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NFHS Rules-writing Activity

RULES COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS for all sports, except football, are made by the National Federation of State High School Associations Board of Directors upon recommendation of state executive officers. A system of rotation has been established through which each NFHS election section will have representation on each rules committee. This procedure enables states to have representatives take a turn on committees and at the same time, enables to the NFHS to benefit from all talent available. The rotating principle provides wider participation with the possibility of providing more people the benefits of rules-making experience. Each committee has a nonrotation chairperson which ensures continuity in a particular area of responsibility. All terms of appointees are varied in order to maintain the rotation principle. Terms on the committee are stabilized for four years, thus making it possible for the committee personnel to rotate, with one person from each of two sections being named each year. Each rules committee maintains liaison with other major rules-writing bodies, in order to have the rules at the interscholastic level in tune with a particular athletic activity. Each rules committee is completely and totally independent of a similar rules committee of another organization.

A RULES REVIEW COMMITTEE consisting of staff persons serving as rules interpreters evaluates any recommended rules changes submitted by each rules committee. The Rules Review Committee reviews proposed rules for substantive soundness, for budgetary impact on high schools and state associations, and for consistency with NFHS policy and publishing style. The Rules Review Committee then forwards its consent or other comments, in writing, to the Board of Directors. The Rules Review Committee and the Board of Directors afford opportunities for persons aggrieved by rules decisions to seek relief. The procedure afforded by the Rules Review Committee for pursuing appeals is available by contacting the NFHS at

STATE ASSOCIATIONS are not required to use NFHS playing rules. However, most states use NFHS playing rules for most sports. If a state is to have representation on a committee, it must follow the NFHS playing rules for the sport. If the rules give an option, a state may mandate either and retain membership on the committee. Typically, NFHS rules place a major emphasis on risk management and efficiency in administration of contests. Also, the NFHS provides a wide range of companion services (rules interpretation meetings, videos, examinations, etc.) which encourage use of NFHS rules.

THE RULES-WRITING PROGRAM was inaugurated by the NFHS in order for high schools to have a direct voice in developing playing rules governing interscholastic competition. It is fundamental that organizations sponsoring broad programs of competition have the obligation of constructing playing rules which will ensure the particular activity is conducted in accordance with the purposes of their programs. For high schools, this requires the activity be in agreement with secondary education philosophy. The catalyst which started the NFHS publication program was the belief that high school representatives should have a voice in constructing playing rules for high school competition. The NFHS was denied representation on the National Football Rules Committee. As a result, the Executive Committee appointed a Football Rules Writing Committee and the first Official Interscholastic Football Rules Book appeared in 1930. The Football Committee is unique among NFHS rules committees in that it was inaugurated on a one-vote-per-state basis and continues to operate on that principle.


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National Federation of State High School Associations
PO Box 690 • Indianapolis, IN 46206 • PHONE: 317.972.6900 • FAX: 317.822.5700


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