Association of Track Officials of Michigan

Track and Field Rule Clarifications For 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2016... Most Recent At Bottom Of Page.

1. April 30, 2006: Under Garments...

     As quoted from a recent NFHS Memo.  "...A question has been presented regarding whether or not a manufacturer's logo on the outside back of an under garment with the same prominent logo on the front is legal.  Such an under garment would NOT be legal if both logos are visible.  The key is the visibility of the second logo on the shirt.  Please review the following situation...

   Situation 1:  Runner A is wearing an under garment with a manufacture's logo on the mock style collar and on the outside back of the under garment.  Runner B from another school is wearing the same style garment.  When the uniform top is worn  a) the style and cut of the uniform of Runner A completely covers the logo on the back;  b) the style and cut of the uniform of Runner B allows the logo on the back to be clearly visible.

   Ruling: a) legal and b) illegal.  Comment: Rules 4.3.1(d)1 specify a single manufacturer's logo trademark or reference is permitted.  This rule would be enforced by what the official observes and not what is covered by the uniform top.  In (a) the second logo is not seen and in (b) it is visible and must be considered illegal.

   Situation 2:  Relay Under Garments...If relay athletes come up to an official with three having black spandex underneath and one having white spandex underneath and their coach quoted the OLD rule that one may be different.

   Ruling: The current Federation rule states if one or more wear an under garment then the garment must be of the same solid color for each member wearing an under garment. Visible garments may vary in length. Rules 4.3.2(a) and 4.3.2(b)

2. April 30, 2006:  Correction of Scores...

   Situation 1:  Team A beat Team B by a single point in a league duel meet.  That night after the meet the coach from Team B discovered that his/her relay team was not given credit for winning the event but Team A was mistakenly given the winning points.  The next morning the coach from Team B told his/her athletic director of the mistake.  When contacted, the coach from Team A was upset because he/she moves other relay athletes based upon how the previous relay team finished.

   Ruling: Rule 2.3.1 reads that clerical or team scoring errors may be corrected up to 48 hours after the conclusion of the meet, unless another time period is specified in advance by the games committee or meet director.

   Note: The signing of the score sheet by the referee/starter does NOT over ride the rule pertaining to the 48 hours allowed for corrections unless it has been specified by the games committee, meet director or league in advance. See 2005 Case Book: Rule 2.3.1 Situation F.

3. October 17, 2006:  Uniform Clarification...

   After receiving some questions regarding uniforms, ATOM inquired with the MHSAA and received the following ruling...

   The concern was with athletes (either males and/or females) rolling up the waist band top of their shorts. The ruling: NOT a violation as long as two(2) conditions are met...(1) The jersey MUST be tucked in all the way around at the start of the race and (2) The waist band MUST be at or above the waist line of the athlete.

   Note:  Athletes that intentionally pull their jersey out after the start of the race and the action is observed by the starter/referee may face a disqualification.  Preventative officiating is strongly recommended.  (See 2006 Rules Book Page 25, Rule 4.3.1.b.7 and 2005 Case Book Page 14, Rule 3.2.4 and 2006 Rules Book Page 27, Rule 4.5.7)

4. February 27, 2007:  Clarification dealing with hydration...

    At a recent rules meeting there was a discussion regarding the providing of hydration for the athletes during competition.  The following clarification has been approved by the MHSAA Office in Lansing...

   Hydration:  In cross country a Games Committee can designate an area where liquids may be provided to ALL competing athletes, OR, the Games Committee may allow coaches to provide liquids to their respective athletes in designated unrestricted areas of the course.  At the MHSAA regional and final meet the area will be designated if deemed necessary.

5. April 22, 2007:  New issues discussed at the ATOM Executive Board Meeting...

A. Indoor Shot Puts are NOT legal for use for OUTSIDE competition.

B. Pole Vault:  Concern is warranted if coaches are allowing ANY pole vaulter to use a weight rated pole BELOW their vaulters actual weight. If an injury would occur to that vaulter due to the athlete being allowed to use an incorrect pole, any catastrophic insurance being carried by the school would become null and void and the coach would become responsible and liable.

6. April 20, 2008: Undergarment shirts with different colored stitching...

A. Clarification from last year... this type of undergarment IS LEGAL as the stitching is considered to be part of the construction of the undergarment and is NOT to be considered as a "second" color of the undergarment.

7. September 7, 2008:  Officials and Coaches athlete reminders to enforce prior to the beginning of meet competition...

A. It is the Coaches RESPONSIBILITY and a meet Officials REQUIREMENT to ENFORCE the following points...

   1. No jewelry allowed to be worn during competition. Only exceptions... a wedding band, religious medal and/or a medical alert bracelet or necklace.  Michigan Rules DO NOT allow watches to be worn. (See Rules, page 71, Rule 9, Section 6, Article 7)

   2. No taping over of any illegal item to "hide" or "cover" it.

   3. Uniform tops are to be tucked in "all around the waist area" at the start of competition.  Intentionally pulling it out in view of an Official may result in disqualification from the event.

