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Uniform Regulations - Football

SECTION 5  PLAYER EQUIPMENT
NOTE: As mentioned in Section 5, under Player Equipment, NOCSAE refers to the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, while SGMA refers to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

ART. 1…Mandatory equipment. Each player shall participate while wearing the following pieces of properly fitted equipment, which shall be professionally manufactured and not altered to decrease protection:
  1. Helmet and Face Mask:
    1. A helmet and face mask which met the NOCSAE test standard at the time of manufacture. The face mask shall have a surface covered with resilient material designed to prevent chipping, burrs or abrasiveness and be properly secured to the helmet as designed by the manufacturer.
    2. The helmet shall be secured by a properly fastened chin strap with at least four attachment points.
NOTE: All players shall wear helmets that carry a warning label regarding the risk of injury and a manufacturer’s or reconditioner’s certification indicating satisfaction of NOCSAE test standards. All such reconditioned helmets shall show recertification to indicate satisfaction with the NOCSAE test standard. The coach’s pregame verification to the referee and umpire that all players are properly equipped in compliance with the rules includes the exterior warning label.
  1. Jersey:
    1. A jersey, unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production, and which shall be long enough to reach the top of the pants and shall be tucked in if longer.
    2. Players of the visiting team shall wear jerseys, unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production, that meet the following criteria: The body of the jersey (inside the shoulders, inclusive of the yoke of the jersey or the shoulders, below the collar, and to the bottom of the jersey) shall be white and shall contain only the listed allowable adornments and accessory patterns in a color(s) that contrasts to white:
      1. as the jersey number(s) required in 1-5-1c or as the team and/or player name within the body and/or on the shoulders,
      2. either as a decorative stripe placed during production that follows the curve of the raglan sleeve or following the shoulder seam in traditional yoke construction, not to exceed 1 inch at any point within the body of the jersey; or as decorative stripe(s) added in the shoulder area after production, not to exceed 1 inch per stripe and total size of combined stripes not to exceed 3.5 inches,
      3. within the collar, a maximum of 1 inch in width, and/or
      4. as a side seam (insert connecting the back of the jersey to the front), a maximum of 4 inches in width but any non-white color may not appear within the body of the jersey (inside the shoulders, inclusive of the yoke of the jersey or the shoulders, below the collar, and to the bottom of the jersey). The exception to (d) would be what is stated in (b) above.
      5. The visiting team is responsible for avoidance of similarity of colors, but if there is doubt, the referee may require players of the home team to change jerseys.
NOTE: One American flag, not to exceed 2 by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniform apparel. By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity.
  1. Players of the home team shall wear jerseys, unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production, that meet the following criteria: The body of the jersey (inside the shoulders, inclusive of the yoke of the jersey or the shoulders, below the collar, and to the bottom of the jersey) may not include white, except as stated below. If white appears in the body of the jersey of the home team, it may only appear:
    1. as the jersey number(s) required in 1-5-1c or as the team and/or player name within the body and/or on the shoulders.
    2. either as a decorative stripe placed during production that follows the curve of the raglan sleeve or following the shoulder seam in traditional yoke construction, not to exceed 1 inch at any point within the body of the jersey; or as decorative stripe(s) added in the shoulder area after production, not to exceed 1 inch per stripe and total size of combined stripes not to exceed 3.5 inches,
    3. within the collar, a maximum of 1 inch in width, and/or
    4. as a side seam (insert connecting the back of the jersey to the front), a maximum of 4 inches in width but any white color may not appear within the body of the jersey (inside the shoulders, inclusive of the yoke of the jersey or the shoulders, below the collar, and to the bottom of the jersey). The exception to (d) would be what is stated in (b) above.
    5. The visiting team is responsible for avoidance of similarity of colors, but if there is doubt, the referee may require players of the home to change jerseys.
NOTE: One American flag, not to exceed 2 by 3 inches, may be worn or occupy space on each item of uniform apparel. By state association adoption, to allow for special occasions, commemorative or memorial patches, not to exceed 4 square inches, may be worn on the uniform without compromising its integrity.
  1. Numbers
    1. The numbers shall be clearly visible and legible using Arabic numbers 1-99 inclusive and shall be on the front and back of the jersey.
