Wednesday, December 18, 2013

6.10.2.3 Pack destructions as a result of normal gameplay are not to be considered illegal pack destructions and should not be penalized. Skaters still must reform a pack immediately or be subject to out of play penalties (see Section 6.10.6 and Section 6.10.7). Examples of normal gameplay which should not be considered illegal pack destructions include:

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play section. While there is always much discussion about what constitutes illegal destruction of the pack, there are certain actions deemed by the rules to always be considered legal destruction of the pack. Two actions are listed as subrules to this one. Both actions are normal parts of gameplay and if the pack is destroyed by a skater performing either action, there be no penalty issued.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/647586281946898

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

6.10.2.1.1 The rules do not define pack speed. Illegally destroying the pack penalties shall not be given for gradually deviating from the speed of the pack as established through game play, unless said deviation is sudden, rapid, and marked, leaving the opposing team no opportunity to adjust and maintain a pack.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play section. This is the rule that determines if a pack destruction is illegal. In other words, these are the criteria for illegal destruction. 6.10.2.1, of which today's rule is a subrule, gives guidelines on which actions may become illegal destruction, while today's rule gives the criteria by which those actions must be judged. After all, even if the destruction of the pack happens intentionally, such as by one team slowing down or speeding, if the action that causes the destruction doesn't meet these criteria, then the destruction is not illegal. There are very specific instructions in this rule. Gradual deviation from the pack speed is not a penalty, unless the deviation is all of the following:

1) Sudden
2) Marked
3) Rapid
4) Leaves the opposing team no opportunity to adjust and maintain a pack

It is absolutely important to note that the action that causes the destruction - not the actual destruction itself - must be ALL of those, not just one or two of them. As I mentioned, it is very important to remember that it is isn't the destruction that must meet those criteria for it to be a penalty, it must be the deviation from the established pack speed that must meet those criteria. After all, anytime there is a pack and then no pack, it happens instantly, at ten feet (or more accurately when a referee determines there to be no pack). So, the mere moment of pack destruction is always going to be sudden. That is why the action which causes a no pack is to be judge by these criteria. For example, if both teams are skating counterclockwise and the foremost blocker from the team in rear does a quick stop, that results in a no pack, then that action has met the criteria for illegal destruction. The stop is sudden (without warning), marked (something able to be seen by refs), rapid (very quick), and leaving the opposing team no opportunity to maintain a pack (because the stop and resulting destruction happens so quickly, and without warning). However, if the foremost blocker from the team in rear stop skating but continues to coast from the established pack speed, then the action which causes the pack destruction will end up being that blocker coasting and the front team skating away. The coast may or may not be sudden (depending on interpretation), it will certainly be marked, but it won't be rapid (a coast, by nature, is slow), and it leaves the opposing team the opportunity to maintain a pack (by slowing down as well). Since this action only meets two of the four criteria, it is not a penalty.

It is also important to note that merely skating clockwise that results in a destruction is NOT always a destruction. Actions made while moving clockwise must be judged against the criteria for illegal destruction just like actions moving counterclockwise, or even actions while not moving at all. So, if the front team is standing still, and the rear team skates backwards slowly, that isn't always destruction. It may be, but it may not be. Similarly, Just because a team in front is skating forwards and the team in rear is standing still doesn't necessarily mean it's always an illegal destruction when the pack is destroyed. If the team in rear is playing passive offense, and their jammer is pushing the opposing team forwards, chances are the action which causes the destruction will be marked and rapid, but will likely not be sudden, and more than likely the team in rear will have the opportunity to adjust and maintain a pack. Their unwillingness to do so doesn't mean they don't have the opportunity. Each scenario must be judged appropriately.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/647181468654046

Monday, December 16, 2013

6.10.2.1 Examples of illegally destroying the pack, or creating a no-pack situation, may include but are not limited to a skater, skaters, or team running away, braking or coasting to drop back more than 10 feet (3 m) behind the opposing team, taking a knee, intentionally falling, or intentionally skating out of bounds in such a manner that the legally defined pack is destroyed.

