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Swimming and Diving Rules Changes Address Risk Minimization, Championship Meet Policy

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 19, 2017) — Among the changes to high school swimming and diving rules for 2017-18 are ones that address risk minimization and requirements for use of the championship meet format.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Swimming and Diving Rules Committee recommended seven rules changes at its March 19-21 meeting in Indianapolis, and all changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

Rule 1-3-12 now requires state associations to identify culminating meets, which require use of the championship format. Due to the variations in conference, league and postseason championships within states, the committee believes it is appropriate for the respective state association to determine which meets shall be considered culminating meets.

“The championship meet format features preliminaries and finals rounds, which are thought to provide athletes the best opportunity to excel in their events,” said Sandy Searcy, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Swimming and Diving Rules Committee. “However, the format also prescribes specific rules associated with team and individual entries, dual confirmation, declared false starts and applicable penalties for violation of these rules.

“The committee agreed that state associations are in the best position to determine which competitions must adhere to the championship meet format. The language also allows non-championship meets to be conducted using the championship meet format.”

An addition to Rule 8-3-5c specifies where a second, third and fourth swimmer’s feet must be when a relay exchange occurs. One foot must be in contact with the surface of the starting platform in front of the starting block wedge during takeoff to minimize risk during relay exchanges.

Rule 3-6 was reorganized to provide clarity regarding the potential conduct issues within a meet. As a result, the committee believes these issues are now easier to compare and categorize for appropriate action and/or penalty. Rule 4-1-8 was also affected by this rule change and now includes language regarding appropriate conduct for meet officials.

Other rules changes include:

·         Rule 9-5-2, which addresses the approach and hurdle requirements in diving. This clarifies the intent for hops, leaps and/or jumps to count toward the three-step forward approach requirement.

·         Rule 3-3-2a, which provides consistency for all NFHS sports regarding what school and competitor information is permitted on the uniform which, in swimming and diving, consists of the suit and swim cap.

·         Rule 4-6-4, which requires dual confirmation for relay exchanges during championship meets. The referee and the starter may serve as the relay takeoff judges.

·         Rule 3-4, which provides competitors more flexibility when competing in 500-yard events to count either up or down with visual lap counters. This practice permits flexibility for the competitor, and is in keeping with current trends in the sport.

“The Swimming and Diving Rules Committee was intentional in deliberation of this year’s rules proposals,” Searcy said. “Its main focus this year was to minimize risk but also clarify existing rules.”

Swimming and diving ranks ninth in popularity among girls with 166,747 participants and 10th among boys with 133,470 participants, according to the 2015-16 NFHS Athletics Participation Survey.


Former Alabama Wrestler Selected as Section 3 Recipient of NFHS National High School Spirit of Sport Award

     INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 17, 2017) — Hasaan Hawthorne, a former wrestler at Pelham High School, has been selected as the 2017 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

     The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.

      A standout wrestler at Pelham High School, Hawthorne, who had both legs amputated when he was an infant, now attends North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where he is a scholarship wrestler.

Hawthorne began his wrestling career as a seventh-grader at which time he compiled a rather pedestrian win-loss record of 12-22. That motivated him to become more determined to work harder to improve both in and out of the season.

      Hawthorne’s efforts paid off handsomely during his final three high school varsity seasons. As a sophomore, he was a state meet qualifier. The following year, he placed third in the 2015 Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) Class 6A state tournament 145-pound weight class.

However, Hawthorne saved his best for last during his senior year in 2016, as he rolled to an unblemished 38-0 record and the AHSAA Class 6A state championship. For his efforts, he was selected the AHSAA Class 6A Most Valuable Wrestler.

      While Hawthorne’s accomplishments would be remarkable under any circumstances, they move into the realm of being truly extraordinary when one considers the fact that inspired all who watched him compete. ESPN Sports Center showcased his accomplishments in 2016 in a special interview.
      In addition to wrestling, Hawthorne participated in track, baseball and football.

       In 2016, Hawthorne was the Bryant-Jordan Foundation Class 6A Student-Athlete Achievement Award recipient – which is an award given annually in each of the AHSAA’s seven enrollment classifications for senior students who have overcome great obstacles to become outstanding student-athletes.

