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  • Writer's pictureTerry O'Neil

Historic Regulations Distributed in New Jersey

In standard procedure, with absolutely no fanfare, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) has distributed 2019 Football Regulations to its 343 football-playing high schools.  These regulations contain the most progressive, most restrictive practice contact limits in the history of the game at any level -- less contact than required by the NFL, less than the Ivy League, less than any football jurisdiction ever.

"I suggest we all save a copy of this document," said Terry O'Neil, founder of Practice Like Pros.  "These New Jersey mandates embody our Practice Like Prosrecommendations precisely, in every detail.  Some day, we may look back and realize this was the moment that high school football changed forever."

The contact limits were jointly announced February 13 by the NJSIAA, the New Jersey Football Coaches Association (NJFCA) and Practice Like Pros On April 5, PLPdelivered New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur to the annual NJFCA/Rutgers Football Clinic for a video demonstration of the Giants practicing with limited contact.

New Jersey's initiative occurs in the same state and on the 150th anniversary of the birth of college football.  The first college game, Princeton vs. Rutgers, was played in 1869 inNew Brunswick, NJ.  Much of the collaboration over a two-year period among theNJSIAA, NJFCA and PLP occurred on the Rutgers campus in New Brunswick.

Here are the mandates as written by the NJSIAA in its 2019 Football Regulations:

Regular Season Contact Limits:

NJSIAA schools will be limited to 15 minutes of full contact per week once their regular season starts. A school’s regular season start date is the date of that school’s first regular season game.

The period prior to the first regular season game is considered pre-season and all pre-season full-contact requirements must be adhered to. Please note that the 15 minutes of full contact per week requirement will be in place for the remainder of the school’s season, which includes the championship playoffs.

It is a recommendation that schools utilize the Practice Like Pros technique, which is not included in the 15 minutes of full contact per week requirement.

  • Full contact is defined as tackling a player to the ground.

  • No full contact allowed during spring / summer recess.

  • Pre-season full contact is reduced to a total of 6 hours.

  • A scrimmage counts towards one hour of full contact.

  • A maximum of 3 full contact scrimmages are allowed during the pre-season.

  • One additional “Thud”-only scrimmage is permitted.

  • In-season full contact is limited to 15 minutes per week.*

  • There is no limit to “Thud”, tackling onto a tackling crash mat, or use of tackling dummies.

*A school’s in-season period begins the Monday following their first regular season game.

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