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February 14, 2014

Impact or no impact?

High school athletic associations in Iowa and across the nation belong to a national organization that provides rules and guidance for interscholastic sports and activities. The National Federation of State High School Associations is recognized as a leader in providing rules and interpretations that may be followed by the state associations.

State associations, due to their autonomy, generally follow the NFHS guidelines. The reason to do so is to keep as level a playing field across the country, especially when teams compete across state lines.

This year, the emphasis at the middle school, high school and college level has been in regards to illegal contact or contact that impedes a player. The second regards the intentional foul. Below is the point of emphasis the NFHS provided to coaches, officials and players before the season began.

Guidelines to Enforce Illegal Contact —When contact occurs that affects the rhythm, speed, quickness and balance of the player, illegal contact has occurred. When illegal contact occurs, fouls must be called. Officials must not refrain from calling these type of actions that create an advantage for the opponent. Illegal contact must be called regardless of time and score.

Intentional Foul — An intentional foul is a personal or technical foul that may or may not be premeditated and is not based solely on the severity of the act. It is contact that:

• Neutralizes an opponent’s obvious advantageous position.

• Contact on an opponent who is clearly not in the play.

• May be excessive contact.

• Contact that is not necessarily premeditated or based solely on the severity of the act.

This type of foul may be strategic to stop the clock or create a situation that may be tactically done for the team taking action. This foul may be innocent in severity, but without any playing of the ball, it becomes an intentional act such as a player wrapping their arms around an opponent. The act may be excessive in its intensity and force of the action. These actions are all intentional fouls and are to be called as such.

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