Author Topic: Swinging gate and the new formation rule  (Read 4000 times)

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Online CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #100 on: August 05, 2019, 08:58:13 PM »
NCAA rule for numbering exception states:

In a scrimmage kick formation at the snap Team A may have fewer than 5 linemen numbered 50-79 subject to the following conditions:
(a) Any and all linemen not numbered 50-79 who are ineligible receiver(s) by position become exceptions to the numbering rule when the snapper is established.

I think it's a subtle but important difference from the NFHS exception where it talks about the exceptions taking the place of one of the 5 ineligible linemen.

Simply adopting this wording from the NCAA would have prevented a lot of confusion. I donít understand why, when the NFHS decides to adopt a rule from the NCAA they donít read the rule and adopt it in its entirety.  No need to reinvent the wheel.


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Offline bossman72

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #101 on: August 05, 2019, 09:48:33 PM »
Simply adopting this wording from the NCAA would have prevented a lot of confusion. I donít understand why, when the NFHS decides to adopt a rule from the NCAA they donít read the rule and adopt it in its entirety.  No need to reinvent the wheel.


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This has really been the source of many hair-brained interpretations by the NFHS, simply because they don't want to copy exactly what NCAA does.  Therefore, they always omit something in the re-writing of the rule, or they tweak something so we have a goofy interpretation of a rule (see penalty for 4 on each side of the kicker).

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #102 on: August 06, 2019, 07:38:29 AM »
This has been the question all along. Do you have an official interpretation of this? Or is it your personal opinion?  Because the 4th down exception doesnít specify the number of interior linemen. I agree your position seems logical, but from the other responses, not everyone agrees.
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This is an "exception" and does not have language to modify the new base rule requirement for having 5 ineligible linemen in the formation.  That is the requirement that numbering exception is addressing. 

The exception only address the numbering requirement part and therefore still requires that there be 5 interior/ineligible linemen or we have an illegal formation.  An academic discussion on the status of end(s) wearing 80 numbers on the 6 man line (eligible/ineligible) is moot in my opinion since we already have a flag down. That IMHO is simply what the rules as written require.  If the rules makers want to change that, they need to fix the numbering exception rule.

And this inane continuing reference to advantage/disadvantage of having 10 or less players in the alignment is getting stale since multiple posters have shown how the alignment can be manipulated to confuse the defense as to who is "eligible".   Simply put, the rules require us to be able to identify a minimum of 5 ineligible linemen either by position or number on every single scrimmage play.  That requirement has not changed for many years.
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Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #103 on: August 06, 2019, 09:29:39 AM »
And this inane continuing reference to advantage/disadvantage of having 10 or less players in the alignment is getting stale since multiple posters have shown how the alignment can be manipulated to confuse the defense as to who is "eligible".   Simply put, the rules require us to be able to identify a minimum of 5 ineligible linemen either by position or number on every single scrimmage play.  That requirement has not changed for many years.

I argue the advantage/disadvantage part is critical because it's the sole reason for the change from 7 on the line to 4 in the backfield. On most plays they are exactly the same but this was changed to allow for only 6 on the line if they have 10 players. That's why it's relevant and why those of us who interpret the exception to allow 6 linemen with at least one exception to be legal. I agree the wording could have been modified but it still meets the spirit and intent of the rule.

Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #104 on: August 06, 2019, 01:06:33 PM »
I argue the advantage/disadvantage part is critical because it's the sole reason for the change from 7 on the line to 4 in the backfield. On most plays they are exactly the same but this was changed to allow for only 6 on the line if they have 10 players. That's why it's relevant and why those of us who interpret the exception to allow 6 linemen with at least one exception to be legal. I agree the wording could have been modified but it still meets the spirit and intent of the rule.

We'll agree to disagree.  If that is what the NFHS wants, then simply say that by changing the wording in the scrimmage kick exception. Then we'd all be happier.   :)

 IMHO that is not within our jurisdiction to decide that's what they really intended to say.
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Online CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #105 on: August 06, 2019, 01:36:11 PM »
I argue the advantage/disadvantage part is critical because it's the sole reason for the change from 7 on the line to 4 in the backfield. On most plays they are exactly the same but this was changed to allow for only 6 on the line if they have 10 players. That's why it's relevant and why those of us who interpret the exception to allow 6 linemen with at least one exception to be legal. I agree the wording could have been modified but it still meets the spirit and intent of the rule.