Today's rule is from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule is a subrule of 6.10.2. 6.10.2 explains that illegally destroying the pack is the illegal creation of a no-pack situation. This is an interesting phrase, because it make specific mention of illegal destruction of the pack, which means that there must be legal destruction of the pack. What today's rule helps explain is which actions may be considered illegal destruction, so as to not penalize for actions that are legal destruction.

This rule includes "a skater, skaters, or team running away, braking or coasting to drop back more than 10 feet (3 m) behind the opposing team, taking a knee, intentionally falling, or intentionally skating out of bounds in such a manner that the legally defined pack is destroyed" but is very clear that this is not the only ways a pack can be destroyed illegally. These actions help act as guidelines to penalize other actions that destroy the pack that may be illegal. For example, while other rules make it legal for the pack to be destroyed as a result of an opponent being blocked out of bounds, or a skater skating out of bounds as the result of a missed block, there is nothing that specifies whether it is illegal for a skater to push a teammate out of bounds, resulting in the pack being destroyed. Certainly, that is a situation that must be judged per the guidelines of today's rule, along with other rules in the pack destruction portion of section 6.10. If a skater were to push their teammate towards an opponent, and the teammate goes out of bounds, destroying the pack, that would certainly fall under the "result of a missed block" exception. However, if a skater were to push a teammate out of bounds with no opponents reasonably within distance of the pushed teammate, and the pack is destroyed, it could be easily argued that this was a team illegally creating a no-pack situation. Of course, the answer as to whom the penalty is given is something that may be up for debate, however going by the guidelines of who receives the pack destruction penalty in other situations, the penalty would likely be issued to the skater who was pushed out of bounds, as their change in position from in bounds to out of bounds is ultimately what destroyed the pack.

Other actions mentioned in this rule include the word "intentionally". This is important, because the intent of some actions must be judged so as to properly determine if pack destruction is legal or illegal, however it doesn't mean that all intentional destruction is illegal. For example, one of the actions that may result in a no pack situation is "intentionally falling". Almost certainly, if a skater is skating and then falls with no outside force acted upon them (such as being blocked), then when the pack is then destroyed, the action of falling will have likely met the criteria of illegal destruction (which will be covered in an explanation of rule 6.10.2.1.1 tomorrow), and will result in a major penalty. However, if a team is intentionally slowing down gradually enough such that the pack is destroyed but does NOT meet the criteria for illegal destruction in 6.10.2.1.1, then the action will not result in a penalty, regardless of the intent to destroy the pack.

Finally, it is vitally important to understand that this rule says that illegal destruction MAY include the actions listed, but that means it also may not. A team running away from another team may result in illegal destruction, but it also may not, and each situation must be judges by the criteria of illegal destruction, not just penalized because it is listed in this rule. The same goes for teams braking or coasting to drop back more than 10 feet behind the opposing team. There are situations where braking or coasting may result in an illegal destruction penalty, and there are other situations where braking or coasting may destroy the pack but not result in a penalty. Again, these actions are only guidelines, and not to be penalized every time they happen simply because they are listed here.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/646687648703428

Friday, September 20, 2013

7.3.2 If both Jammers are seated in the box at the same exact moment, both Jammers will serve 10 seconds before they are simultaneously released back into play by the penalty box official. In all other cases, no minimum time to serve will be required.

Today's rule comes from the Both Jammers Penalized/Both Jammers Off The Track section. The intent of section 7.3 is to allow the game to continue when both Jammers are sent to the penalty box, by keeping the jam time going and swapping the jammers in the box. The other intent of section 7.3 is to stop the jam if there is a situation where one jammer is in the penalty box but no other jammer on the track. 7.3.1 allows the first penalized Jammer to be released when the second Jammer is seated. 7.3.10 allows the second penalized Jammer to be released immediately when the first penalized Jammer is serving more than one minute in the penalty box. Other rules under 7.3 stop the jam if one Jammer is in the box and the other Jammer gets injured or has an equipment malfunction, allowing that team to field another Jammer in the next jam. In all of Section 7.3, there are in fact only two situations where both Jammers may actually be absent from the track at the same time, and the jam continues.

