Targeting and Crown-of-Helmet Guidelines
TARGETING AND CROWN-OF-HELMET GUIDELINES FOR COACHES, PLAYERS AND OFFICIALS
With the 2013 rule change that makes ejection from the game a part of the penalty for targeting fouls coaches, players and officials need to have a clear understanding of Rules 9-1-3 and 9-1-4. It is very important to understand that these fouls have not changed from previous years, and officials should officiate these plays as in the past. The characterization of defenseless players has been expanded (see below), but otherwise these rules for the fouls remain as they have been. It is the penalty that has changed.
These guidelines are intended to assist everyone involved in the game to understand these rules, which are so important in protecting the safety of the student-athlete.
Targeting and Initiating Contact With the Crown of the Helmet (Rule 9-1-3)
No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul.
Targeting and Initiating Contact to Head or Neck Area of a Defenseless Player (Rule 9-1-4)
No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, fist, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul. (Rule 2-27-14)
Note: Beginning in 2013, ejection from the game is a part of the penalty for violation of both Rule 9-1-3 and Rule 9-1-4.
Target—to take aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with an apparent intent that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball.
Crown of the Helmet—the top portion of the helmet.
Contact to the head or neck area—not only with the helmet, but also with the forearm, fist, elbow, or shoulder—these can all lead to a foul.
Defenseless player—a player not in position to defend himself.
Examples (Rule 2-27-14):
Risk of a foul is high with one or more of these:
These indicate less risk of a foul:
HINTS FOR PLAYERS
National Coordinator of Football Officials