MIAA Football Notes
Dear MIAA Football Schools,
As we all prepare for the upcoming school year, the change to NFHS Football Rules is on the minds of many. The officials’ boards around the state have been working very, very hard to educate their members on the new set of rules. Their work began in earnest in the spring and has continued throughout the summer. A huge thanks goes out to all of the board leaders and NFHS rules “trainers” for all of their hard work and efforts to support officials as they transition to a new set of rules. Many coaches have also worked to learn about the new rules and share thoughts and questions with each other!
A few items for all;
1) NFHS football hash marks are placed on the field differently than NCAA hash marks. NFHS hash marks are 53’4” from each sideline. These hash marks split the width of the field (160’) in three even sections. All MIAA games are to be played with NFHS hash marks.
In the case of fields currently lined with NCAA hash marks: officials and visiting teams will be looking for temporary hash marks or other indicators of NFHS hash mark locations. An example of an indicator could be large orange traffic cone(s) outside the end of the end zone indicating the 53’4” hash mark location. Officials will use these indicators to approximate the NFHS hash mark line. Another indicator could be temporary NFHS marks every 5 or 10 yards.
2) Timing of quarters – A request from the MIAA to the NFHS for one final year of non-12-minute periods was submitted but not approved this past June. NFHS rules state each period is 12 minutes with 1 minute intermission between periods. Halftime can be from 10-20 minutes. There is a mandatory 3 minute Warm-Up Period following halftime intermission. The game officials will work to have this posted on the game clock and indicate when the 3-minute period is to begin.
3) Point differential/running clock - The NFHS permits state associations to establish a point differential/running clock policy. MIAA schools will be using the following policy for the 2019-20 school year:
“A running clock will be used: when a point differential reaches 42 points at the beginning of or any time during the 3rd quarter or a 30 point differential at the beginning of or any time during the 4th quarter. It will continue for the remainder of the game.”
4) Electronic devices - NFHS Rule 1 – 6 address coaches field equipment:
Art 1 Electronic communication devices including but not limited to audio recorder, Local Area network (LAN) … shall not be used to communicate with a player except during an outside 9-yard mark conference.
Art 2 Electronic communication devices including but not limited to audio recorder, Local Area network (LAN), still photograph(s), film, analog or digital video(s) and/or internet depiction may be used by coaches and non-players.
5) We are working on a “New NFHS Rules for 2019” information sheet to be disseminated to parents, booster groups and others to better understand the differences when attending the game. This will be sent out in the next few weeks.
6) 40/25 Second Clock – Officials will be working with new timing parameters of 40/25 second clock intervals. This will be managed by the officials on the field as many schools do not have a visible 40/25 second clock. During the past years, officials have worked diligently to efficiently manage getting the ball ready for play but with the new NFHS rules, the effort to adhere to 40/25 second intervals has created a new emphasis. Thoughts to consider as we help to manage the 40/25 second clock efforts:
It will be extremely important to get the ball on the ground and ready for play as soon as possible. To that end, it will be highly recommended that game balls for both teams be on both sidelines. This means that both teams will either have to count on the opposing team’s ball boys to administer their game balls, or that each team will have to place ball boys on both sidelines. Additionally, it is recommended for each team to provide a ‘ball retriever’ to assist the ball boys. In the ideal situation there would be two ball boys (one for each team) and one ball retriever on each sideline.
It will also be extremely important to get the chains set and ready quickly for the next play. The chain crew, but most importantly, the down box/marker must hustle (and sometimes run) to the succeeding spot. If the school is able, it could be valuable to have an ‘alternate’ down box on the opposite side of the field that can hold the previous spot in case it is necessary to return to that spot for some reason. In that scenario, the ‘alternate’ down box would remain at the previous line of scrimmage until the ball was marked ‘ready for play’ at the succeeding spot and then move to the spot for the ensuing snap.
If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or contact one of your local football official board/leaders. Additionally, Tom Azevedo will be the football state interpreter for MIAA/NFHS football rules. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
On behalf of the MIAA Football Committee and all football playing schools, I wish you and your school the best during the upcoming season.
MIAA Football Liaison
Head Coaches Survey Results
MIAA Football Rules Meeting for Coaches
Dear MIAA Coach,
A subcommittee of the MIAA Football Committee has been working on needs to help in the transition to NFHS football rules which begin in the fall of 2019. These efforts include the support and educational opportunities for coaches and officials during the next 6 months as everyone prepares for the fall 2019.