The first situation is 7.4.1, where if the first Jammer is sent to the box, and then the second Jammer is sent to the box, and the first Jammer is sent back to the box while the second Jammer is serving her reduced time, neither is released early, and both Jammers sit in the box together until the second Jammer has finished her reduced time.

The second situation is covered by today's rule. If both Jammers sit down at exactly the same time then they both have to sit for 10 seconds and are released at the same time. If one Jammer sits before the other, even by a second, then they follow 7.3.1. But if they sit at the exact same time then they both sit for 10 seconds. It is because of that reason this rule says that in any case other than sitting at the exact same amount of time there is no minimum amount of time a Jammer may sit.

Thanks to 7.3.1.1, which says that if the jam ends with both Jammers in the box that both Jammers start from the penalty box, if both Jammers are sitting 10 seconds for sitting at exactly the same time, and the jam ends before their 10 seconds ends, both Jammers will start from the box. Similarly, if the jam ends with both Jammers on their way to the box, the same rule applies, since both Jammers are considered "in the box" after they are sent off the track. However, since they are both seated at the same time - between jams - both Jammers start from the box and serve 10 seconds, per today's rule.

As well, thanks to 7.2.4.1 a skater in the penalty box will be instructed to stand at 10 seconds left in their penalty time. So if both Jammers are seated at exactly the same time, they will be instructed to stand immediately after their time has begun.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/604511826254344

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

5.1.3.1 Blockers and Jammers begin at the jam-starting whistle.

Today’s rule comes from the General Blocking section. This rule was changed in the 2013 versions of the rules. Previously, this rule stated only when blockers were able to begin legally engaging. Since the rules went from two start whistles to a single jam-starting whistle, this rule now includes both jammers and blockers. That means that at the jam-starting rule, every skater may begin legally engaging each other.

This rule, while it makes sense, is really unnecessary, since a single jam-starting whistle means everyone starts at the same time, making it redundant and unneeded. I wouldn’t be surprised if it disappeared in the next version of the rules.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/603453329693527

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

6.10.17 Any illegal blocking while out of play that forces the receiving opposing skater out of their established position. This includes forcing a skater down, out of bounds, or out of relative position.

Today's rule is an Out Of Play major penalty. Like most penalties that include contact, this penalty requires major impact to be assessed. Major impact includes a loss of relative position. This includes being knocked down and out of bounds. For example, if a blocker is out of play and blocks a jammer down or out of bounds, they will receive a major penalty. Another form of impact that would be covered in this rule is a skater being put back in play. If a jammer is out of the engagement zone, they may not be legally engaged by a blocker. If a blocker engages as jammer while out of play, and the jammer ends up in the engagement zone, where they may be legally engaged, the blocker will receive a major penalty, as the jammer has lost relative position - their previous position was safer as far as legal engagement goes than their resulting position.

Since the 2013 version of the rules, this is the only blocking Out Of Play penalty that exists anymore, as there is no OOP penalty for blocks with minor impact. If a skater makes an out of play block that has major impact, they will receive this penalty. If they make an out of play block that has minor impact and receive a penalty, they are most likely receiving it for failure to return to the engagement zone (6.10.12) or failure to reform a pack (6.10.13).

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/602974123074781

Thursday, September 5, 2013

7.2.3 Penalty Box Procedures, Rights, and Restrictions When a skater is sent to the penalty box, the skater must immediately exit the track and skate to the penalty box in the counter-clockwise direction.

Today’s rule comes from the Penalty Enforcement Procedures section. This rule explains what a skater must do when a referee signals a penalty to them. There’s three distinct parts to this direction.

For starters, although not the first part of the rule, the skater must exit the track. Technically, exiting the track can be done it two ways: to the infield, and to the outside. This rule actually makes no distinction because which way the skater exits depends on where the penalty box is. If the penalty box is on the outside of the track, then the penalized skater would need to exit to the outside of the track; if the penalty box is in the infield (this is allowed) then the skater would need to exit to the infield. A skater should not be exiting the track the opposite way than is required to get to the penalty box - if the penalty box is on the outside, then exiting to the infield is not a proper exit. This also means a skater may not cut through the infield to get to the penalty box on the outside.