   4. Undergarment rule is in force for all Cross Country team members just like a relay team in Track and Field.  If TWO OR MORE team members are wearing undergarments they MUST match as to color of the undergarment(s) but not the length of the undergarment(s). (See Rules, page 71, Rule 9, Section 6, Article 4).                                              

     In addition, attention should be noted to the following..."Any visible garment(s) worn underneath the uniform top or bottom SHALL be a single, solid color and unadorned except for: Item #2... A SINGLE, visible manufacture's logo as per NFHS rules." (See Rules, page 26, Rule 4, Section 3, Article 1-d-2). See item #1 dated April 30, 2006 at the top of this web page for further explanation and examples.

   5. Removal of uniform tops at and around the start line, finish line, finish chute or on the Cross Country course is a violation of the Uniform Rule. (See Rules, page 71, Rule 9, Section 6, Article 6)

8. September 24, 2008: Knotted Headbands/Sweatbands NOT allowed...

Some Cross Country athletes have come to the start line wearing a single colored, folded or rolled and knotted at the back of the head "headband" or "sweatband".  This pertains to Track and Field athletes also.

Ruling... This type of headband is NOT legal. MHSAA ruling is that knotted items are not allowed on any items worn in competition.

MHSAA guidelines limit headgear to SINGLE COLORED...

A. Wool stocking cap,

B. Two (2") inch wide elastic sweatband or

C. Two (2") inch wide ski band with "extensions" to provide cover over the ears.

9. October 3, 2008: Athletes having written split times on themselves during competition...

Some athletes have been found to be "wearing" goal oriented split times written on themselves during actual competition.  These would be considered as Temporary Tattoos and are in violation of that rule.  Any athlete in question should be asked to remove the writing before competition or face the result of disqualification from the event.

10. October 5, 2008: Rule Clarification for 2009 concerning Pole Vault Poles...

Weight Rating For Pole Must Be In Contrasting Color Mark... Most poles have an etching or serial number on the pole, which is a code to the manufacturer. This information relates to the characteristics of the pole such as weight rating, length, etc., and is used by the manufacturer. However, the code may not be clearly identifiable to the coach, vaulter, event judge in regard to the weight rating for the pole. An etching IS NOT in compliance with the requirement of the contrasting mark. The rating appearing as the mark in contrasting color is established by the manufacturer is clearly visible and serves only this purpose to identify the pole's weight rating. The requirement is for purposes of risk minimization and should be adhered to strickly.

            If a contrasting color mark indicating the poles weight rating is not on the pole, it is the coaches and/or schools responsibility to contact the manufacturer and provide the etched information to them and in return receive a proper contrasting color mark indicator that can then be applied on to the pole.

11. May 1, 2009: Rule Clarification for Rule 5-7-3: Step Up Start...

Due to a few questions regarding this rule, a decision from the MHSAA in Lansing on April 22, 2009 has determined the following... The Step Up Start in the 800M on up will NOT be used this year at the Regional or State level of competition as there has not been any real coaches or officials education on the mechanics of the procedure.  It will be addressed at next years Rules Meetings but for this season (2009), the 800M, 1600M, 3200M and 3200M Relay will be run in alleys with the same procedure we have been using for the last several years (since we went to alleys for these races).

12. September 3, 2009: Rule Clarification regarding the wearing of arm sleeves...

A question regarding the wearing of arm sleeves by athletes in competition has received a formal interpretation from the National Federation and the following statement from the MHSAA received on September 1, 2009...

"The arm sleeves are not considered an undergarment by the National Federation; therefore, we will treat them like socks or gloves.  In other words, there are no restrictions on logos, color, design, etc, on such arm sleeves.  When we say "arm sleeves", we are talking about the Moeben-style sleeves being marketed within the running and cycling communities (www.moeben.com). "

13. March 18, 2010: Rule Clarifications regarding Five-Finger shoes, Arm Warmers and Altius Poles...

1. Five-Finger shoes:  This shoe is non-traditional but is becoming popular for distance runners.  It is a product which has a sole, a fitting for each toe, a soft upper, no laces, but for most models a strap which goes over the top of the foot to fasten the shoe.  Under NFHS Track and Field Rule 4-3-1, this shoe style is legal.  These shoes must be designed to be securely fastened to the foot.  This shoe is legal if all requirements in 4-3-1 are met, unless restricted by state association policy.  The following link will take you to a site to view some five-finger shoes...  http://www.google.com/products?q=five+finger+shoes&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla

2. Arm warmers displaying a school name and/or manufacturer's name:  Arm warmers are not considered a part of the official school uniform.  Likewise, these items are not considered a visible undergarment.  Therefore, there is no restriction on color, size or placement of a school name or mascot.  There is no restriction on a manufacturer's name/logo/trademark or reference in regard to size or placement on these items. These items are legal with no restrictions on logo/printing size and location unless restricted by state association policy.

3. Altius poles:  Older models of Altius poles did not display the weight rating for the pole in the form of a label, but rather through an engraving of the 3/4 inch size, proper location and appeared in contrasting color according to Rule 7-5-3.  As these poles have been used in practice and competition, some have lost the contrasting color of the weight rating.  No pole by any manufacturer is "grandfathered" to not meet all requirements in Rule 7-5-3.  It is the responsibility of the manufacturer and school to address the official process of the manufacturer to validate the replacement of the weight rating should it become worn and no longer visible in a contrasting color, as required by rule.