 

About the Award

     The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 3 are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.



Opelika’s RaKavius Chambers Selected Section 3 Recipient of NFHS National High School Heart of the Arts Award

       INDIANAPOLIS, IN (March 13, 2017) — RaKavius Chambers, a senior at Opelika High School (OHS), has been selected the 2017 Section 3 recipient of the “National High School Heart of the Arts Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

       The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the fourth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered.

       At an imposing 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, Chambers, who excelled for the OHS Show Choir, Symphonic Band and Theatre Troup and also was a football standout who signed with Duke University last month, is near the top of his class with a 4.4 grade-point average on a 4.0 weighted scale.

       Nominated by the AHSAA, Chambers has been in the OHS Show Choir for four years – and earned “Freshman of the Year” honors as a ninth-grader. In addition to singing and dancing in OHS Show Choir productions, Chambers has been a willing stage hand setting up equipment and props for the productions.

However, perhaps his “biggest role” was when he played the lead role of God in the school’s production of “Children of Eden” at the Walter Trumbauer Theatre Festival in Florence. The group won the state competition and is now preparing for the national competition. He also sits as first chair in the saxophone section for Opelika’s Symphonic Band.

      Chambers, who also volunteers his time to tutor fellow OHS students and mentor elementary school students, was named the national recipient of the Watkins Award on March 1. That award is presented annually to the top African-American high school scholar-athlete in the nation as determined by the National Alliance of African-American Athletes. He is also a Bryant-Jordan Regional winner in Class 6A for 2017.

      The son of a former Auburn University linebacker, Chambers will attend Duke University, where he plans to play football and study medicine. As a seventh-grader, Chambers was selected a “Duke University Scholar,” which goes to academically gifted students with exceptional potential on their SAT-10 test scores. He attended a Duke Medical Camp last summer, where his motivation to become a heart surgeon became even more intensified.
       Chambers’ selection marks the second straight year that the AHSAA’s nominee has captured the NFHS Section 3 Heart of the Arts Award. Dale County High School’s marching band and its band director Sherri Miller received the Section 3 and overall national Heart of the Arts Award in 2016.
       Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS National High School Heart of the Arts Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members. While the national winner will be recognized June 29 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.

       The 2017 NFHS Heart of the Arts recipient is Josephine (Josie) Ross of St. Louis Park (Minnesota) Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School.
        The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the positive heart of the arts that represent the core mission of education-based activities. This is the fourth year that the National High School Heart of the Arts Award has been offered.

        Ross has participated in numerous performing arts activities, including debate, speech and choir. Among her many awards in this area are the Minnesota State High School League ExCEL Award and the Benilde-St. Margaret’s School Outstanding Character Award.

        However, it is the realm of theatre that could accurately be described as her true passion. Among her theatre accomplishments, she’s a four-year cast member of the One-Act Play, a performer in multiple school musicals and plays, and has received several Hennepin Theatre Trust Spotlight Theatre Awards. She has also worked diligently in her Minnesota community to help those disabilities have the opportunity to enjoy the arts as well as working to combat student bullying.
          The NFHS eight Heart of the Arts Section recipients include:

Section 1 – Lindsay Daugherty, student, Barrington (Rhode Island) High School

Section 2 – Christian Ellis, student, Woodbridge (Virginia) Senior High School

Section 3 – RaKavius Chambers, student, Opelika (Alabama) High School

Section 4 – Sabrina Kenoun, student, Buffalo Grove (Illinois) High School

Section 5 – Josephine Ross, student, St. Louis Park (Minnesota) Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School

Section 6 – The Premont Mighty Cowboy Band and Mariachi Estrella, Premont (Texas) High School

Section 7 – Susan Seep, instructor, Scottsdale (Arizona) Horizon High School

Section 8 – Abby Kellems, student, Corvallis (Oregon) High School

       

About the Award

     The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 3 are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

       Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Heart of the Arts Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.

        While the national winner will be recognized June 29 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.
        The National High School Heart of the Arts Award was started in 2014. Including this year, four individuals and Dale County’s band have been chosen national award recipients. 



