In an effort to reduce contact above the shoulders and lessen the risk of injury in high school football, the National Federation of State High School Associations Football Rules Committee has developed a definition for “targeting,” which will be penalized as illegal personal contact (15-yard penalty). The rule will be effective for the fall high school season.
Rule 2-43 will read as follows: “Targeting is an act of taking aim and initiating contact to an opponent above the shoulders with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulders.”
The Michigan High School Athletic Association is expected to adopt this rule, plus two others.
A new definition for a “defenseless player” was also added and will read as follows: “A defenseless player is a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury.”
In an effort to reduce the risk of injury on kickoffs, the rules committee also approved two new requirements for the kicking team. First, at least four members of the kicking team must be on each side of the kicker, and, second, other than the kicker, no members of the kicking team may be more than 5 yards behind the free kick (40-yard) line.