Casper’s Clarifications

February 12, 2024

Rule 6-3-2b NOTES (NEW):Any athlete withdrawing from a jump-off concedes the higher place, but retains their performance in the event.

Rationale: The new note explains that an athlete withdrawing from a jump-off concedes the higher place, but does not negate their performance in the event, nor is it unsporting to simply withdraw in this scenario. The addition of the new note helps explain how to officiate these scenarios.

Point of Emphasis: Meaning, in the Pole Vault or High Jump, the Meet Referee and event judge must know how to complete a jump-off for first place. If, in fact, there is a tie throughout the competition for first place, the event judge should call in all competitors that are tied and explain the procedures to finish competition for first place.

  • Language = One more attempt at the height at which all have tied/missed, then up or down 3″ (Pole Vault) or 1″ (High Jump) and one attempt at each height throughout competition.
  • New = After the event judge has explained the proper procedure to proceed to all tied competitors, the event judge should go to each competitor applying event sheet order within the jump-off and ask them (individually) if, in fact, they want to continue. If all competitors say yes, then start the jump-off per event sheet order. If one or more competitor(s) withdraw, they concede the higher place, but retain their performance in the event per Rule 6-3-2b Notes.
  • Example = If two athletes were in the above tied scenario, and one competitor withdraws, the sole competitor has earned 1st place and the team points for 1st place because the other competitor withdrew. The sole competitor does not have to make or clear additional attempts to earn 1st place and the competition is over/final.

January 29, 2024

Rule 6-4-1, 6-5-1, 6-6-1: Permits athletes in the throws to apply tape to their fingers as long as the fingers are not taped together and all fingers can move independently. 

Rationale: This change offers flexibility to athletes to apply tape to their fingers or wear a wrist wrap as long as there are no artificial aids within the wrap such as hard plastic pieces to keep the wrist stiff.

The pic below is the rule change for 2024. Last year (2023), the only legal wrist wrap below was #4 (far right). In 2024, this rule change allows for the wrist wrap to have a band wrap around the thumb, as long as no metal or plastic is within the thumb wrap. Thus, making all four wraps shown below now LEGAL.


Rule 5, Section 7, Article 3, Page 36 in 2024 Rules Book: The starting command for individual races, or opening relay legs of 800 meters of more, outdoors shall be to “ask” all competitors to take a position three meters behind the starting line or dashed arc behind the line. With the command, “on your marks”, all competitors will step to the starting line without delay. When all competitors are steady and motionless, without their hand(s) touching the ground, the starter shall fire the starting device.

Interpretation: Within Rule 5, Section 7, Article 3 is the verbiage “ask”. The SDHSAA proposed the following questions to the NFHS:

  • What if the runner doesn’t want to go back three meters behind the start line?
  • What if they are closer or don’t do it at all?
  • Does the word “ask” mean they must/shall or the official does not start the race?

NFHS Response: Thanks for reaching out. I don’t think I have ever seen an athlete disregard a direction at the start. In the event an athlete chose not to assemble where asked, that action would lead to a warning for not following the instructions of an official. The “ask” is merely to get the athletes in their proper position so that the start process can begin.

Officials’ Point of Emphasis: This needs to be added to our clinic agenda and our pre-meet meeting with coaches. Take some time and explain to coaches the proper starting procedure of opening legs of 800 meters or more.

October 10, 2023

Situation: Cross Country athletes are competing with a small strand of red/green tinsel braided into their hair.

Ruling: LEGAL

Reference: Per Track & Field section of the SDHSAA Athletic Handbook (Page 8, Item VII, Letter b): Headbands/hair control devices are legal and can be of any color or design. Multiple logos are legal as long as they are appropriate for high school athletics.


September 5, 2023

What’s happening… Coaches, parents/grandparents, managers, fans are providing liquids to their athletes during their race. They are giving the athletes liquids, running with them while they drink or pour liquids over themselves. This action may take 5 to 50 meters.

Rule Book: 8.6.1, a-f and specifically d (Note) clearly states: Providing liquids during competition is not considered to be an aid or assistance (3.2.4u). However, running with the athlete, pacing with the athlete, and coaching while pacing with the athlete is ILLEGAL. Per Case Book 4.5.6 Situation K: Running alongside an athlete for five or more strides is illegal.


  1. Case Book, 4.6.5 Situation N – fluids on the course
  2. Rule Book, 5.9.1 – Interference
  3. Rule Book, 4.6.5 –  Pacing


  1. If meet management does not provide a water station somewhere throughout the race, it is legal to give liquids to athletes as long as there is no interference.
  2. The issue of pacing and coaching/giving assistance. With our extreme hot and humid weather, meet management, coaches, and officials should use some judgement for the safety of the athlete. We all know the importance of staying hydrated and providing fluids on a hot and humid day of a 5000 meter race is acceptable as long as it is accomplished within the rules for all.


  1. Meet Management provides a liquid station at a half-way distance on the course for the athletes to grab a cup/bottle of water if they so choose. This takes away the need for others to provide liquids and interfere with the runners.
  2. A decision at the coaches meeting should be made as to how liquids will be provided for today’s meet. Adults should always use common sense how to best administer an event and take into consideration the circumstances as such for the safety of the athletes.
  3. Coaches should have a conversation with all their athletes, managers, parents, grandparents, and fans pertaining to the legalities of providing liquids during a race/competition.

August 29, 2023

  • Water guns (super soakers, etc.) utilized during a Cross Country race to cool down runners = ILLEGAL
    • Rationale: This is not a reasonable option, for many reasons, to cool down runners during a competition. However, providing cups/bottles of water to an athlete during his/her competition is LEGAL, as long as there is no interference with other runners.

  • If the Starter/Referee, Meet Director and Coaches determine the distances are too long due to heat, a discussion/decision at the Coaches Meeting to shorten the races should take place for the safety of the athletes.
    • Rationale: Rule 8.1.1 – The Cross Country course shall be 2500 to 5000 meters in length as determined by the Meet Director and/or Games Committee.