TOPEKA (KSNT) – The heart of high school football in Kansas will look the same in 2023.

However, the Kansas High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) released a set of rules changes that could change some of the ways the game is called by officials.

Here’s what to look out for on the gridiron this fall.

Rule 10-4Offensive Fouls

Rule 10-4 makes a change in 2023 to “eliminate the excessive penalty enforcements for offensive fouls.”

Previously, an offensive penalty would be enforced from the spot of the foul. Under the new ruling, the penalty will be enforced from the line of scrimmage.

For example, if there is a situation where a team starts at its own 30-yard line, and holding is called at the 20-yard line. Before, the holding penalty would go ten yards back from the 20-yard line, giving the offense first and 30 from its own 10-yard line.

Under new ruling, the penalty will be enforced from the line of scrimmage, regardless of where holding happened behind the line, giving the offense first and 20 from its own 20-yard line.

Penalties that occur in a team’s own end zone that would result in a safety, stay as a safety.

Rule 2-32-16Defenseless Players

Rule 2-32-16 takes a deeper precaution into the safety of high school athletes.

Under updated ruling, a defenseless player includes not only the offensive player, but also a player intercepting a pass. This does not include incidental contact while making a play on the ball, tackles started with open hands or an attempted arm tackle by a receiver.

This means both a receiver and a defender, depending on who is making a play on the ball, could be called for a defenseless hit on a player.

Rule 1-5-3Player Towels

Rule 1-5-3 updates a rule on equipment athletes can wear in-game.

Towels – worn on the waist to dry off sweat or water, or as a display piece – have looser restrictions in 2023.

Player towels:

  • May contain one manufacturer’s logo AND/or one school logo
    • Neither logo may exceed 2 1/4 square inches
  • Must be a solid color
  • Does NOT have to match other players’ towels on same team
  • May not be the color of the football or penalty flag

Other Rule Changes/Updates

Rule 2-29-1 updates language on a when a player is back inbounds after being out of bounds. Penalties for infraction remain the same.

Rule 7-5 cleared language to remove “intentional” from the forward pass interference penalty.

Rule 7-5-2 adds an exception to intentional grounding rules to the first, and only, player to possess the ball after the snap.

Another approved change occurred that says six-man, eight-man and nine-man football teams follow the same basic rules as 11-man teams, with exceptions.

Kansas high school football is set to kick off the season Friday, September 1.

Make plans to tune in to 27 Sports’ Football Frenzy every Friday night for Northeast Kansas high school football coverage.