14. From the March 15, 2010 ATOM Newsletter, click on the link below for the 2010 Major Track/Field Rule Notations...

2010 Major Track/Field Rule Notations

SPECIAL EMPHASIS NOTE FROM ABOVE... Under the Section on Uniforms/Jewelry it states..."Stitching on uniforms is not considered "multi-coloring".  Contrasting or Multi-Colored or different color stitching on UNDERGARMENTS IS ILLEGAL and should not be allowed during competition.

OTHER RULE REMINDERS...

1. Emphasize that the etching on the Altius PV Poles showing legal weight rating only in the proper location.

2. The arm sleeves & leg warmers to be ruled the same as socks... NO RESTRICTIONS.

3. Boxer shorts: Considered as underwear as are sports bras... Officials are not to consider as a violation.

14. May 2010... Field Event Relay "Teams" and the Uniform/Undergarment Rule...

   There were some questions posed during a few Invitational Relay Style Meets if Field Event "Relay" Teams had to be dressed alike.  The decision from both the ATOM Executive Board and MHSAA was that the Track and Field Rules Book treats relays as running events using a baton, exchange zones, a prescribed distance that has to be covered and that it has lane assignments.  Field Event "Relay" events would not fall under the uniform/undergarment rule as long as the uniforms were alike and school issued.  Also, the uniform rule associated with the Relay Style Meet should be addressed by Meet Management and/or the Games Committee as a management issue and it would be left to Meet Management and/or the Games Committee to clearly indicate if the uniform/undergarment rule would also pertain to field event "teams".

15. August 4, 2010... Further clarification on jewelry and hair control...

   In an MHSAA produced document titled "2010 Cross Country Rules Information & Updates" (link available on the "XC & Track and Field News" page on this web site) the following is mentioned...

"While jewelry is still prohibited in all track and field events under NF Rule 4-3-3, the first violation witnessed by an official will now result in a team warning.  The observing official shall report to the meet referee, who will then notify the coach of the offending school.  All subsequent violations will result in a disqualification of the athlete(s) from the event.  Please know that the penalty for illegal uniforms remains unchanged from past years." 

   Also, "NF Rules 4-3-3 and 9-6-7 were amended to allow additional means of hair control.  Unadorned devices, such as bobby pins, barrettes and hair clips, no longer than two (2) inches, may be worn to control a competitor's hair.  This rule was updated to reflect common practice in some states and achieve consistency throughout the rule's application.  These items for hair control are not considered dangerous for the contestant and are not considered jewelry or adornment."

16. September 12, 2010...Further clarification on Jewelry Rule...

   The ATOM Executive Board strongly suggests to all Cross Country Officials that prior to starting EVERY race that Preventive Officiating be done by reminding all competitors that the No Jewelry Rule is in effect and to remove any and all jewelry before the race begins.  Other issues also include similar solid colored undergarments when worn by two (2) or more team members and that jerseys are to be tucked in both front and back at the start of the competition.

17. August 8, 2011...The wearing of watches during competition...

   Wrist watches are no longer considered jewelry, and may now be worn by athletes during competition.  WRIST WATCHES ARE NOW LEGAL.

18. August 22, 2011...Athletes and feather(s) in hair...

   The MHSAA has determined that it is NOT LEGAL for athletes to compete if they are wearing feather(s) in their hair. "The only purpose that a feather would serve would be for adornment or jewelry... both of which are illegal."

19. February 23, 2012... Rule Changes for the 2012 Track and Field and upcoming 2012 Cross Country Seasons...

2012 Track and Field Rules and Notations

20. April 24, 2012... Clarification on Cold Weather Clothing During Track and Field Competition...

In the event there is cold weather during Track and Field Meet competition, the following clothing is considered legal by the MHSAA AND if a coach allows an athlete to compete in sweats, the following guidelines must be followed...

1. For Discus and Shot Put Throwers... SCHOOL ISSUED top and bottom SWEATS may be worn during competition as long as the athlete is wearing a school issued track uniform, jersey and short, UNDER the sweats.

2. For High Jump, Long Jump and Pole Vault... No sweats may be worn during competition as an outer garment but are acceptable as an undergarment.

3. For all other competing athletes... SCHOOL ISSUED top and bottom SWEATS may be worn UNDER the school issued track uniform, jersey and short.

NOTE: If any SCHOOL ISSUED SWEAT is worn as an undergarment, it still must be of a single solid color and the school issued track uniform jersey would cover any design and/or lettering. From the MHSAA... "There can be NO coaches agreement to do something that the listed rules do not allow."

21. January 19, 2016... From the National Federation of State High Schools (NFHS)...Track and Field Pre-Meet Notes for 2016 competition...Including a Review of 2016-2017 Rule Changes...

Click on each set of pages below...

1. Pages 2, 3 and 5

2. Pages 6, 7 and 8

3. Pages 9, 10 and 11

4. Pages 12, 13 and 14

5. Pages 15, 16 and 17

6. Pages 18 and 19