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From the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations

2009 Track and Field Rules Changes

The National Federation of State High School Associations has made the following changes to its track and field rules for 2009:

3-9-2                          Specifies that for gun starts only a closed barreled starter's pistol may be used by the starter.

Rationale:  It is not appropriate to use a live weapon at an educational event and in most cases state law prohibits firearms on school grounds and school events.  The starter's pistol is adequate to produce the desired result for the starting of a race.

3-9-6                          When fully automatic timing (FAT) is used, timing shall be recorded in one one-hundredths of a second and all ties for place finishes and/or determining qualifiers for a subsequent round shall be broken by using timing to one one-thousandths of a second if the system allows.

Rationale:  Fully automated timing is considered accurate and reliable enough to use 1/100th to break ties and advance competitors to subsequent rounds of competition and is therefore reliable and accurate enough to break ties to determine final places or lane assignments.

3-9-9 (new)                  Indoor and outdoor meets using fully automatic timing (FAT) may be started by a .32 or .22 caliber starter's pistol (closed barrel) or electronic, gunless devise for record purposes.

Rationale:  The FAT systems do not require the noise of a .32 caliber, and a .22 caliber is clearly heard by competitors and provides adequate smoke for manual timing. 

6-4-9c, 6-5-9c          A competitor in the throwing events may enter and exit the circle without a foul providing it occurs within the time allowed for the trial and before the competitor starts his/her attempt beginning with the pause.

Rationale:  The competitor should be able to exit the circle and return to dry his/her hands, clean his/her shoes, wipe off the throwing implement etc. without penalty providing the throw is completed within the allotted time which begins when the competitor is called "up."

7-4-11, 7-5-18          Deletes the option for the event judge to place a cloth marker on the crossbar for sighting purposes.

Rationale:  The current crossbars are of a bright contrasting color which no longer present a sighting problem for competitors and therefore the use of the cloth is no longer in use for competition.

7-5-3  (new)        Visible etchings which appear on poles shall not meet the requirement of the manufacturer's pole rating appearing on the pole in a contrasting color.

Rationale:  Most poles have an etching on the pole which is a code to the manufacturer.  This code most frequently does not correspond to the proper weight rating for the pole.  The rating appearing as the mark in contrasting color is established by the manufacturer is clearly visible and serves only this purpose.  The requirement is for purposes of risk minimization and should be adhered to strictly.

7-5-29                         Clarifies the original intent to permit a competitor in the pole vault to abort the approach and in stopping plant the pole and momentum causes his/her feet to leave the ground without being considered a foul.  It is a foul if a vaulter leaves the ground in an attempt and fails to clear the crossbar.

Rationale:  The change in 7-5-29 last year by the committee was not intended to allow a vaulter to abort a vault but rather to have the opportunity to stop and abort the approach.   However, the language was not clear and as written allowed a vaulter to abort a vault.  This change clearly reflects the original intent of the committee to abort only the approach and have the opportunity to restart the approach. This exception is appropriate for the high school vaulter.

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

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