Wednesday, December 14, 2011 A Jammer must be in bounds to become Lead Jammer—no part of her body or equipment may be touching out of bounds. She does not have to stay in bounds to remain Lead Jammer.

Today's rule explains where a Jammer must be to be declared Lead Jammer, not where she must remain to be eligible to be Lead. That might have confused you. The reason I put it that way is because there are many people, skaters and refs, who believe that a skater can not become Lead Jammer if she has gone out of bounds. That is not true. Going out of bounds MAY make a Jammer ineligible for Lead, but that is ONLY if she does so before she reaches the engagement zone on her initial pass. That is covered under a separate rule: To remain eligible for Lead Jammer, a Jammer must remain in bounds until she is within twenty (20) feet of the pack, a.k.a. the Engagement Zone, the area in which she may be legally engaged by a Blocker. No part of her skate(s) may touch the ground outside the track boundary before she initially enters the Engagement Zone. Until she initially reaches the Engagement Zone, a Jammer may be blocked out of bounds by the opposing Jammer, rendering her ineligible to become Lead Jammer.

The rule referenced above clearly states that a Jammer is ineligible if she goes out of bounds before reaching the engagement zone on her initial pass. That rule says nothing about having to remain in bounds after she has reached the engagement zone.

So what today's rule covers is that even though a Jammer may go out of bounds and still be eligible for Lead, she will not be declared Lead until she is in bounds and has satisfied the requirements of 3.4.1. No Jammer who is out of bounds may be declared Lead. And very importantly, again, a Jammer who has gone out of bounds only after she has reached the engagement zone, is still eligible to be Lead Jammer.