Last Updated: Feb 11, 2024 - 2:40:29 PM

BAFA Rules Changes for 2011
Dec 28, 2023 - 2:31:51 PM

When NCAA switched to a 2-year cycle in 2009 for the production of the rulebook (and we followed suit in 2010), we did not know whether or not they would make any rules changes for their 2010 season. In the event, they did, citing pressing safety considerations as the reason.

The BAFA Rules Committee has considered these changes (plus one other) and has adopted them for 2011. They take effect from 1st March 2011 (except for the remainder of the BUAFL season).

The only playing rule change is that it is now illegal to form a wedge on a kickoff return. If there are 3 or more players aligned shoulder to shoulder within two yards of each other during the first phase of a kickoff return, this will be a 15-yard penalty from the spot of the foul, or the dead ball spot, whichever is worse. The rule change exempts onside kicks, and also kicks that go into the endzone and result in a touchback.

The rule was originally introduced because NCAA noted a number of instances of concussion among kicking team players sent down the field at high speed to break up the wedge. Setting up a wedge constitutes the foul whether there is contact or not - which means that the formation will likely disappear quickly.

A second change affects players who leave the field due to injury. Normally, an injured player has to remain off the field for at least one play. However, there was an exception (rarely used) that allowed a team to take a timeout so that the player could return immediately. That provision has now been removed - an injured player MUST stay off the field. By interpretation, the rule will not prevent a player who was injured on the last play of one period from participating in the first play of the next.

Coupled with this change is one that affects the way injured players are managed on the sideline. Players may not now return to the game until they receive approval of medical personnel designated by their team. It is up to teams to decide who this is. It could be a coach with first aid training, a trainer, or they may wish to call upon the services of the medical personnel provided by game management. Teams should decide before each game how they are going to handle these situations.

The rule change also requires officials and coaches to give special attention to players who exhibit signs of a concussion. A list of possible signs of concussion has been produced as an aide to this.

The third and final rule change affects teams whose field markings are seriously deficient. In recent months, some teams have attempted to play on fields with no American football markings at all (e.g. a rugby pitch). On these, cones or other devices have been used instead of lines. As well as making a mockery of the game, it also poses a serious safety risk if players and officials do not accurately know where the boundary lines are.

Therefore, from 1st March, if the sidelines, goal lines or end lines are missing or incomplete, the game will not start. Beginning in 2012, this rule will also apply if there are not yard line across the field at least every 10 yards (remember, 5 yards is the norm).

Finally, a reminder of a rule change ageed last year that comes into force this year. From 2011, only balls with a white stripe will be legal.

Note that the rulebook on the BAFA website has been updated with these changes, though (as planned) there is no new printed edition this year.

Full list of rules changes for 2011

Full 2011 rulebook

List of symptoms of concussion

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