New Blocking, Kicking Rules Address Risk Minimization in High School Football

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (February 22, 2017) — New rules on blindside blocking are the most recent steps taken by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Football Rules Committee in minimizing the risks associated with the sport.

The establishment of a new definition of a blindside block in Rule 2-3-10 and the addition of Rule 9-4-3n prohibiting a blindside block were two of 11 rules changes recommended by the NFHS Football Rules Committee at its January 20-22 meeting in Indianapolis. All rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

“The NFHS Football Rules Committee’s actions this year once again addressed risk minimization, officiating, competitive balance and game administration,” said Bob Colgate, director of sports and sports medicine at the NFHS and staff liaison for football.

The definition of a blindside block established by the committee is “a block against an opponent other than the runner, who does not see the blocker approaching,” and now results in a 15-yard penalty.

The committee stated that the blindside block “involves contact by a blocker against an opponent who, because of physical positioning and focus of concentration, is vulnerable to injury. Unless initiated with open hands, it is a foul for excessive and unnecessary contact when the block is forceful and outside of the free-blocking zone.”

“As has been the case for many years, the NFHS Football Rules Committee continued to place their main emphasis on risk minimization,” said Todd Tharp, chair of the NFHS Football Rules Committee and assistant director of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. “With this new definition of a blindside block and the penalty to be assessed, the committee stresses the importance of proper coaching techniques under the rules and accurate enforcement by the game officials.”

Another significant risk-minimization change was elimination of a pop-up kick in new Rule 6-1-11. A new definition of a pop-up kick in Rule 2-24-10 is defined as “a free kick in which the kicker drives the ball immediately to the ground, the ball strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of a ball kicked directly off the tee.”

The committee implemented this change in an effort to reduce risk of injury due to the increased use of the pop-up kick on onside kickoffs. Such kicks will be penalized as a dead-ball free-kick infraction, as noted with new Rule 6-1-11 PENALTY.

The NFHS Football Rules Committee also expanded Rule 2-32-16 regarding a defenseless player by adding specific examples of a defenseless player. Those examples include, but are not limited to:

a)      A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass;

b)      A receiver attempting to catch a pass who has not had time to clearly become a runner;

c)      The intended receiver of a pass in the action during and immediately following an interception or potential interception;

d)      A runner already in the grasp of a tackler and whose forward progress has been stopped;

e)      A kickoff or punt returner attempting to catch or recover a kick, or one who has completed a catch or recovery and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier;

f)       A player on the ground including a ball carrier who has obviously given himself up and is sliding feet-first;

g)      A player obviously out of the play or not in the immediate vicinity of the runner; and

h)      A player who received a blindside block with forceful contact not initiated with open hands.

A great deal of time was spent by the committee creating specific criteria to define exactly what a defenseless player is,” Tharp said. “Coaches can use these examples to focus on the proper mechanics of blocking and tackling, and game officials now are able to use this expanded definition to focus on continued risk minimization of the players.”

Changes to Rule 7-1-6 expand on the situations required for encroachment to occur after the ready-for-play and after the snapper has placed his hand(s) on the ball. The rule previously stated that encroachment occurred if “any other player breaks the plane of the neutral zone.” In addition, now defensive players are restricted from contacting the ball prior to the end of the snap or making contact with the snapper’s hand(s) or arm(s) until the snapper has released the ball.

The remaining changes approved by the NFHS Football Rules Committee touched on a new ball specification (1-3-1h), uniforms [(1-5-1b(3)], game officials (1-5-4), post-scrimmage kick fouls (2-16-2h), penalty time clock management (3-4-7), prosthetic limbs (4-2-2l) and forward-pass interference (7-5-10), in which the previous foul for non-contact face guarding was eliminated as forward-pass interference.

Regarding the uniform change in Rule 1-5-1b(3), effective with the 2021 season, “the jerseys of the home team shall be a dark color that clearly contrasts to white.”

“The committee revised the rule to provide schools and manufacturers more clarification regarding the game’s current trend of utilizing lighter gray shades,” Colgate said. “The requirement for teams to wear contrasting colors to white is not a new rule, and it is the committee’s expectation that this new clarification will allow changes to be made during normal replacement cycles.”