Second, a penalized skater must exit the track immediately. The Glossary in the rules defines immediately as “the first legal opportunity”. That means a skater who is able to immediately exit the track but fails to do so is not following this rule. It is important for referees to remember that sometimes it may not seem like a skater is exiting the track immediately, however they may be waiting for the first legal opportunity.

Lastly, penalized skaters must skate to the penalty box in a counter-clockwise direction. Rule 7.2.3.1 requires skaters to enter the penalty box in a counter-clockwise direction. If a penalized skater fails to do so, then they will be told by the penalty box official to take another lap (by using the verbal cue “color, number, skate around”, per the WFTDA Officiating Verbal Cues document).

A skater is required to do all these things, per today’s rule, however, there is not a penalty associated with failure to do all of them. If a skater fails to skate to the penalty box in a counter-clockwise direction, their consequence will be to skate a full lap to enter the box from the correct direction. If a skater exits the track the wrong way, they may be notified by the referee to go the other direction. If they fail to do so, then they will receive an Insubordination penalty. And finally, if a skater doesn’t exit the track immediately, and does so willfully in disobedience of the referee’s direction, they will receive an Insubordination penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/598069866898540

Friday, August 30, 2013

10.3.4 Skaters who are injured prior to the bout may play if they have received clearance from their doctor.

Today’s rule comes from the Injured Skaters section. This rule is sort of an odd one. The reason being that this is a very tough rule for the officials to enforce. Much like the Minimum Skills Requirements that the WFTDA removed from the rules, since it is a sanctioning requirement rather than a gameplay rule, this rule is also not a gameplay rule. After all, how would a referee go about enforcing this rule? Presuming that every skater has been hurt, and asking every one of them for a letter from their doctor won’t work, because some skaters have never been hurt, and thus won’t have a letter. Asking teams which of their skaters have been hurt wouldn't work, either, since a team can just lie. When it really comes down to it, since this rule has to do with actions outside of an actual game, there is no way to enforce it whatsoever.

That being said, while this isn’t a gameplay rule that can be enforced, it is a rule that all teams should follow as best they can. Injured skaters, at least seriously injured skaters (there’s a difference between a broken leg and rink rash) are not typically qualified to make the best medical diagnosis. While it absolutely sucks to not be playing roller derby, an injured skater playing in a game can become a safety hazard to other skaters and potentially injure themself even more.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/595535347151992

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

7.2.8.1 A Jammer returning to play from the penalty box during the same jam may score immediately upon returning if the Jammer was pulled from the jam after having completed their first pass through the pack.

Today's rule is from the Penalty Enforcement Procedures section. It's a pretty simple rule, really, although the language could be a bit misleading. Basically, if a jammer has completed their initial pass before being sent to the penalty box, then if they return to the track during that jam, they may begin scoring points immediately. That means they don't have make another pass through the pack to begin scoring. Simple enough.

What is unfortunate about this rule is its wording. If you go by the letter of the rule, a jammer returning to the track in the same jam they were sent to the box may begin scoring so long as they "completed their first pass through the pack". This is, in fact, inaccurate. To be eligible to score at all in a jam, a jammer must complete their initial pass, which requires the jammer to skate more than 20 feet from the pack - exit the engagement zone - to be eligible to score points, per rule 8.2. Thus, it would be more accurate if the phrase in question were replaced with "competed their initial pass".

Of course, 8.2.1 is an exception to 8.2, which allows a jammer to score jammer lap points prior to completing their initial pass. Therefore, if a jammer returns to the track from the penalty box at any point, having completed their initial pass or not, they may immediately start scoring jammer lap points.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/594754033896790

Monday, August 26, 2013

6.14.2 Willfully failing to leave the track for a penalty.

Today’s rule is an Insubordination major penalty. This rule sums up the most common Insubordination penalty. The opening paragraph of section 6.14 starts with this sentence:

“Insubordination penalties will be given for actions which demonstrate a disregard for the authority of the referees and officials, whether intentional or not.”