    2. The numbers shall be centered horizontally at least 8 inches and 10 inches high on the front and back, respectively, and with continuous bars or strokes approximately 1½-inches wide.
    3. The color and style of the number shall be the same on the front and back.
    4. The body of the number shall be either:
      1. a continuous color(s) contrasting with the jersey color, or
      2. the same solid color(s) as the jersey with a minimum of one border that is at least ¼-inch in width of a single solid contrasting color.
  2. Pads and Protective Equipment – The following pads and protective equipment are required of all players:
    1. Hip pads and tailbone protector which are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production.
    2. Knee pads which are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production, which are worn over the knee and under the pants and shall be at least ½ inch thick or 3/8 inch thick if made of shock absorbing material.
    3. Shoulder pads and hard surface auxiliary attachments, which shall be fully covered by a jersey.
    4. Thigh guards which are unaltered from the manufacturer’s original design/production.
    5. A tooth and mouth protector (intraoral) which shall include an occlusal (Protecting and separating the biting surfaces) and a labial (protecting the teeth and supporting structures) portion and covers the posterior teeth with adequate thickness. It is recommended the protector be properly fitted and:
      1. Constructed from a model made from an impression of the individual’s teeth, or
      2. Constructed and fitted to the individual by impressing the teeth into the tooth and mouth protector itself.
      3. The tooth and mouth protector shall be of any readily visible color, and may not be:
        1. completely white; or
        2. completely clear.
  3. Pants which completely cover the knees, thigh guards and knee pads and any portion of any knee brace that does not extend below the pants.
  4. Shoes which shall be made of a material which covers the foot (canvas, leather or synthetic) and attached to a firm sole of leather, rubber or composition material. Shoes may have cleats or may be cleatless. Among the items which do not meet these requirements are gymnastic slippers, tennis shoes cut so protection is reduced, ski and logger boots and other apparel not intended for football use:
    1. Removable cleats shall conform to the following specifications:
      1. Constructed of material which does not chip or develop a cutting edge.
      2. Legal cleat material includes leather, nylon, rubber and non metallic polymers that will not chip or develop a cutting edge while functioning as a cleat. Cleats may be tipped with a steele material hardened to a Rockwell hardness approximately C55 to a depth of .005-.008 while minimizing the risk of brittle failure of the tip component, in its entirety, including any shafts or threads that may be a part of the tip.
      3. The base and the tip of the clear shall be parallel.
      4. The free end of the cleat may be rounded in an arc with a radius of not less than 7/16 inch provided the overall length is not more than ½ inch measured from the tip of the cleat to the sole of the shoe.
      5. The cleat may be attached to a raised platform which is molded to the shoe. The platform may be no more than 5/32 inch in height and must be wider than the base of the cleat. The widest part of the cleat must be in direct contact with the platform. The 5/32-inch raised platform must be wider than the base of the cleat and must extent across the width of the sole to within ¼ inch or less of the outer edges of the sole.
      6. A single toe cleat does not require a raised platform that extends across the width of the sole. The raised platform of the toe cleat is limited to 5/31 inch or less.
      7. The 5/31-inch platform is measured from the lowest point of the platform to the sole of the shoe.
      8. An effective locking device which prevents the exposure of metal posts shall be incorporated.
      9. The cleat wall shall be at least 3/16 inch in diameter.
      10. The sides of the cleat shall taper uniformly from a minimum base of ¾ inch in diameter to a minimum tip of 3/8 inch in diameter.
    2. Nonremovable cleats are limited to studs or projections that do not exceed ½ inch in length measured from the sole of the shoe to the tip of the clear and which are made with nonabrasive rubber or rubber-type synthetic material that does not have or develop a cutting edge.
ART 2…The following auxiliary equipment may be worn if sanctioned by the umpire as being soft, nonabrasive, nonhardening material:
  1. Forearm pads, which may be anchored on each end with athletic tape.
  2. Through the 2012 season, gloves and hand pads, which may be anchored with athletic tape. Gloves, even though modified, must have (unless made of unaltered plain cloth:
    1. A securely attached label or stamp (NFHS/NCAA specifications) indicating compliance with test specifications on file with the SGMA as of January 1, 1994, or
    2. A permanent, exact replica of the NOCSAE glove seal (Meets NOCSAE Standard), that must be visible and appear legibly on the exterior wrist opening of the glove.
Beginning with the 2013 season, gloves, which may be anchored with athletic tape, and even though modified, must meet the NOCSAE test standard at the time of manufacture, unless made of unaltered plain cloth.

NOTES:
  1. A glove is a covering for the hand having separate sections for each finger. Pads worn on the hand, but not having separate sections encircling at least part of any finger are not gloves. The thumb is not considered a finger.
  2. Non-athletic gloves, worn solely for warmth and made of unaltered plain cloth, and which do not enhance contact with the ball, do not require a label or stamp indicating compliance.
 
  1. Tape, bandage or support wrap on the hand or forearm to protect an existing injury. EXCEPTION: Tape, bandage or support wrap(s) not to exceed three thicknesses are legal without inspection or approval.

ART. 3…Illegal equipment. No player shall participate while wearing illegal equipment. This applies to any equipment, which in the opinion of the umpire is dangerous, confusing or inappropriate. Illegal equipment shall always include but is not limited to:
  1. The following items related to the Game Uniform:
    1. Jerseys and pants that have:
      1. A visible logo/trademark or reference exceeding 2¼ square inches and exceeding 2¼ inches in any dimension.
      2. More than one manufacturer’s logo/trademark or reference on the outside of either item. (The same size restriction shall apply to either the manufacturer’s logo/trademark or reference).
      3. Sizing, garment care or other nonlogo labels on the outside of either item.
    2. Slippery or sticky substance of a foreign nature on equipment, towel, uniform, opponent or on an exposed part of the body which affects the ball or an opponent.
    3. Tear-away jerseys or jerseys that have been altered in any manner that produces a knot-like protrusion or creates a tear-away jersey.
    4. Any transverse stripe on the sleeve below the elbow.
    5. Uniform adornments, with the exception of:
      1. One unmarked moisture-absorbing towel, that is not ball or penalty blog-colored, which shall be no less than 4 inches in width and 12 inches in length and no greater than 18 inches in width and 36 inches in length; has no more than one visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark reference that does not exceed 2¼ square inches; and if worn by any player, must be the same solid color for all players wearing towels; or
      2. Moisture-absorbing sweatbands, when worn on the wrist beginning at the base of the thumb and extending no more than 3 inches toward the elbow.
  2. The following items related to Pads and Padding:
    1. Hard and unyielding items (guards, casts, braces, etc.) on the hand, wrist, forearm, elbow, or upper arm unless padded with a closed-cell, slow-recovery foam padding no less than 1/2” thick.
    2. Knee and ankle braces which are altered from the manufacturer’s original design/production.
NOTE: Knee and ankle braces that are unaltered do not require any additional padding.
  1. Knee braces worn over the pants.
  2. Plastic material covering protective pads whose edges are not rounded with a radius equal to half the thickness of the plastic.
  3. Rib pads and back protectors unless fully covered by a jersey.
  4. Shin guards that do not meet NOCSAE specifications.
 
  1. The following Other Illegal Equipment:
    1. Ball-colored helmets, jerseys, patches, exterior arm covers/pads, undershirts or gloves.
    2. Communication devices, other than those permitted in Rule 1-6-1 and Rule 1-6-2.
    3. Eye shade (grease or no-glare strips or stickers) that is not a solid stroke or includes words, numbers, logos or other symbols within the eye shade.
    4. Eyeshield attached to the helmet that is not:
      1. Constructed of a molded rigid material; or
      2. Clear without the presence of any tint.
    5. Jerseys, undershirts or exterior arm covers/pads manufactured to enhance contact with the football or opponent.
    6. Jewelry. Religious and medical alert medals are not considered jewelry. A religious medal must be taped and worn under the uniform. A medical-alert medal must be taped and may be visible.
    7. Metal which is projecting or other hard substance on clothes or person.
    8. Play cards not worn on the wrist or arm.
    9. Equipment not worn as intended by the manufacturer.

ART. 4…Prior to the start of the game, the head coach shall be responsible for verifying to the referee and umpire that all of his players are legally equipped and in compliance with these rules. Any questions regarding legality of a player’s equipment shall be resolved by the umpire.

ART. 5…When any required player equipment is missing or when illegal equipment is found, correction shall be made before participation. An official’s time-out shall be declared to permit prompt repair of equipment which becomes illegal or defective through use. (See 3-5-2b, 5b and 7e)

ART. 6…Each player shall properly wear the mandatory equipment while the ball is live.
PENALTY: Unsportsmanlike conduct (Arts. 2, 3, 5) – (S27) – 15 yards. See 9-8-1h. Failure to properly wear required equipment during a down ) Art. 6 – (S27, S23) – 5 yards. See 3-6-2d for failure to properly wear required equipment when the ball is about to become live.