A complete listing of all rules changes will be available soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Football.”

According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, football is the most popular sport for boys at the high school level with 1,083,308 participants in 11-player football. Another combined 28,943 boys participated in 6-, 8- and 9-player football. In addition, 2,140 girls participated in one of the four football offerings during the 2015 season.


New Courses for Music Directors, Volleyball Officials Available Through NFHS Learning Center

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (October 12, 2016) — New online courses for music teachers/directors and volleyball officials have been added to the available courses through the NFHS Learning Center at www.NFHSLearn.com.

“Introduction to Interscholastic Music” is the first online course for music teachers and directors and joins “Introduction to Music Adjudication” as music courses available through the NFHS Learning Center. “Officiating Volleyball: Ball Handling” is first of several sport-specific officiating courses that will be offered in various sports.

“Introduction to Interscholastic Music,” which is offered free of charge through the NFHS Learning Center, is designed to provide an overview of best practices in the music classroom and interscholastic music competitions. Although the course is useful for all music teachers, it is designed to meet the needs of individuals who are just beginning their careers as music teachers.

The “Introduction to Interscholastic Music” course will help new teachers in identifying their roles and responsibilities, identifying proficiency and promoting growth within music ensembles and improving the music classroom experience by establishing goals.

The skills taught in the course introduce and reinforce time-tested guidelines and techniques that music educators of any level of proficiency can use in directing music programs across the United States. 

“Officiating Volleyball: Ball Handling,” which is available for $10 for NFHS Officials Association members and $20 for non-members, provides tips and techniques that officials need to make correct ball-handling calls in volleyball. Video examples of various contacts by each position are provided to assist officials in visually identifying ball-handling faults and legal player action.

Units covered include Introduction to Ball Handling, Rules Governing Ball Handling, Techniques to Train the Eye, Variables and External Stimuli, and Overview of Each Skill. Short comprehension quizzes and “you make the call’ scenarios are scattered throughout the course.

The addition of these two courses continues the new direction of the NFHS Learning Center to expand its reach to contest officials, students, performing arts teachers/directors and others from its original mission of coaching education courses.

After starting with two courses – Fundamentals of Coaching and First Aid for Coaches – in 2007 through the NFHS Coach Education Program, the NFHS Learning Center now offers 47 online courses, including 22 that are offered free of charge. Since the launch of www.NFHSLearn.com in 2007, more than 4.7 million courses have been delivered.


19 Events Set for NFHS Network This Week

    The NFHS Network has announced the list of football games and volleyball matches currently uploaded by member schools to be live-streamed over the NFHS Network platform Thursday through Saturday. A total of 19 games are slated.
    Brooks and Cullman high schools are producing volleyball matches Thursday night beginning at 4:20 p.m. Among the top football games Friday night are Auburn vs. Enterprise and Central-Phenix City vs. Smiths Station in Class 7A, Benjamin Russell vs. Opelika and Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa vs. McAdory in Class 6A, Mae Jemison vs. Russellville in Class 5A, and Goshen vs. Elba in Class 2A. One Saturday game at Cramton Bowl at 11:30 a.m. will feature Class 7A Robert E. Lee vs. Prattville. The complete list is attached.
    Those with NFHS Network subscriptions can tune in to any of these football contests. For more information and instructions on how to subscribe, go to www.ahsaa.com and then click on the NFHS Network icon on the front page of the website or go to www.nfhsnetwork.com.
     AHSAA member high schools produce these contests through the NFHS Network School Broadcast Program (SBP). Interested schools can contact Matt Abramson at:


Matt Abramson|Southeast Territory Manager

matt.abramson@nfhsnetwork.com|NFHSnetwork.com

c:843-324-8694

Powered by PlayOn! Sports

 

 

NFHS NETWORK GAMES Sept. 15-17

Start Time

Volleyball

SBP Producer

URL

Sep 15 - 4:20 PM CDT

East Limestone vs. Brooks

Brooks

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/brooks-high-school-killen-al/68695aa1c8