Effectively, this means not doing what the referees tell you to do. Now, that is a very vague interpretation, and should not be used as reasoning to enforce Insubordination rules. However, the concept is there. Referees and officials are there to ensure that safety is being considered during a game, and to make sure the rules are being followed. Part of that task is issuing penalties when a rule is broken. At other times referees may issue other instructions to maintain the integrity of the game, and (within reason) these instructions must be followed as well.

Today’s rule penalizes a skater who willfully disregards a referee’s instructions to leave the track and report to the penalty box. Rule 7.2.3 reads “When a skater is sent to the penalty box, the skater must immediately exit the track and skate to the penalty box in the counter-clockwise direction.” If a skater doesn’t do that, then they may be issued an Insubordination penalty. It must absolutely be noted that this rule says “willfully failing to leave the track”. That means that if a skater has not heard the referee call a penalty on them, and they fail to leave the track, it is not a willful failure. This is not an unheard of event, especially in venues with large, loud crowds. However, if a skater is called for a penalty, and they turn to the referee in recognition, but then continue playing the game, then they have willfully failed to leave the track. That is one of the common types of actions that would be penalized by this rule. Another common action that would fall under this rule is when a skater is called for a penalty, and rather than leave the track immediately, they turn to the referee and protest the call. Most often, the skater will then leave the track, sometimes even before the referee feels compelled to repeat the penalty call. However, even the mere act of turning to the referee and protesting is a willful failure to leave the track, because it is not immediately exiting the track, as is required by 7.2.3. It is because of this rule why skaters are trained by their leagues/teams to accept a referee’s call and just head to the penalty box, and have their captain or designated alternate speak to the head referee if they are sure the call was made erroneously. Pretty much any referee will tell you that they have rarely, if ever, overturned their own penalty call because a skater protested instead of going to the penalty box. Rather, most referees will tell you they have issued Insubordination penalties for that very action, per today’s rule.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/593919853980208

Friday, August 23, 2013

2.5.1.1 If an overtime jam ends before two minutes for any reason, the bout ends immediately and the score stands. Additional overtime jams will only be played if the score remains tied (with the exception in Section 9.2.6.3).

Today’s rules comes from the Overtime section. It explains that when an overtime jam ends, the game is over, unless the game is still tied. That means in the case that an inadvertent or incorrect jam ending whistle is blown, the jam is over, since the jam ends at the fourth whistle of the jam ending signal, per rule 2.4.7. The rules allow for an additional jam to occur at the head referee’s discretion only if the jam is called before it’s natural conclusion for one of the listed reasons, and so long as there is time remaining on the jam clock but not on the period clock. The listed reasons why a jam would end early that may trigger an additional jam are:

9.2.6.2.3 An injury that is a safety hazard to continued game play.
9.2.6.2.4 Fighting.
9.2.6.2.5 Technical difficulty or mechanical malfunction (including skate trouble) that is a safety hazard to continued play.
9.2.6.2.6 Too many skaters on the track that gives that team a competitive advantage.
9.2.6.2.7 Venue malfunctions (including power outages) that are a safety hazard to continued play.
9.2.6.2.8 Physical interference (including fans on the track) that interferes with continued play.

Even if one of these situations happen, it is still the discretion of the head referee to run an additional jam. Outside of these situations, once the overtime jam ends, even before two minutes has elapsed, the game is over.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/592214984150695

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

6.12.9 Skating across the track infield in a manner which substantially cuts short the lap distance. It is not necessary to pass an in-bounds skater to commit a skating out of bounds penalty.

