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2014-2015 High School Rules Changes Proposals Include Eliminating “No Jewelry” Rule

The NFHS has sent out their rules changes proposals for the 2014-2015 high school season, and among them are two of the more tedious rules for high school coaches to manage.

See all of the proposed rules changes, with entire rationales for those changes, here.

One proposal would eliminate the restriction on jewelry in high school meets: one that doesn’t exist in USA Swimming competition. The rule change proposal, submitted by Robert Lehr of Connecticut, is rationalized by the fact that it “does not create a situation of concern for risk minimization” and that the rule creates “administrative burden.”

Another proposed change is a Note addition to rule 3-2-2, the one that involves disqualifying an athlete from the rest of the meet after missing a race in a championship meet. The note would allow state associations to waive this rule, on the basis of the fact that the Declared False Start rule makes this rule almost moot: there’s “no advantage” to a team to simply skip a race as compared to filing a DFS, and it can unfairly penalize a competitor who “may inadvertently and unintentionally miss an event due to confusion or lack of attention/awareness.”

Another major change is that the rule disqualifying relays when a swimmer reenters the water during the race. Instead, Bethany Brookens of Colorado has proposed that the disqualification only happen if they interfere with the race, but that the offending swimmer should still be disqualified from the rest of the meet even with no interference.

In Brookens’ rationale, she feels that there is NO rationale for penalizing the entire relay.

Scott Morrison from Maine proposed multiple rules. One includes requiring competitors to put their foot at the front edge of the platform when the referee blows the long whistle, rather than when the command to “Take your mark” is given. Morrison feels as though the current rule causes unnecessary delay from the few who don’t immediately put their toes over the edge.

In a related change, Morrison wants to change rule 8-1-5 that allows swimmers to leave the block on the command “Stand up.” He believes that this is a safety issue when the blocks have fins on the back.

Comments

  1. Greg Rooker says:
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    Striking the no jewelry rule is a great idea! The fact of additional administrative duties is absolutely correct. What was the origin of this rule? Probably a Basketball or Baseball rule that naturally fits all sports.

  2. HSRef says:
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    I have a better idea – can we strike the entire NFHS rule book? It is a complete mess. Just use the USA Swimming Rule Book…please?

  3. TheTroubleWithX says:
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    I definitely wouldn’t mind scrapping the no jewelry rule, but I think it does have at least one possible benefit: keeping things out of the pool. I had a swimmer lose a cap in the middle of his 50 free this year at our state championship meet. The swimmer in the next heat literally swam over it before finally got the starter’s attention to delay the following heat so we could fish it out. I can definitely see swimmers losing earrings, wristbands, hair scrunchies, etc. To some degree, that’s their problem, and I wouldn’t oppose the rule change, but just a thought.

    Regarding rule 3-2-2, I think it depends on the championship format and the ability of alternates to swim if someone doesn’t show up to the blocks. Bottom line: if you don’t take advantage of a spot you earned in finals — and that prevents someone else from swimming — I think there needs to be some sort of penalty attached to that. I think that’s the one situation where there is a difference between a DFS and simply not showing up.

    • kcswimjk says:
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      @ THETROUBLEWITHX: I completely agree with you regarding swims in finals; it’s not right for one team to just skip a finals race (and take away potential swims/points away from other teams).

      But doesn’t USA Swimming have rules about this as well? I remember as an AG swimmer in the 1990′s that missing a race in finals (or one that required a positive check-in) resulted in getting DQ’ed from a swimmer’s next race. Maybe it’s changed since then…

      I think what some HS coaches don’t like about 3-2-2 in its present form is that it also penalizes swimmers for missing races in PRELIMS. Personally, as a HS coach, I don’t mind it: HS meets aren’t like 3-4 USA swim meets where everyone’s swimming in 4 races per day and you need to conserve your energy to get ready for your big race in finals.

      With seasonal HS athletes who have (at most) 2 individuals and 2 relays to swim over the course of 1-2 days, the rule is an incentive to keep kids engaged in the meet, and it helps keep from seeing a lot of empty lanes throughout a meet. If a HS kid is texting, sleeping, chatting in the locker room, etc. and just misses a race, this rule at least attaches a measurable cost to that decision that isn’t just a coach being cranky :)

      I’ve also never seen a meet referee be gratuitously stringent about enforcing it; when the scoreboard display froze at our championship meet two years ago and the running heat wasn’t displayed throughout prelims, the referee “pardoned” a couple of kids who missed individual races.

      Would love to hear other thoughts.

  4. AR swimmer says:
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    The problem with making it apply to finals and not prelims is in cases where a high school state meet is not prelim/finals. Arkansas is timed finals only and a rules application for finals of prelim/finals meets only causes confusion amongst coaches who do not understand that timed finals is the same as finals ONLY. I welcome the jewelry change. I honestly think the restriction on caps (no club caps allowed) is rather silly also. Let the kids where whatever headgear they want!

  5. VS says:
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    Please eliminate the jewelry rule, as a coach, I feel like the jewelry police when I should be focusing on swims and times!! How is an earring detrimental to a 50 sprint>

  6. Larry Franzman says:
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    I seem to remember, a number of years back, that the jewelry rule was instituted with safety as a factor. A swimmer wearing some form of jewelry around his/her neck gets it caught on a lane line. Who assumes the responsibility if the swimmer is injured?

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