Sep 15 - 4:30 PM CDT

Randolph School vs. Cullman

Cullman

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/cullman-high-school-cullman-al/5d546a070f

Sep 15 - 4:30 PM CDT

Albertville vs. Cullman

Cullman

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/cullman-high-school-cullman-al/4fa85b4886

Start Time

Football

Producer

URL

Sep 16 - 6:00 PM CDT

Central-PC vs. Smiths Station

Smiths Station

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/smit-station-high-school-smit-al/d176c66029

Sep 16 - 6:30 PM CDT

Hillcrest-Tusc. vs. McAdory

Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/hillcresttuscaloosa-high-school-tuscaloosa-al/11aae0b8ae

Sep 16 - 6:30 PM CDT

Shields vs. Sweet Water

Sweet Water

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/sweet-water-high-school-sweet-water-al/05dbf514cb

Sep 16 - 6:30 PM CDT

Saraland vs. Robertsdale

Saraland

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/saraland-high-school-saraland-al/67ffe70c0d

Sep 16 - 6:40 PM CDT

Lawrence County vs. Brooks

Brooks

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/brooks-high-school-killen-al/4d9d743cce

 

Sep 16 - 7:45 AM EDT

B. Russell vs. Opelika

Opelika

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/opelika-high-school-opelika-al/b530c126ec

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Muscle Shoals vs. Hartselle

Hartselle

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/hartselle-high-school-hartselle-al/e122d182cd

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Muscle Shoals vs. Hartselle

Muscle Shoals

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/muscle-shoals-high-school-muscle-shoals-al/95fd97a269

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Goshen vs. Elba

Goshen

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/goshen-high-school-goshen-al/03d7faf2b6

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Northview vs. Stanhope Elmore

Northview

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/northview-high-school-dothan-al/11421c881d

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

M. Jemison vs. Russellville

Russellville

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/russellville-high-school-russellville-al/0d4fd160b4

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Hueytown vs. Shades Valley

Shades Valley

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/shades-valley-high-school-birmingham-al/e870d8a2a4

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Boaz vs. Arab

Arab

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/arab-high-school-arab-al/c266a22cc4

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Cullman vs. Fort Payne

Cullman

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/cullman-high-school-cullman-al/db40f26d0c

 

Sep 16 - 7:00 PM CDT

Auburn vs. Enterprise

Enterprise

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/enterprise-high-school-enterprise-al/668247e3ae

 

Sep 17 - 11:15 AM CDT

Prattville vs. Robert E. Lee

Robert E. Lee

http://www.nfnetwork.com/events/robert-e-lee-high-school-montgomery-al/f57d617300

 

 


High School Sports Participation Increases for 27th Consecutive Year

            INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 11, 2016) – Led by an encouraging report in football participation nationwide, the number of participants in high school sports increased for the 27th consecutive year in 2015-16 according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

            Based on figures from the 51 NFHS member state high school associations, which includes the District of Columbia, the number of participants in high school sports reached an all-time high of 7,868,900 – an increase of 61,853 from the previous year.

            After a decline of almost 10,000 participants in football the previous year, the number of boys playing 11-player football in 2015 was almost identical to 2014 with a drop of just 309 – from 1,083,617 to 1,083,308.

            While some states reported a decline in football participation in 2015, 24 states registered increases in boys participation in 11-player football. When combining boys and girls participation in 6-, 8-, 9- and 11-player football, the number of participants increased 138 – from 1,114,253 to 1,114,391.

            “The NFHS and its member state associations have taken significant steps over the past 10 years to minimize the risk of participation in football and all high school sports, so this report on the continued strong interest and participation in high school football is very encouraging,” said Bob Gardner, NFHS executive director. “With the adoption of state laws and protocols for concussion management in place, we continue to believe that the sport of football at the high school level is as safe as it has been since the first rules were written in 1932 – and we believe this year’s participation report is confirmation of that belief.”

            After a decline the previous year, boys participation increased about 25,000 to an all-time high of 4,544,574, while girls participation increased for the 27th consecutive year with an additional 36,591 participants and set an all-time high of 3,324,326.