Today’s rule is a Skating Out Of Bounds major penalty. Prior to the 2013 version of the rules, this was the only major penalty in the Skating Out Of Bounds section. This is a rare penalty to see, but it does happen. While most of the time a skater performing this action will receive a Cutting penalty, as they are typically blocked into the infield without time to stop before returning to the track, at times skaters will lose control - either due to speed, fatigue, and a multitude of other reasons - and skate across the infield, shortening the lap distance. The SOOB rules are designed to keep a skater on the track, even if it means the skater has to lessen their speed to do so. This force a skater to have more control of their actions. If a skater loses control and cuts across the infield, or does so simply by error, they will receive a major penalty.

This rule has brought forth an interesting discussion among officials over the course of a few years now. At what point has a skater significantly shortened the distance of a lap rather than made their lap longer. Basically, because there is no beginning or end to a round roller derby track, a skater can be ahead of way they were, or behind where they were, based on interpretation. This is evident in the jammer line false start rules for blockers. If a blocker starts a jam with any part of their body or equipment on or behind the jammer line, then even though they appear to be in the pack, they are considered to be an entire lap ahead of everyone else on the track. Going by that logic, at some point on the track, if a skater cuts through the infield, then they are no longer cutting their lap short, but are instead making their lap longer. We see this happen when a skater gets blocked into the infield and skates clockwise to get behind an opposing skater who is drawing the jammer back. They have made their lap longer by re-skating on a portion of the track they had already skated on in that lap. To push this thought even further, if a skater were to cut through the infield and end up exactly halfway across the track, are they ahead of the pack, or are they behind where they started? While there is no universal interpretation on this topic, what I have found by talking with many officials about this is that the difference between cutting short a lap and extending it that much more happens at the halfway point around the track. If a skater goes into the infield and returns to the track less than half of a lap behind where they exited the track, then they have made their lap longer, and will not receive this penalty. If they return less than half of a lap ahead of where they exited the track, then they will have cut short the distance of the lap and will receive a major penalty. Again, this is not a universal interpretation by any means, but rather something for officials and skaters to think of.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/591156590923201

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

6.10.16 No pack: After a warning, a sustained failure to reform a pack will result in a major penalty. This penalty includes a sustained failure to reform a pack by returning to in bounds from out of bounds. One penalty will be applied to a single skater per team, if applicable, who seems most responsible or the Pivot (see Sections 7.1.4).

Today’s rule is an Out Of Play major penalty. This penalty will never be the first Out Of Play penalty to be given out when there is no pack. Per rule 4.1.2, when the pack is destroyed, both teams are responsible for reforming a legally defined pack. Per rule 6.10.13, when a team fails to make an immediate attempt to reform a pack, they will be issued a penalty. Today’s rule comes after that initial penalty.

When a pack is destroyed, the referees will give a warning that includes a verbal cue of “no pack” and a hand signal. As soon as the warning is given, both teams must immediately attempt to reform the pack. While some say there isn’t a time limit, and others argue that there is, the latter is true. There is a time limit in which both teams must make an attempt to reform the pack. However, it isn’t any number of seconds, as some skaters and even referees will have you believe. The time limit is “immediately”. How so, you may ask? Let’s look at the Glossary definition of “immediately”:

Immediately - The first legal opportunity in which a skater may complete an action.

You may still be asking how that is a time limit. Well, simply put, the time limit is immediate, which, without this Glossary definition, means right away, with no delay whatsoever. However, the WFTDA wrote this definition into the rules in the 2010 version since an attempt made without any delay whatsoever isn’t always possible, without committing a penalty. Therefore, the time limit is right away, unless it is impossible to do legally right away, in which case right away after it has become legal to do so. Yes, this is a sort of convoluted way to look at “immediately”. However, this thought process helps understand how referees enforce this rule, and all related rules. This is the consensus procedure I have heard from many a referee. Pack is destroyed, referee issues “no pack” warning, referee then looks to see if a legal attempt to reform is possible right away, and if not, waits until a legal attempt is possible right away. At that point, once the referee has been able to internally think the question “is an attempt being made right away”, if no such attempt is being made, they will issue a penalty to one or both teams that are failing to immediately attempt to reform the pack. That is how rule 6.10.13 works.