According to the rulebook, the intent of the rule change was not to allow for only 6 on the line if they have 10 players, but to make is easier to identify legal and illegal offensive formations.
Comments on the Rule Changes:
Redefined Requirements for a Legal Scrimmage Formation (2-14-1, 7-2-5a) ó A legal scrimmage formation now requires at least five offensive players on their line of scrimmage with no more than four backs. This change will make it easier to identify legal and illegal offensive formations.

If that was the intention of the rule, it seems like the numbering exception does not supercede the 5 ineligible requirement.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 01:37:44 PM by CalhounLJ »

Online Ralph Damren

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #106 on: August 06, 2019, 01:56:14 PM »
This rule change had been proposed several times, often with a majority but never a super-majority (67%) needed to pass. It was always strongly supported by the officials as it was an easier call for the officials and had been in NCAA several years without any problems. When it finally passed I felt it was good news. I also felt the Red Sox were going to win another World Series.  :(

Offline Magician

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #107 on: August 06, 2019, 02:55:51 PM »
This rule change had been proposed several times, often with a majority but never a super-majority (67%) needed to pass. It was always strongly supported by the officials as it was an easier call for the officials and had been in NCAA several years without any problems. When it finally passed I felt it was good news. I also felt the Red Sox were going to win another World Series.  :(

When I started officiating almost 20 years ago I was taught to count the backfield rather than the line once I confirmed from the R/U there were 11 players on offense. It was easier. So yes, the public justification for the rule is to coincide with that mechanic that I know many people used. I had been working several years before I heard some states were still counting linemen on your side of the snapper. But we didn't need a rule change to use the mechanic our area and most of the country used by counting backs rather than linemen. 99% of the plays have 11 players so at least 7 linemen and no more than 4 backs are the EXACT same thing almost every play.

The primary reason for actually changing the rule was so if the R/U give me a signal we only have 10 players and I count 4 in the backfield, I would have to flag it because they only had 6 linemen. Changing the rule eliminates a formation foul in that instance. That was the primary motivation for the rule change. The mechanic most used by counting backs works the same regardless of the rule.

Online CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #108 on: August 06, 2019, 04:15:04 PM »
Maybe thatís the problem. Thereís a public intent of the rule and a ?private? Intent of the rule. How are the masses supposed to factor intent and spirit if neither are made public?  I realize weíve beat this horse to death and then some. I appreciate the insight from the NCAA rule and believe itís the best way to interpret this situation.


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Offline NVFOA_Ump

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #109 on: August 06, 2019, 07:12:07 PM »
According to the rulebook, the intent of the rule change was not to allow for only 6 on the line if they have 10 players, but to make is easier to identify legal and illegal offensive formations.
Comments on the Rule Changes:
Redefined Requirements for a Legal Scrimmage Formation (2-14-1, 7-2-5a) ó A legal scrimmage formation now requires at least five offensive players on their line of scrimmage with no more than four backs. This change will make it easier to identify legal and illegal offensive formations.

If that was the intention of the rule, it seems like the numbering exception does not supercede the 5 ineligible requirement.  And, officially I have now declared my horse dead.

We'll agree to disagree and I'll say no more than this.  As the U I'm responsible for both counting the offense and verifying that we have 5 restricted linemen (by number) in formation. On a SKE play I also identify the 5 ineligibles and confirm with the crew who the exception(s) are by number.  If I've got less than seven on the line the identifying becomes nearly impossible.  And to simply explain away 2 clearly conflicting rules by saying an eligible number on the end of the line is always eligible is IMO simple HORSE HOCKEY.  This problem did not even exist until a few months ago so to apply that here to 'fix" a clear rules conflict simply doesn't fly.