            Track and field registered the largest increase in participants for both boys and girls, with an additional 12,501 boys and 7,243 girls. Track and field ranks second to football in boys participants with 591,133, and remains the most popular sport for girls with 485,969 participants.

            In addition to track and field, six other top 10 girls sports registered increases in 2015-16, including volleyball, soccer, softball, cross country, tennis and lacrosse. The top 10 girls sports remained the same as the previous year: track and field, volleyball, basketball, soccer, fast-pitch softball, cross country, tennis, swimming and diving, competitive spirit squads, and lacrosse.

            After track and field among the top 10 boys sports, soccer registered the largest gain with an additional 7,753 participants, followed by cross country (up 6,710), basketball (up 4,949) and baseball (up 2,248). Although the top five boys sports remained the same as last year – 11-player football, track and field, basketball, baseball and soccer – cross country moved to sixth place ahead of wrestling, which dropped to seventh after a decline of 7,555 participants. Tennis, golf and swimming and diving complete the top 10 listing of boys sports.

            Lacrosse continued its rise among emerging sports with 197,572 total participants to rank 10th in girls participation and 11th for boys. Among some of the non-traditional high school sports on this year’s survey, archery (8,668), badminton (17,645) and flag football (12,093) continued to register increases in participation. Also, while boys wrestling had a drop in participation, an additional 2,000 girls participated in the sport last year for an all-time high of 13,496.

            Participation in adapted sports also increased in 2015-16 from 8,483 participants to 9,491 with schools in 12 states now offering these programs for students with disabilities.

            The top 10 states by participants remained the same; however, Florida moved ahead of New Jersey to eighth position this year. Texas and California topped the list again with 809,075 and 802,117, respectively, followed by New York (372,772), Illinois (344,143), Ohio (319,929), Pennsylvania (319,853), Michigan (295,436), Florida (285,885), New Jersey (279,371) and Minnesota (237,686). Thirty-three of the 51 NFHS member state associations reported increases in participation in 2015-16.

            The participation survey has been compiled since 1971 by the NFHS through numbers it receives from its member associations. The complete 2015-16 High School Athletics Participation Survey is attached in PDF format and will be posted soon on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org.


Huddle Acquires Preptix to Create Nation’s Leading Ticket Provider for High School Sports

Signs Exclusive Partnership with NFHS Network to Expand Digital Ticketing Nationally

 

ATLANTA (August 9, 2016) Huddle and Preptix today announced a merger to create the nation’s largest and most innovative ticketing solution for the high school sports market. The combined company, Huddle, Inc., will be headquartered in Alpharetta, Georgia. Huddle offers an integrated digital and paper ticketing solution for both state association post-season events and individual school regular season events. The Huddle leadership team will remain intact, while Jay Barker and Patrick Noles from Preptix will assume senior roles at Huddle.

 

Additionally, the NFHS Network has selected the merged company as its exclusive partner for a national rollout of a digital ticketing platform for high school sports. Combining the NFHS Network’s media assets with a digital ticketing platform will allow it to raise overall awareness of high school sports, build its subscriber base and create custom sponsorship programs for national brands.

 

Digital ticketing provides consumers with a convenient way to purchase and redeem tickets online or via a mobile phone. Digital tickets have become increasingly prevalent in the travel, sports and entertainment industries but have yet to materially impact the more than 450 million tickets sold annually to high school sporting events. High school is one of the largest markets in the world that doesn’t provide a digital ticketing option for fans.

 

“As we grow GoFanTM, our digital ticketing platform, to augment the 150 million paper tickets we deliver annually to over 9,000 schools and 18 state associations, we’re thrilled to have Preptix join our family,” said Joey Thacker, CEO of Huddle. “The Preptix digital ticketing solution and its relationships in the high school market are a perfect complement as we bring an easy and innovative solution for high school sports fans to purchase tickets to their favorite events.”

 

“Patrick, the entire Preptix team and I could not be more excited about this,” said Jay Barker, founder of Preptix. “While we considered several opportunities with potential partners to expand the Preptix solution to additional states and regions, Huddle and the NFHS Network are the clear direction for the future.”

