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2008 Track and Field Points of Emphasis

1. RISK MINIMIZATION IN TRACK AND FIELD COMPETITION - The Track and Field Rules Committee highly recommends continued emphasis on safety and risk minimization throughout the entire Track and Field competition, including but not limited to:

- Proper administration and appropriate restricted areas in all throws and jumps

- Hydration of all athletes

- Well-marked restricted areas for all running events

- Well marshaled areas to encourage positive spectator behavior

Specific mechanics for implementation of appropriate officiating procedures can be found in the NFHS Track and Field Officials' Manual. The manual may be ordered online at www.nfhs.com. Schools are encouraged to have a copy of this publication to serve as resource to properly train individuals assisting with meet administration. Track and Field officials should definitely have this publication as a mainstay for resource for officials and meet administration.

2. CONSISTENT AND APPROPRIATE RULE ENFORCEMENT THROUGHOUT THE SEASON - The NFHS Track and Field Rules Committee has worked hard to provide a code of rules and interpretations that are the foundation for creating fair and equitable competition for all student participants. However, the creation of these rules is only one third of the formula for success - only one leg of a three legged stool that must always be balanced to provide fairness for all.

Successful meets require a core of knowledgeable workers. The development of individuals who are knowledgeable about track and field rules is the second leg of the stool. While some states have registered officials groups, in most states, athletic directors and track and field coaches recruit volunteers from parent and community groups as well as school faculty members to assist with officiating responsibilities at interscholastic meets. Therefore, it falls to these track and field leaders to educate the numerous individuals who are necessary to run a successful meet. School administrators and their track and field coaches should obtain a copy of the three NFHS track and field publications ‡° the rules book, case book and the officials manual. Once volunteers have been secured, they should be provided with the NFHS rules materials so that they can become knowledgeable of and familiar with the NFHS rules and interpretations prior to a meet. The committee suggests that training seminars also be held to develop the familiarity with the rules so that events are run by the rules and fair competition is provided all student participants.

The third leg of the stool is the actual management of the meet. The NFHS Officials Manual provides a simple, yet thorough, description of each worker's responsibility whether volunteer or registered official. The mission of each worker should be fairness to all participants. That fairness starts with making sure that all timing, marks and judgments are made by workers who understand the rules.

Well run regular season meets ensure that, as student participants progress toward post season competition, they will be involved in meets that have a knowledgeable work force. There is little that is more frustrating for coaches, administrators, state association staff and student participants and their parents when participants are disqualified during a post season meet even though they were allowed to compete during the regular season wearing an illegal uniform, using an improper technique, or using illegal equipment.

Keeping fairness to each participant at the core, will inspire that meets are run consistently and fairly. Rules, educating coaches, participants and workers about those rules, and properly managing events keeps the three legged stool properly balanced, which creates a winning combination for all.

Source: National Federation of High School Athletic Associations. © NFHS