If on a FG attempt, just before the set with 10 on the field (6 #80's lineman) 81 on the left end steps back and the blocking flanker on the other side steps up that just changed the whole required coverage for the defense.  That defeats the entire alignment rule requirement and IMHO is a direct violation of the SKE rule.  And here in MA there's plenty of coaches that will pick up on this "trick play".  If we let the alignment go X times during the game, are we flagging it when they shift and throw a TD to the now uncovered "scrimmage kick numbering exception" to win the game?  With an explanation to the losing team coach "But coach they were at a disadvantage, they snapped the ball with only 10 players."?

And I agree 100% that the numbering exception does not supercede the 5 ineligible requirement.  To use the numbering exception we need 5 identifiable ineligibles and the numbering exception says that the way to identify them is that they must be between the ends.
« Last Edit: August 06, 2019, 07:17:41 PM by NVFOA_Ump »
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Offline KWH

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #110 on: August 07, 2019, 05:42:32 PM »
FTR, I'm in agreement with the way Magician explained it. Any player eligible by position and number is eligible, and any player whose initial position makes him ineligible is ineligible. I just believe the 5 linemen issue needs to be addressed. I'm perfectly ok with not calling a foul for illegal numbering if that's the official word handed down.
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Calhoun -
For clarification, I only stated how I would handle these situations for 2019 as per our State Rules Interpreter.
For clarification, in your state, you need to dump this in your SRI's lap as he may likely want a flag. (And don't get me wrong, I'm certainly OK with that too)

Offline KDJBBBJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #111 on: August 08, 2019, 06:09:56 PM »

If on a FG attempt, just before the set with 10 on the field (6 #80's lineman) 81 on the left end steps back and the blocking flanker on the other side steps up that just changed the whole required coverage for the defense.  That defeats the entire alignment rule requirement and IMHO is a direct violation of the SKE rule.  And here in MA there's plenty of coaches that will pick up on this "trick play".  If we let the alignment go X times during the game, are we flagging it when they shift and throw a TD to the now uncovered "scrimmage kick numbering exception" to win the game?  With an explanation to the losing team coach "But coach they were at a disadvantage, they snapped the ball with only 10 players."?

If they do this then they have fewer eligible recivers on the field as the one on the end of the line next to 81 is still not eligible and the end on the right side of the line became ineligble when the flanker stepped up. So now you would have the kicker and holder, the flanker that stepped up the 4th back and 81 eligble so only 5 instead of the original 6. Nobody new or different for the defense to worry about. I havent heard how our state is handling this yet but will do as they say. 

Offline hef333

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #112 on: August 13, 2019, 10:05:41 AM »
This came up at our meeting last night:

In a swinging gate formation for a try, A sends 10 players out, all with receiver's numbers, lined up like this:

         A1   A2   A3   A4   A5   A6(SNAPPER)
      A7                                     A8

                                            A9
                                            A10

Attended the PIAA officials conference over the weekend, brought this exact play up to the state interpreter, he said this season it is a legal formation. So in PA, we are all set.



The question is, using the numbering exception, can this be a legal formation? The assumption is that the only way A can line up with less than 5 linemen numbered 50-79, they must use the numbering exception, and if a player is in under the numbering exception, he/she must take an initial position BETWEEN the ends, and remains an ineligible receiver. While it is now legal to have 6 on the line, it is impossible for there to be 5 players legally using the numbering exception on this particular formation. If only 4 are using the exception, doesn't there have to be at least 1 player numbered 50-79? Plus, if there are 5 in under the exception, at least one of the otherwise eligible receivers (A1 and A6) must be declared ineligible because of being in under the exception. If that's the case, which one is declared? Any and all help appreciated.

Offline hef333

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #113 on: August 13, 2019, 10:06:48 AM »
Attended the PIAA officials conference over the weekend, brought this exact play up to the state interpreter, he said this season it is a legal formation. So in PA, we are all set.

Sorry...didn't realize my answer ended up in part of the message....

Online CalhounLJ

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Re: Swinging gate and the new formation rule
« Reply #114 on: August 13, 2019, 10:17:23 AM »



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