At that point, once the initial penalty has been issued for failure to reform a pack, the referee will then likely call “no pack” again (I say likely because, while this is an incredibly widespread practice, it isn’t universal), followed by another internal questioning of “is an attempt being made right away to reform the pack?” At that point, once they have been able to ask themselves the question, if no such attempt has been made, a major penalty will be given for sustained failure to reform the pack, per today’s rule. As the rule states, this rule will be given to the skater on a team most responsible for the failure to reform the pack. In most cases, it will be given to the skater who is closest to the other team; this means the rearmost skater of the frontmost group, and the frontmost skater of the rearmost group. I say most cases, because it won’t always be that skater. If, during a no pack situation, one of the teams continues to block an opponent without forcing them to lose relative position, but no player on that makes an attempt to reform, then the penalty will go the (or one of the) skater continuing to black while there is no pack. In cases where it is truly unclear which skater is the most responsible on a team, then the penalty will be given to the Pivot, if there is one. If there is no Pivot, a skater on the offending team that is considered to be the most responsible will be given the penalty. If a skater is out of bounds and has the ability to reform the pack by returning in bounds, and their failure to return in bounds is more responsible for the failure to reform the pack than the actions of their teammates, then they will be given the penalty. Unfortunately, there isn’t a black and white answer as to who receives a failure to reform penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/590589494313244

Monday, August 19, 2013

2.1.3 The track boundaries must be marked by a raised boundary at least one quarter of 1 inch (0.64 cm) and no more than 2 inches (5 cm) in height, in such a way that is highly visible to skaters and officials and does not present a safety hazard to skaters. The track boundary line width must be at least 1 inch (2.54 cm) and no greater than 3 inches (7.5 cm). The track boundary must be consistent in height and width throughout the entire boundary.

This rule confuses many people. Mainly the question asked is “2 inches? How can a track boundary be 2 inches high?” Oddly enough, to some, there are track boundary materials that exist that are 2 inches high. Some rubber cable covers are 3 inches wide and 2 inches high. Most usually track boundaries are between 0.25 and 1 inch, but higher ones do exist. From a safety perspective it seems that a track boundary that is 2 inches high ought to be as wide as possible (3 inches) so as to have as smooth a transition as possible for skaters to roll over. From my own experience a track boundary material that is 0.25 to 0.5 inch is preferable as it allows skaters to feel the boundary while still allowing them to roll over the track boundary without a significant safety risk - after all, anyone can trip over even a 0.25 inch high track boundary

The requirement for the width of the track boundary typically applies to the tape used to affix the boundary material tot he ground. The overwhelming majority of leagues use either rope, plastic tubing or rope light for the height, and secure it to the floor using tape. Depending on the floor surface some leagues use packing tape, duct tape, gaffers tape, or wrestling mat tape. Usually the tape is opaque and satisfies the width requirement. If you are using the rope and tape method (or any similar combination) care must be taken to remember that when tape wraps around a piece of rope, the end result of the width of the tape laid down will be narrower than the actual width of the tape. For example, when laying down 0.5 inch width rope, the amount of tape if applied straight down from the rope to the floor, required to cover just the rope and reach the floor will be half the circumference of the rope plus twice the radius; to spare you the math, that would be over 1.25 inches of tape. So if 2 inch wide tape were being used to tap down a 0.5 inch wide rope, the end width of the track boundary, if taped perfectly, would be about 1.25 inch. That leaves very little room for error, and makes it very difficult for the track boundary to be consistent in width throughout.

Therefore, although the rules allow for a max height of 2 inches, and a minimum width of 1 inch, care should be taken when selecting track boundary materials so that a combination is used that allows for safe, legal and consistent track boundaries.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/590190504353143

Monday, August 12, 2013

3.4.2.2 To remain eligible for Lead Jammer, a Jammer must remain inbounds until they are within the Engagement Zone, the area in which theJammer may be legally engaged by a Blocker. In the event of a no packor no Engagement Zone, a Jammer must remain in bounds until reachingwithin 20 feet (6 meters) of the rearmost Blocker to remain eligiblefor Lead Jammer. No part of a Jammer’s skate(s) or body may touch theground outside the track boundary before initially entering theEngagement Zone. Until initially reaching the Engagement Zone, a Jammermay be blocked out of bounds by the opposing Jammer, rendering theJammer ineligible to become Lead Jammer.

