The start of the school season brings the start of the fall and winter sports. Many of us equate fall sports, especially, with one word: football. While this is a natural and correct assumption, there are other fall and winters sports that people are just as excited about like: soccer, volleyball, wrestling and, of course, basketball. You can find fans split between all sports in upcoming months – cheering and lamenting on the sidelines for their teams and players. While fans are enjoying the games, they may notice some changes in the way high school games are played this season:


According to, The National Federation of State High School Associations announced there are some rule changes for the 2018 high school football season throughout the United States:

  1. Players with missing or improperly worn equipment during play will be removed for at least one down, unless it’s directly attributable to a foul by the opponent. In a related change, the head coach is responsible for assuring all players are legally equipped. The penalty for use of illegal equipment remains unchanged, and will result in an unsportsmanlike foul charged to the coach.
  2. Another change provides another option for teams on fouls committed by the kicking team during free kicks and scrimmage kicks. Now, the receiving team can accept a 5-yard penalty from the succeeding spot. The previous three options remain: accept a 5-yard penalty from the previous spot and have the kicking team re-kick, put the ball in play at the inbounds spot 25 yards beyond the previous spot or decline the penalty and put the ball in play at the inbounds spot.
  3. Also, changes were made in relation to a defenseless player, where provisions don’t apply to a passer until a legal forward pass is thrown. The passer continues to be a defenseless player until the pass ends or the passer moves to participate in the play.


Per, these were some of the NFHS changes for soccer:

  1. Teams will be reversing their home and visiting uniforms, with the home teams wearing dark jerseys and socks and the visiting teams wearing solid white jerseys and solid white socks
  2. The committee is now permitting a player to participate while wearing a head covering, if the player meets certain criteria and if the applicable state association approved the request. If approved by the state high school association, players could participate with a head covering for medical or cosmetic reasons or for religious reasons.
  3. When a player commits an offense against an opponent within its team penalty area that denies the opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, a yellow card is given if the offense was an attempt to play the ball. Previously in this scenario, the player received a red card in addition to the team receiving a penalty kick.


On, here are some of the 2018-2019 volleyball changes:

  1. After a team is charged with unnecessary delay, no further substitutions may be requested by that team until the next completed rally. This change eliminates further delay of the set by removing the option of requesting additional substitutions after a team is charged with an unnecessary delay.
  2. In its ongoing effort to address risk minimization, the Volleyball Rules committee approved a new rule, which states that between sets, teams may warm up in their playing area; however, volleyballs may not be hit over the net.


On, here are some of the basketball changes for the year:

  1. It (basketball) shall have a deeply-pebbled, granulated surface, with horizontally shaped panels bonded tightly to the rubber carcass. According to NFHS, the rationale behind this change is that “the additional words give manufacturers a better sense of what a deeply-pebbled cover should look like.”
  2. A player shall not be the first to touch the ball after it has been in team control in the frontcourt, if he/she or a teammate last touched or was touched by the ball in the frontcourt before it went to the backcourt. EXCEPTION: Any player located in the backcourt may recover a ball deflected from the frontcourt by the defense. The rationale behind this change is “to ensure that a team is not unfairly disadvantaged on a deflected pass.


On, here are some of the 2018-2019 wrestling changes:

  1. No additional manufacturer’s logo, trademark or promotional references are allowed on the uniform.
  2. A wrestler is now inbounds if two supporting points of either wrestler are inside or on the boundary line. This could be two supporting points of one wrestler or one supporting point of each wrestler.
  3. Repeatedly dropping to one knee, as well as one hand, to break locked hands is considered unsportsmanlike conduct.

All of these changes (and more) have become effective with the start of the school season. One of the main things to consider when attending the games and events this year, is the fact our students are remaining active. This is a huge win as more of our youth are now considered obese.

PHIT America recently quoted findings of inactivity in a recent opinion article. The article, written in conjunction with the U.S. Army, speaks to the obesity of children and their ability to be ineligible for military service based on being overweight (“OP-ED: U.S. ARMY & PHIT AMERICA RESPOND TO OBESITY NEWS National Defense Is At Risk If Physical Inactivity Is Not Reversed”). While addressing the military issue in the article, the organizations also cited some alarming statistics from other health organizations.

The PHIT America article states, “In a recent study of global fitness, conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, U.S. kids ranked 47th out of 50 countries in global fitness. This is not surprising because in a separate study by the Physical Activity Council, the percentage of U.S. children who are physically active just three times a week in fitness-related activities has dropped from nearly 29 percent to 24.8 percent in the last year. Suffice it to say, American children are increasingly more physically inactive.”

With those startling numbers, we should definitely take an active role in the health of our students and look to find ways to keep them healthy and active in the coming year.


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