NEW RULES FOR 2022
The NFHS has approved and published the following 7 rule changes for 2022. Two are major and the other 5 can be classified as minor. The summaries are below. For further details, go to the NFHS.com website. The NIAA State Mechanics Manual will reflect these changes.
Rule 7-5-2 EXC 2. This is essentially the NCAA rule now. The passer can legally conserve yardage by throwing the ball into an area NOT occupied by an eligible receiver as long as the following conditions are met: 1) he is outside the lateral edge of the Free Blocking Zone that is established at the snap (4 yards laterally from the snap in 11 man, 3 yards in 8 man), AND 2) the pass reaches the line of scrimmage. Line of scrimmage "extended" out of bounds meets the requirements of this element. If intentional grounding is called (no eligible receiver in the area and passer not out of FBZ or pass didn't get to LOS, it is still a 5 yard penalty from the spot of the foul + loss of down (NCAA rule is simply loss of down at the spot of the foul).
Also, this exception applies to ANY passer, not just the player who received the snap (another difference from NCAA rule).
Editors Note: This foul will still be a 2 official mechanic (typically the wing official and the referee, but it could be a deep official or the umpire) in order to be called. It's just that we have to evaluate different aspects of the play.
CHOP BLOCK REDEFINED: Rule 2-3-8 will now define the low element of the chop block as below the waist. The old definition was the low block had to be at the knee or below.
5 other rule changes are relatively minor and should have little to no impact on the game:
NUMBER 0 NOW LEGAL: Rule 1-4-3 was changed to allow 0 as a legal number. 00 or any two digit number starting with 0 (such as 09) will stlll be illegal. It is an eligible number for a receiver.
TEAM BOX EXTENSION OPTION: Rule 1-2-3-g was changed to allow state associations to extend the lateral limits of the team box beyond the 25yd line, and which individuals may access the extended area. NOTE: The NIAA currently has no plans to make any changes or exercise this option.
OFFENDED TEAM OPTION UNDER 2 MINUTES IN HALF ADJUSTED: Rule 3-4-7 language was changed to allow the offended team the option to start the clock on the snap whenever a foul was committed rather than accepted. Thus the offended team can now deline the foul and still have the option to start the clock on the snap.
25 SECOND PLAY CLOCK EXCEPTION ADDED: Rule 3-6-1a(1)e and 3-5-7-i were amended to mandate that the play clock will be 40 seconds after a foul committed only by the defensive team. Previously the play clock was 25 seconds in this circumstance. If there is a double foul (offsetting) on the play the play clock will still be 25)
ANY OFFICIAL MAY ORDER THE GAME BALL CHANGED BETWEEN DOWNS: Rule 1-3-3 was changed to allow any official, not just the Referee, to order the game ball changed between downs. This is mainly an editiorial change as many states use two ball mechanics and routinely switch balls between downs.