 

“Huddle and Preptix are the ideal combination for us as we work with our state association partners to deliver a national digital ticketing solution to the high school sports market,” said Robert Rothberg, president of the NFHS Network. “We’re committed to bringing new and groundbreaking solutions to the high school market, just like we have with our live video streaming and live data platform.”


"With the acquisition of Preptix, Huddle is strengthening its e-commerce solution, as well as bringing new talent to its rapidly expanding metro Atlanta headquarters,” said David Hartnett, senior vice president of Economic Development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber. “Further, the company's new partnership with PlayOn! Sports and the NFHS Network speaks to the strong and collaborative nature of our region's digital sports and fitness community."

 

About Huddle

Huddle, Inc. gives brands a local voice, lasting relationships, and a nationally scalable way to rise above a noisy advertising world. With partners that include StateFarmTM, CITGO®, O’Reilly Auto Parts®, Olive Garden® and Taco Bell®, Huddle has built a trusted reputation for driving local sales through innovative marketing programs. Huddle, based in Alpharetta, Georgia, builds programs that are rooted in serving a targeted audience and converting them into passionate brand advocates.

Learn more at HuddleInc.com. Stay up to date on marketing news and local solutions by following Huddle on LinkedIn and Twitter.

 

About Preptix

Preptix provides schools and associations with a digital ticketing solution that can be utilized for sporting events and other ticketed school events. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, Preptix is a pioneer of digital ticketing for high schools and serves as the exclusive digital ticketing provider for the Alabama High School Athletic Association. Learn more about Preptix at preptix.com or by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

About the NFHS Network

The NFHS Network is a joint venture of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), its member state associations and PlayOn! Sports. The NFHS is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is the national leadership organization for high school sports and performing arts activities. PlayOn! Sports is based in Atlanta, Georgia, and is the nation’s largest high school sports media company. All NFHS Network events are available online at NFHSnetwork.com. Follow the NFHS Network on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram for the latest news and event information.


High School Track and Field/Cross Country Rules Changes Include Assisting Injured Competitor

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 13, 2016) — Effective with the 2017 high school track and field season, a participant who assists an injured/ill competitor shall not be disqualified if an appropriate health-care professional is not available.

The NFHS Board of Directors recently approved all rules changes recommended by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Track and Field Rules Committee at its June 13-15 meeting in Indianapolis.

            Becky Oakes, NFHS director of sports and liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee, said the committee determined that this act of sportsmanship extended to an injured/ill competitor when a health-care professional is not readily available should not result in a penalty.

            “The committee wanted to recognize the importance of appropriate healthcare of an ill/injured competitor as well as recognize that at times there may be fellow competitors who may need to assist others who cannot continue,” Oakes said. “Therefore, the committee felt that disqualification shouldn’t be the result of a sportsmanship act.”

            In order to be consistent with current sport trends, the committee revised Rule 5-7-3, which reinforces the concept that competitors in distance races only use a standing start and shall remain motionless for the start without their hand(s) touching the ground.

            The rules committee voted to combine Rule 6 (Throwing Events) and Rule 7 (Jumping Events) into one rule titled “Field Events” to eliminate duplication of definitions and unnecessary language and the possibility of making a change in the throws and missing it in the jumps.

            “The last couple of rules cycles the committee has been trying to eliminate unnecessary and repetitive language. This is the last phase of the clean-up – creating one rule that covers multiple events,” Oakes said.

            For purposes of risk management, the committee revised Rules 6-2-14 and 7-2-5, which state that all warm-ups in a field event may not take place until the venue is declared open and required supervision is in place.

            In Rule 5-6, the committee moved the Note in Rule 5-6-4 to the new Article 4. Oakes said the results of running events are based on head-to-head competition and all contestants should have the opportunity to compete in the heat earned by the competitor’s place and/or qualifying times.

            The committee also approved a change to Rule 3-6-1, which now grants authority to disqualify a runner for a false start to the starter as well as the referee. Also, the starter will now give a signal at the beginning of the last lap in individual races of two laps or more (previously three).

            Another change was made in Rule 3-2-4u, which states that the games committee – not the coach – should have the responsibility of providing liquids during the competition.

