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Dotson Lewis' Blog


2013 Rules Changes



True Texas High School Football fans know that in Texas we have only two sports, Football and Spring Football.  As most of our  listernes/readers know in Texas High School Football, we use college rules because our high school football players are more skilled than most players on college teams. We are one of only two states who use NCAA (College) Football Rules, all the other states play by the NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) Football Rules. Your comments regarding the changes or any comments pro or con regarding Football Playing Rules will be greatly appreciated.


Here are the new rules which apply starting with the 2013. 

Dotson’s Note: Most of the Rules Committee’s time is spent discussing safety issues.


Here we go:


1.    Targeting an opponent with the crown of the helmet and striking him above the shoulders will result in disqualification.  The penalty for this personal foul will be the same as for fighting. 15 yards plus an automatic first down (if by the defense) and disqualification of  the player:

NOTE: If this occurs in a college game, the player will have limited participation in his team’s next game.



2.    Blocking below the waist will now be allowed only the zone seven yards on each side of the ball extending five yards beyond the neutral zone and back to Team A’s end line.


 (a) Offensive players who are on the line of scrimmage completely within this zone and backs who are stationary completely within the tackle box at the snap may legally block below the waist inside this zone until the ball has left the zone.

(b) Players not covered in a (above) while the ball is still in the zone, and all players after the ball has left the zone, are allowed to block below the waist if the force of the initial contact is from the front, but they may not block below the waist if the force of the initial contact is from the side or back. “From the front” is understood to mean within the clock-face region between “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock” forward of the player being blocked.

(c) Once the ball has left the zone a player may not block below the waist toward his own end line.

(d)) Defensive players may not block below the waist against an opponent who is in position to receive a backward pass.

(e) Defensive players may not block below the waist against an eligible opponent pass receiver beyond the neutral zone unless attempting to get to the ball or ball carrier. This prohibition ends when a legal forward pass is no longer possible by rule.

(f) During a down in which there is a free kick (kick-off) or a scrimmage kick, blocking below the waist by any player is illegal.

(g). Change of possession

After any change of possession (team), blocking below the waist by any player is illegal except against the ball carrier.


3. This rules change was caused in the most part  because of Texas A&M’s violations  of the numbering rule during the 2012 season.


Uniform Numbers

 When a player enters the game after changing his jersey number, he must report to the referee, who then informs the opposing head coach and announces the change. Such a player who enters the game without reporting commits a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.


Two players playing the same position may not wear the same number during the game.


4. Helmet Off: Timeout Allows Player to Remain in the Game

Dotson’s Note:  In 2012 if a player’s helmet came off during play, he had to leave the game for at least one play.


a. If a player’s helmet comes completely off through play, other than as the direct result of a foul by an opponent, the player must leave the game for the next down. The game clock will stop at the end of the down. The player may remain in the game if his team is granted a charged timeout.


5.  Allow Wireless Communication for Officiating Crew

Dotson’s Note: This is great! It will really help the officiating crew on the field. We are planning to use this in high school games in the Corpus Christi area if it is not too expensive.


 A protected wireless communication system open only to the officiating crew and conference officiating observer is allowed.


The following changes were recommended by the Rules Committee but were not approved by PLAYING RULES OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE:


Dotson’s note: For the first time since the Playing Rules Oversight Committee was formed (about 10 years), the have not approved some of the Rules Committee’s changes. This will make for some interesting discussions during the season. I was very much in favor of both of these changes


Uniform and field colors must contrast


 Either the color of the uniform pants or the color of the body of the jersey must clearly contrast with the color of the surface of the field of play.


Operate the chain and down box on opposite sides of the field in each half


The official line-to-gain (yardage chain) and down indicators shall be operated approximately six feet outside the sideline, except in stadiums where the total playing enclosure does not permit. These shall be operated on the press box side during the first half and opposite the press box in the second half.