The subcommittee developed a plan to hold three meetings during this time, first meeting at end of March/early April, second meeting in June, and a third meeting in August. The meeting is planned to help educate both officials and coaches on the differences between NCAA and NFHS football rules. The first step is a combined meeting with officials and coaches relative to major areas of difference. Each meeting will be approximately 2 hours in length, broken down to a 60-minute presentation on 8-10 broad areas of the game and the differences (NCAA to NFHS) followed by a question and answer period.
To accommodate as many coaches and officials as possible, meetings are being organized regionally. The meetings are scheduled for:
Bridgewater-Raynham HS Weds. April 3 7-9 PM
Stoneham HS Thurs. April 4 7-9 PM
Shrewsbury HS Weds. April 10 7-9 PM
Wahconah HS (Berkshires) Weds. April 10 7-9 PM
Westfield HS Thurs. April 11 7-9 PM
Meetings are planned to be held in the high school auditorium.
Extra Week of Football 2019
At the recent meeting of the MIAA Football committee in February, the committee discussed needs and requests around the “extra 1A week” for the 2019 football season. Below is the information which will be in the official 2019 MIAA Football Format. If any coaches had questions on this information, check in with your school AD.
“Extra Week” Requests 2019
2. Most Wins
4. Record against common opponents
On behalf of the MIAA Football Committee, NFHS Rules Sub-Committee and all football playing schools of the MIAA, thank you for your extra effort to learn about NFHS rules for the fall of 2019.
MIAA Associate Director
MIAA Football Committee Liaison
2019 Scheduling with Extra Week
The next football season of 2019-20 presents an extra “1A week” during the qualifying period due to the early date for Labor Day and the late date of Thanksgiving. This scenario presented itself in 2013 and 2014 as well. With projected sectional cut-off dates for North & South – Oct. 27, 2019 and Central & West - Nov. 3, 2019, schools will have an extra week to meet the minimum and maximum number of played games listed in the chart below.
Minimum and Maximum Game Limitations (Qualifying Period)
Beginning September 3, 2019 through the projected Sectional Cut-Off dates, teams must schedule and compete in the minimum and maximum number of games below:
Section North/South Central/West
Minimum # of Games Played 6 7
Maximum # of Games Played 7 8
With the maximum season limit of 11 games, which includes 3 weeks of sectional/non-playoff games in the North & South and 2 weeks of sectional/non-playoff games in the Central & West, all schools will have a “bye” week between the first possible game day of Sept. 3 and the cut-off dates listed above. The table below details the exact weekly dates.
FOOTBALL WEEKLY CALENDAR 2019
Practice Begins 8/16
First Contest Allowed 9/3
Week 1A, 9/6
Week 1, 9/13
Week 2, 9/20
Week 3, 9/27
Week 4, 10/4
Week 5, 10/11
Week 6, 10/18
Week 7, 10/25
Week 8; Sectional Quarterfinals (North & South), 11/1
Week 9; Sectional Semifinals, 11/8
Week 10; Sectional Finals, 11/15
Week 11, State Semifinals, 11/22
Week 12, Thanksgiving, 11/28
Week 13, State Finals, 12/7
MIAA Board Passes Federation Rules for 2019
8/8/2018 - The MIAA Board of Directors voted during an August 8th meeting that all MIAA sports will follow National Federation rules beginning 2019. This will effect volleyball, baseball and football.
Our association was not in favor of this change. We were never asked to present our opinion or given an opportunity prior to debate or research the issue. A quick review of the National Federation website reveals a summary of the NFHS and NCAA rules differences prepared by an independent third party; George Demetriou. The "2018 Major Football Rules Differences Between NFHS & NCAA" document is below.
October 17th, 6:30pm
MHSFCA Executive Meeting,
Xaverian Brothers HS
November 14th, 6:30pm
MHSFCA Executive Meeting,
Xaverian Brothers HS
December 6th & 7th
Super Bowl / State Championships
December, TBA, 7pm-9pm
31st Annual Eastern MA & NH College Football Night
Tewksbury Country Club
1880 Main Street, Tewksbury
December 12th, 6:30pm
MHSFCA Executive Broad Meeting,
Xaverian Brothers HS
All-State Nominations Due
Shriner Game Nominations Due