            In Rule 3-10-7, when flags are not utilized, the head event judge utilizes the mechanics to call “fair” or “foul.”

            Other changes approved by the committee include:

·        The removal of the Note in 4-3-1b(5), which contradicts the rule by limiting the placement of the American flag to one piece of uniform apparel.

·        Rule 4-6-5g, which states that it is an unfair act when a competitor receives physical aid from any other person during a race or trial, except as provided in Rules 4-6-5 and 9-7.

·        Rule 5-1-3, which notes that, in absence of a curb, if cones are used, they should just touch the inside of the line and be placed about 5 feet apart around the curve.

·        Rule 6-2-17, which clarifies how trials are recorded when a legal implement breaks during competition.

·        Rule 6-5-9e, which notes that if a shot put competitor touches the top or end of the stopboard before leaving the circle, it is a foul.

·        Rule 9-1-3b for cross country states that the race course should include either directional flags and/or directional sign posts.

·        Rule 10-2-2, which notes that when multiple takeoff boards are used in the long jump and triple jump, the 20-meter distance shall be from the foul line farthest from the pit.

A complete listing of the track and field rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “track and field.”

According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, there are 578,632 boys participating in outdoor Track and Field at 16,358 schools and 478,726 girls at 16,309 schools.


Pitching Restriction Policies in High School Baseball to be Based on Number of Pitches

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (July 12, 2016) — High school baseball rules now will require a pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown in a game.

The revised pitching policy in Rule 6-2-6 was one of six rules changes approved by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Baseball Rules Committee at its June 5-7 meeting in Indianapolis. The rules changes were subsequently approved by the NFHS Board of Directors.

              Each NFHS member state association will be required to develop its own pitching restriction policy based on the number of pitches thrown during a game to afford pitchers a required rest period between pitching appearances.

              “We’re pleased that the rules committee worked in conjunction with the NFHS Sports Medicine Advisory Committee to find an acceptable and reasonable modification to this rule in order to emphasis the risk that occurs when pitchers overuse their throwing arm,” said Elliot Hopkins, NFHS director of sports and student services and staff liaison for baseball.

             The AHSAA Central Board of Control, in a proactive move at the recommendation of the AHSAA Baseball Coaches Committee and Medical Advisory Committee, approved a pitch count policy for its member schools last fall. The AHSAA Pitch Count Rule, which has been lauded by baseball groups across the nation, will be implemented in the 2017 season. The previous policy was based on innings pitched per week. The AHSAA Pitch Count Rule can be found on the Baseball Page at www.ahsaa.com.
         The Baseball Rules Committee also revised Rule 2-32-2 regarding sliding into home plate. The revised language states: “At home plate, it is permissible for the slider’s momentum to carry him through the plate in the baseline extended.” The committee altered this rule since the physical design of home plate makes it difficult for a runner to break momentum on a slide – as opposed to the other three elevated bases which are elevated. 

              The committee also revised Rule 3-3-1, which states the umpire has the ability to give three warnings to a coach or player before he or she is removed from the game.

              “Officials now have the opportunity to provide a tiered warning system for coaches or players,” Hopkins said. “It provides the coaches or players with a teachable moment to change their unsportsmanlike behavior in order to stay in the game.”

              A new article 6 was added to Rule 8-3 to provide a rules reference for an existing ruling in the Baseball Case Book. The new article reads: “When a plate umpire hinders, impedes or prevents a catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pickoff play, if an out is not made at the end of the catcher’s initial throw, the ball shall be dead and all runners shall return to the bases occupied at the time of the interference.”

              The rules committee also approved an addition to Rule 8-4-2, which states that any runner is out when he is physically assisted by a coach. This rule change supports a revision in Rule 3-2-2 Penalty, which states that the runner shall be called out immediately when he is physically assisted by a coach.

A complete listing of the baseball rules changes will be available on the NFHS website at www.nfhs.org. Click on “Activities & Sports” at the top of the home page, and select “Baseball.”

According to the 2015-16 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Survey, there are 486,567 boys participating in baseball at 15,899 schools across the country, and 1,203 girls playing the sport in 260 schools.