From uniforms to the coin toss, football rules are in the details

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The rules for the uniforms for high school football players goes right down to the numbers.

High school football players in South Dakota follow the uniform rules set by the National Federation of State High School Activities Associations (NFHS).

The uniform guidelines are a link on the South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDSHAA) website.

Here’s a few of the rules about the numbers on the front and backs of the jersey.

“Through the 2023 season, the body of the number (the continuous horizontal bars and vertical strokes)
shall be either: (a) a continuous color(s) contrasting with the jersey color; or (b) the same solid color(s) as the jersey with a minimum of one border that is at least ¼-inch in width of a single solid contrasting color,” the rules on the SDHSAA website said.

The entire body of the number, excluding any border should be about 1 1/2 inches wide.

The numbers must be at least 8 inches high on the front and at least 10 inches high on the back.

The NFHS rules require jerseys to be numbered 1 to 99 that are clearly visible.

Uniforms must also meet requirements for the width of decorative striping. For example, a side seam cannot be wider than four inches. But any non-white color from this may not appear with the jersey’s body.

The visiting team should wear white jerseys while the home team can wear a dark color in contrast to white.

The visitors are responsible for not wearing colors similar to the home team but if there is doubt, according to the NFHS the referees could require the home team to switch jerseys.

Rules cover how large an American flag can be on the uniform and the size and number of logos and trademarks on the uniform. One American flag with a maximum size of 2 by 3 inches is allowed on each piece of the uniform.

This is considered illegal equipment under the rules: “A visible logo/trademark or reference exceeding 2¼ square inches and exceeding 2¼ inches in any dimension.”

Also, tinted face shields are not allowed.

The coin toss is kind of a big deal

In 2016, the SDHSAA started to re-work the coin toss process, according to its website.

The coin toss determines which team gets to choose to kick or receive at the game’s start.

“The SDHSAA Football Advisory committee heard from several coaches and officials over the past few years about the inconsistency of when a coin toss took place and the issues it created for coaches and athletes alike in pre‐game warm‐ups and planning,” the organization said on its website.

The association adopted the NFHS rules which specify when the coin is tossed, how the captains must stand and how game officials will escort the captains to the center of the field.

The SDHSAA coin toss rules which were adopted after concerns were shared prior to 2016.

“Again, much of the rationale from the advisory committee was to ensure a standard process that would fit all schools, and also reinforce mechanics that are already laid out in rule code but simply have not been adhered to in the past,” the SDHSAA said on its website.

Mercy until the state championship

The state has a mercy rule that applies to all 11A, 11B and 9-man regular season football games.

The 2020 mercy rule applies when a team gets a 35-point lead in the third or fourth quarter. The clock continues to run except for timeouts and after touchdowns.

The game ends if a team has 50-point lead when the first half ends.

Only the 35-point lead running clock rule applies to championship games. A championship game won’t end if a team has a 50-point lead at halftime.

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