Uniform warning one of several changes for prep track athletes

When track and field rolls around again next spring, some of the sport’s athletes won’t be automatically disqualified for wearing illegal uniforms.

In the past, an illegal uniform came with an automatic disqualification.

Now, they’ll get more of a yellow card.

After the National Federation of State High School Associations approved 16 rules changes at its June 6–8 meeting in Indianapolis, one of which alters the uniforms rule, athletes will receive a warning.

And after the warning would come a disqualification.

“That seems a little more reasonable,” Central coach Lanton Kame said.

Kame said distance runners seemed to be targeted for a style of shorts that differ from those of sprinters and throwers.

“In Montrose, we had some athletes DQ’d,” Kame said. “What happens is our distance kids are a little bit different than our sprinters. The emblems are all the same and everything, but the shorts might be made of a different material — compression versus regular cut.”

Another change includes new requirements for passing the baton in an exchange zone. The rule now says the baton must be handed off within the exchange zone and that “the incoming and outgoing runners shall not simultaneously touch the baton outside of the 20-meter exchange zone.”

Becky Oaks, the NFHS director of sports and staff liaison to the Track and Field Rules Committee said in a news release the change will “provide consistency in enforcement and will minimize a judgment call.”

“It is a heck of an advantage if you (handed off) outside of the exchange zone and end up winning the thing,” Kame said, “versus the team that ended up doing it right.”

For a complete listing of the rule changes, visit the NFHS website at http://www.nfhs.org, click on “Athletics & Fine Arts Activities” on the home page and select “Track and Field.”


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