said that follow-through interference and backswing interference are separate and distinct acts that previously were not addressed in Rule 2-21. The rule previously covered offensive, umpire and spectator interference.

The rules committee approved a change in Rule 1-5-1 regarding the batting helmet to be consistent with the rule for helmets used by defensive players. As is the case with head protection worn by field players, the batting helmet now must have a non-glare surface (cannot be mirror-like in nature) and meet the NOCSAE standard at the time of manufacture.

The definition of a foul ball in Rule 2-16-1 was expanded to be consistent with language elsewhere in the rules book. Specifically, Rule 2-16-1f will now state that a foul is a batted ball “that hits the batter in the batter’s box.” Article “g” will state that a foul is a batted ball “that hits the ground or home plate and then hits the batter or the bat which is held by the batter while he is in the batter’s box.”

The final change approved by the Baseball Rules Committee involves the following additional language to Courtesy Runner Rule No. 1: “In the event that the offensive team bats around, the pitcher and/or catcher who had a courtesy runner inserted on their behalf may bat in their normal position in the batting order.”

Baseball is the fourth-most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 474,791 participants in 15,632 schools during the 2012-13 season, according to the NFHS Athletics Participation Survey. Fast-pitch softball is the fifth-most popular sport for girls at the high school level with 362,488 participants in 15,067 schools during the 2012-13 season.