SPEARING DEFINITION REVISED (2-20-1c): Continuing the focus of risk minimization, the definition for the illegal helmet contact act of spearing was revised. Spearing is an act by any player who initiates contact against an opponent at the shoulders or below with the crown (top portion) of his/her helmet.

CORRECTING A DOWN NUMBER ADDED (5-1-1b NEW): The referee is granted authorization to correct the number of the next down before a new series of downs is awarded.

FREE-KICK FORMATIONS REVISED (6-1-3; 6-1-4 NEW; 6-1 PENALTY): In a revision of the 2014 rule change regarding free-kick formations, the timing of the foul for not having at least four players on each side of the kicker now occurs when the ball is kicked.

EXCESSIVE CONTACT ADDED TO UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS (9-4-3g): With an emphasis on risk minimization, the unnecessary roughness provisions were expanded. No player or nonplayer shall make any other contact with an opponent, including a defenseless player, which is deemed unnecessary or excessive and which incites roughness.

ROUGHING THE PASSER PENALTY CLARIFIED (9-4 PENALTY): An automatic first down is not awarded for a 5-yard incidental face mask penalty against the passer.

DEAD-BALL PENALTY ENFORCEMENT MODIFIED (10-2-5): The distance penalty for unsportsmanlike, nonplayer or dead-ball personal fouls committed by teams can offset. Equal numbers of 15-yard penalties by both teams will cancel and remaining penalties may be enforced.


A contestant (or team) may participate in no more than 9 interschool football contests, inclusive of sectional championships. The 9th game is permitted, with section approval, for teams who do not qualify for sectional play. For the teams involved in the sectional tournament, the maximum number of contests shall be 10. For those sections involved in the state championship three additional games are permitted for a total of 13 games for the season: 1 game for regionals, 1 game for semifinals, and 1 game for championships. Interschool contacts (both scrimmages and contests) in football shall be permitted only in those schools which have an adequate number of students on the squad who are physically fit, eligible and prepared for each game as follows: Eleven man football—16 or more; eight man or nine man football—14 or more; six man football—12 or more. All football games of the NYSPHSAA, Inc. shall be played following National Federation Football rules. The first two (2) days of practice must be noncontact, without the use of protective equipment and mechanical blocking devises. The use of cones, ropes, ladders, step-over dummies, soft hand shields and similar devices as teaching aids is permissible. Helmets may be worn. The next three (3) days provide a transition from the conditioning phase to full contact. During this phase, players are permitted to wear a helmet and shoulder pads. Blocking dummies, sleds and similar devices are permitted. During this phase, player to player tackling drills, team scrimmaging, running full contact plays, etc., are not permitted. The following six (6) days consist of contact practice with full protective equipment and the use of all training devises. Full player to player contact and team scrimmaging is permitted. Four (4) additional practices must be completed by the individual and team prior to the first contest. Interscholastic scrimmages may commence after eleven (11) practices have been completed by the individual player and team. Interscholastic contests may commence after fifteen (15) practices have been completed by the individual player and team. (May 2010)

NOTE: For any violation of this rule, the head coach will be suspended from the next regularly scheduled contest. The coach may not be present at the game site nor communicate in any manner during the contest with any person present at the site. Not being present at the site means the disqualified coach is not present in the locker room, on the sidelines, in the stands or site area before, during or after the game. The minimum time between interschool football scrimmages shall be two days. It is recommended that a physician be present at all football games. If the services of a physician cannot be obtained, coverage should be provided by persons qualified to give emergency care (e.g. physician assistants, emergency squads, athletic trainers). For other requirements see p. 110.
1. A waiver to rule 1-5-1b, 6 and 7 for home and visiting jerseys for the 2012-2014 seasons. (Jan. 2012)
Scrimmages: Football scrimmages shall be governed by the following: (a) no official score is kept, (b) no definite time is set or kept, (c) coaches are permitted on the field to provide instruction and make corrections, (d) different configurations governing possession time and down and distance situations (than those normally used in a game) may be used to govern play, (e) unlimited time-outs and stoppages of play are permitted and encouraged for the purpose of both providing instruction and adequate rest periods, (f ) the use of officials would be permitted and encouraged whenever possible for the purpose of instruction regarding the rules and proper application of rules, (g) no kickoffs are permitted, (h) punts and extra point kick attempts may involve live play until the ball is kicked. Punts may not be advanced and all fumbled punts and muffs will be blown dead immediately, (i) the total number of plays should be recorded to prevent an individual player from being involved in more than a maximum of 90 live contact plays.