Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Local Sports

August 14, 2013

UIL establishes new grid rules geared toward safety; adds fourth playoff team per district in 3A

By TONY EIERDAM

In an interest to keep high school football player safety high, the University Interscholastic League has put in several news rules for the upcoming 2013 grid season.

The most visible rules change is the “Football Practice Limits” rule that states “during the regular season and post season, no football player is allowed to participate in more than 90 minutes of full contact practice per week.”

For the purpose of the rule, “full contact” is defined by live game simulations at full speed or any competitive drill where players take each other to the ground. The UIL claims the rule is designed to limit live action drills and game simulations to help prevent injuries.

A team can still practice in full pads for the entire practice, but is now limited to 90 minutes a week of what the UIL describes as full contact.

Mineral Wells Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence said the rule will not affect his team.

With a small roster with little depth, the Rams understandably do not engage in much full contact during the football season to help avoid injuries.

The “big” rule, according to Lawrence, is the new “targeting” rule put out by the NCAA.

The UIL abides by NCAA rules.

The “targeting” rule states that any player who uses the crown of his helmet or forearm to hit a ball carrier in the head will be ejected for one game.

If a player is ejected in the second half, he will have to sit out the first half of the next game.

“The time limit on contact drills does not bother us, but the big rule I think is the targeting rules,” Lawrence said. “The new rule states that if a player launches himself into the head and shoulders of an opponent or use a forearm to the head area or the crown of the helmet it is an automatic ejection.

“I like the rule for the safety of the kids. But it leaves a lot of judgement for the officials, and I am hesitant as to how each individual official will enforce it.

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