They say that change is inevitable. This is true in life, and in the world of high school athletics. As each year passes, changes are made to rules and regulations of high school sports that affect the way the games are played and officiated.
There will be plenty of changes coming this next school year, but here are a few that will be prominent.
The eight four-team groups will then play a semifinal round and finals round to determine a champion. For example, when Rocky Hill played Ansonia this past season it was in the semifinal round. Under the new format, the two powerhouse schools would have be playing in the championship game. This new format will also shorten the season, which is good news for those who had to battle their opponents and Mother Nature last season.
The committee also defined defenseless player, which will now be defined as, “a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury.” Both of these offenses will now be penalized as illegal personal contact penalties, resulting in a 15-yard penalty.
Both targeting and defenseless player have become a point of emphasis in the college and professional ranks over the past few years due to the rising number of concussions and head related injuries. In college, targeting result in an automatic ejection of the player committing the penalty and in the pros, a 15-yard penalty is enforced and the player can be subject to a fine from the league.
This change makes the high school rule the same as college and professional basketball. It will eliminate several “line violations” that would occur on a regular basis.
Another point of emphasis this upcoming year will be to continue a better protocol on how to handle concussions. The CIAC has continued to work with the NHFS to come up with guidelines to be followed if a student athlete suffers a concussion in practice or competition.
The two organizations have emphasized better education for players, coaches, parents, and officials over the last couple of years. One of the ways that they have modified the system for next season is to limits the amount of contact, outside of the games, that is allowed during football season. Coaches will now have stricter mandates for the amount of contact that is permitted during practice. This combined with the rules changes listed above will help reduce the likelihood of concussions or other head related injuries for student athletes.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin