Rules & Regulations


WIAA Rules Publications

Rules & Regulations

2019-20 NFHS Rule Changes

3-4-3 NEW: The clock shall be stopped when a substitute by the team in the lead is beckoned on the field in the final five minutes of the second period only.

Rationale: Rule affected by change in 7-4-3.


4-3: Improperly Equipped Players (18-1-1u)

Cautions will not be issued for improperly equipped player(s).

If not immediately correctable, improperly equipped player(s) shall be instructed to leave the field of play when the ball next ceases to be in play. The player(s) may be replaced. The removed player(s), if not replaced, may re-enter at the next dead ball only after reporting to an official, who shall be satisfied the player’s equipment and uniform are in order. Play shall not be stopped for an infringement of this rule except that the referee may stop play immediately where there is a dangerous situation.

Rationale: The change corrects an injustice.  For the far more serious infringement of illegal equipment, the offending team does not play shorthanded.  For the less serious offense of improper equipment, they are required to play shorthanded.  The change addresses this inequity.


5-3-1d: The officials shall:

(d) call out "play on" and, with an underswing of one or both arms, indicate a foul which was observed but shall go unpenalized because penalizing the offending team would give an advantage to the offending team.  If the referee applies the advantage, which was anticipated but does not develop at that time, the referee shall penalize the original offense.

Rationale: This change permits the use of one arm to signal advantage.


7-4-3 NEW: The clock shall be stopped when a substitute by the team in the lead is beckoned onto the field in the final five minutes of the second period only.

Rationale: Coaches in the lead will make multiple substitutions in the later stages of the match.  This tactic is being used as a time-wasting ploy.  Adding this rule will help the game to be decided by the players and not a coach who is wasting time when in the lead.  These substitutes are usually players from the far side of the field that take more time off the clock.  This addition would stop this practice.


9-2-1: The game is restarted with a drop ball:

a. when the ball is caused to go out of bounds by two opponents simultaneously;

b. when the ball becomes deflated;

c. following temporary suspension of play for an injury or unusual situation and a goalkeeper is not in possession of the ball 

d. when simultaneous fouls of the same degree occur by opponents.

Rationale: This rule changes the awarding of a free kick to a drop ball thereby possibly creating a scoring opportunity for a team undeserving.


9-2-3: The ball is dropped by an official from waist level to the ground. Any number of players may contest a dropped ball (including the goalkeepers); a referee cannot decide who may contest a dropped ball or its outcome. 

Rationale: This addition helps to provide clarity in the application of this rule.


9-2-5 NEW: ART. 5 . . . The ball shall be dropped again if it touches a player before it touches the ground or leaves the field of play after it touches the ground without touching a player. 

Rationale: This addition helps to avoid confusion and allow the rule to be more equitable under the circumstances.


9-2-6 NEW: ART. 6 . . . If a dropped ball enters the goal without touching at least two players, play is restarted with a goal kick if it enters the opponent’s goal or a corner kick if it enters the team's own goal.

Rationale: This addition helps to avoid confusion and allow the rule to be more equitable under the circumstances.


9-3: In case of a temporary suspension due to injury or any unusual situation the game shall be started by a drop ball at the point where the ball was when the play was suspended (except as noted in 14-1-7), provided the ball was not in the goal area and not in the possession of the goalkeeper.  12-8-2

Rationale: This change will eliminate free kick opportunities that often create scoring opportunities that are not deserved. 


Points of Emphasis

  1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Injury Prevention.
  2. Pre-game Communication Between the School Administration and Game Officials.
  3. Official’s Communicating Misconduct with Coaches.


Acclimatization Guidelines

If multiple practies in a day are utilized (long day), they may not be scheduled on consecutive days. Practices are limited to alternating Short Days and Long Days.

1.  Short Day

(a) Maximum practice is 3 hours of physical activity plus a 30-minute recovery period.

(b) A 30-minute recovery period (rest in a cool environment and hydrate) must occur no later than 2 hours into practice. 

(c) Unrestricted and unlimited access to water throughout physical activity is strongly encouraged.

2. Long Day 

(a) Maximum of one practice is 3 hours of physical activity plus a 30-minute recovery period. 

(b) A 30-minute recovery period (rest in a cool environment and hydrate) must occur no later than 2 hours into practice.

(c) Minimum of a 3-hour break without physical exertion, in a cool environment, with rehydration before the second practice that day. 

(d) The longer practice, which is limited to 3 hours of physical activity plus a 30-minute recovery period, may be at any time during the day. When combined with an additional practice, there must be a 3-hour break between. 

(e) Maximum additional practice is 1.5 hours. 

(f) Unrestricted and unlimited access to water throughout physical activity is strongly encouraged.

3.  After ten (10) practices to the end of the season:

(a) Only one practice allowed per day.

(b) Maximum practice is 2.5 hours.

(c) A 30-minute recovery period is not required.

(d) Monitor weather and heat conditions and adjust appropriately.

(e) Unlimited access to water and hydration should be available.


NFHS Position on Headgear

Soft or Padded Headgear in Non-Helmeted Sports Position Statement 

National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) 

Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) 

The NFHS SMAC has developed the following position statement regarding soft or padded headgear products in non-helmeted sports: 

The NFHS does not consider soft or padded headgear products as effective equipment in preventing a concussion in non-helmeted sports. As explained below, soft or padded headgear products may be worn in non-helmeted sports that allow for such optional equipment, but the intent of that equipment should be for reasons other than concussion prevention. Valid scientific research should be pursued to more definitively determine evidence-based efficacy regarding using such products to decrease the incidence of concussion. However, no currently available soft or padded headgear can prevent a concussion. 

The NFHS recommends caution in using soft or padded headgear devices to permit medical clearance of a student-athlete, if he or she would otherwise not be medically cleared to participate in sports. Currently, wearing such headgear as a condition to play in order to prevent another concussion is not scientifically or medically supported; therefore, a medical waiver for wearing this type of equipment in the case of hastening return to play after a concussion is inappropriate. However, this equipment may be used to cover lacerations and sutures, if these devices are deemed appropriate within the sport’s playing rules. 

Current design and recommended use of these devices do not address the proposed mechanism of concussive injury, that being acceleration, deceleration and rotational forces acting on the brain. Schools should refer to equipment standards from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM), and the Hockey Equipment Certification Council, Inc. (HECC), when considering protective equipment for student-athletes, and monitor that the equipment is being used for mitigating the risk of injuries for which the equipment is designed. 

When considering the use of optional soft or padded headgear products in non-helmeted sports, athletes and coaches should take the time to read the qualifying statements provided with such products that address specific limitations, particularly those related to preventing serious head injuries. Wearing such products may provide a false sense of security in concussion protection to student-athletes, coaches and parents. Moreover, a false sense of security in concussion protection may increase the likelihood that players, coaches and parents will consider a given medical condition to be adequately addressed and may cause them to place less importance upon avoiding head impact, reporting concussion symptoms and recovering fully before returning to play. 

The NFHS SMAC will continue to monitor developments in soft and padded headgear and will consider adjustments to its position should valid scientific and clinical evidence arise. 

Approved June 2013 

DISCLAIMER – NFHS Position Statements and Guidelines 

The NFHS regularly distributes position statements and guidelines to promote public awareness of certain health and safety-related issues. Such information is neither exhaustive nor necessarily applicable to all circumstances or individuals, and is no substitute for consultation with appropriate health-care professionals. Statutes, codes or environmental conditions may be relevant. NFHS position statements or guidelines should be considered in conjunction with other pertinent materials when taking action or planning care. The NFHS reserves the right to rescind or modify any such document at any time. 

NISOA Rules Video 2018-19

Click on the link below to view the 2018-19 NISOA rules video.

Watch NISOA Video

Pink Event

Hosting a “Pink” Event

BALL: May be pink & white or pink white and another color.  Ball must meet all specifications (Rule 2-2) and have NFHS authenticating mark.

UNIFORM: The HOME team may wear pink.  Uniforms must meet NFHS requirements (Rule 44-1) including legally positioned numbers (Rule 4-1-h-1). No advertising is allowed on the uniform. “Kick Pink” or other trademark phrases are not allowed since they are considered advertising.

If the uniform tops are t-shirts which have been donated, the athletes must either pay for them or return them to the school when the event is finished.  Failure to follow this requirement jeopardizes the amateur status of the athletes.

SHOES: Are not covered by NFHS/WIAA rules so may be pink.

SWEATBAND AND HAIR CONTROL DEVICES: Provided they adhere to Rule 4-2-4 may be pink.

FUND RAISING: See the following from the Eligibility Q & A  Q: I am a high school girls basketball coach. Our girls basketball team would like to hold a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society this coming season and I just want to check that how we plan on doing it will not violate any WIAA rules. Here’s our plan, our fundraiser will be based on how many free throws the girls varsity team makes during the season.  Each player will solicit funds or donations based on the free throw made. People could donate a lump sum or could donate X amount per free throw made. As an example last year we made 205 free throws. If you pledged a dollar per free throw, you would be donating $205 at year end for the team to donate to the American Cancer Society. No funds are kept by or for the team. A: While we appreciate the causes which our schools and athletes support, I recommend that you find a different method to raise funds. The Board of Control has made it clear that fundraisers connected to performance in competition are not allowed. Both from the sportsmanship perspective as well as from the “paid to perform” and or gaming/gambling end of things, it is not a good idea and not allowed. Your plan would be allowed in a practice setting.

OFFICIALS: May participate by using a ping whistle or wearing a pink wristband. Wearing a pink officiating uniform ,shoes, or socks.

Shinguard Requirement

2012 Shinguard Requirement

Beginning with the 2012 fall season, the NOCSAE seal and height range shall be permanently marked on the front of the shinguard.  Equipment shall not be modified from its original manufactured state and shall be worn in the manner the manufacturer intended it to be worn.  


Soccer Goals - Must be Anchored

A proposal to create administrative rules related to soccer goals has been sent by the Safety and Building Division of the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to the state legislature for assembly and senate committee review.

The proposal to create administrative code chapter Comm 9, Movable Soccer Goals, is in response to 2009 Wisconsin Act 390, s. 167.21, Wis. Stats., which calls for rules to ensure that movable soccer goals are properly anchored or secured to reduce the possibility of goals tipping over or being pull down and resulting in injuries or fatalities.

The proposals developed reflect the Guidelines for Movable Soccer Goal Safety from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The rules would apply to new and existing goals located at public places, such as parks, as well as those located at private schools or private recreational facilities. Enforcement would be via a complaint to Safety and Buildings Division staff, but the expectation is that owners of movable soccer goals will voluntarily adhere to the rules once the information is made public.

There was previously a public hearing on the rules and the public can contact the legislative committees if additional input is desired. The rules would possibly be effective July 1, 2011.

Here is a like to the code proposal documents,

For additional information, contact Jim Quast, Safety and Buildings Division Program Manager,, 608-266-9292.

WI Adaptations to NFHS Rules

Printable Version -- Please print and place in your rules book for future reference.