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NFHS Approves Rules Changes for Upcoming Seasons


A number of important rule changes that will impact team dealers were recently passed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).

• One of the rule changes approved in high school boys’ and girls’ volleyball pertains to uniform numbers and will go into effect with the 2028-29 school year. Uniform numbers with a leading zero will not be permitted and this change eliminates confusion with signaling numbers and aligns NFHS rules with other codes. For example, a uniform number of 01, 02, 03, etc., would not be permitted. The standalone number 0 is permitted, but a 00 is not permitted. The reason for the five-year implementation is to give schools the opportunity to go through their uniform cycles before complying with the new rule.

The other approved rule changes go into effect in the 2023-24 school year: The wearing of jewelry by players is addressed in a change to Rule 4-1-7, which now states that all jewelry must be removed, except small, secured studs or posts worn above the chin. No jewelry is permitted below the chin, including string bracelets, commemorative bracelets and body jewelry. In addition, taping over jewelry is not permitted. This rules change aligns high school rules with NCAA rules on the wearing of jewelry.

• In high school field hockey for 2023, the rule change involves the goalkeeper’s uniform number. The rule brings uniform requirements for goalkeepers in line with the player’s uniform number. This requires that numbers shall be clearly visible, in a solid color contrasting any surrounding colors, no more than two digits (00-99), at least three inches in height on the front and six inches in height on the back of the uniform top and a visible number worn on the uniform bottom shall be the same number as on the uniform top. A team may not use 0 and 00 because duplicate numbers are not permitted on the same team.

Also for field hockey, a note was added to Rule 1-8-1h as follows: “Shoes worn under the kickers shall be rubber-soled shoes. Plastic, leather or rubber cleats may be worn.” In Rule 1-5-5, players will now be allowed to wear jewelry with their uniform. 

• And in football, player towels now may contain one manufacturer’s logo and/or one school logo, neither exceeding 2¼ square inches. Towels must be a solid color, but now do not have to be the same color for each player. Towels may not, however, be the color of the ball or penalty flag.