Today's rule comes from the Lead Jammer section. This rule explains what a jammer must do to remain eligible for lead jammer status. This rule is, pretty much, straight forward, however, it's prevalence has gone away much in the past couple of years. Thanks to jams typically starting on the jammer line, when a jam begins the jammer is already in the engagement zone. This rule typically comes into play when the pack starts a jam at the pivot line, which is a rarity nowadays. Something that is questioned by some about this rule is what happens if a jammer blocked out of bounds by a blocker before reaching the engagement zone, since this rule says that a jammer me be blocked out of bounds by the opposing jammer. Definitely, if a jammer is blocked out of bounds by the opposing jammer, the jammer that is blocked out will become ineligible for lead, and so long as the block is legal, the initiating jammer will not go to the penalty box. That is because jammers can block each other anywhere on the track. Now, if a jammer is blocked out of bounds by a blocker before reaching the engagement zone, that means that blocker is out of play, and will receive a major penalty for the block. This still means that the jammer is ineligible for lead, based on the first line of this rule. There isn't an exception for the jammer being blocked out of bounds illegally, whether it be by the opposing jammer, or by an opposing blocker. In fact, if a teammate were to force their jammer out of bounds before reaching the engagement zone for any reason, that jammer would be ineligible for lead. Of course, any reason the jammer might put themself out of bounds without receiving a penalty will also render them ineligible. This would include skating out of bounds as a result of a missed block, skating out of bounds to avoid a downed skater, and skating out of bounds to retrieve a dropped helmet cover. 

To sum up, if a jammer goes out of bounds before reaching the engagement zone, or within 20 feet of the rearmost blocker in the case of a no pack situation, for any reason, they become ineligible to be lead jammer in that jam. 

Something that must be considered is that this rule applies even after the beginning of a jam. It applies to any jammer that is eligible to become lead. This means that if a jammer starts a jam in the penalty box - thus eligible to become lead jammer - then when they return to the track they must remain in bounds until they reach the engagement zone or within 20 feet of the rearmost blocker when there is no pack.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/586884744683719

Monday, July 29, 2013

6.13.33 Removing required safety equipment (see Section 7.2.7 and Section 10.1.1).

Today's rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. This penalty is issued to skaters who remove the safety equipment they are required to wear during a jam. This includes a skater's knee pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, helmet, and mouth guard. The reference to 7.2.7 in this rule allows a skater to remove their mouth guard when they are seated in the penalty box, but at no other time while in a jam. If a skater is having an equipment malfunction, they are allowed to leave the track to correct it, and return legally to the jam, per 10.3.3.

This rule is the one that is responsible for most Illegal Procedure penalties issued during a jam. It is issued with the verbal cue "Equipment violation". Most usually, this penalty is issued when a skater's mouth guard is removed. This is often a point of contention with skaters, as they don't believe their mouth guard was removed, since it stayed in their mouth. However, it has become the consensus of referees worldwide that a mouth guard must be seated on the teeth to be considered in. After all, if a skater is wearing an elbow pad on their forearm, it isn't being worn correctly, and is an equipment violation. The same goes for a mouth guard. If it isn't seated on the teeth, then it isn't being worn correctly.

Full disclosure, I have personally been guilty of this particular penalty twice myself, by skating in a jam with my mouth guard stuck in my helmet. Oops.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/580761198629407

Friday, July 26, 2013

Standing - A skater who is upright holding their body weight on their skates. When a skater is told to stand in the Penalty Box, the skater must stand fully erect and cannot maintain a crouched or hovering position over the seat. It must be clear to all Officials and spectators that the box seat is now available for another skater to occupy.

Today's rule comes from the Glossary. It is the definition of "Standing". This Glossary definition has been updated in this version of the rules. It may seem odd for the rules of a sport to define what standing is. However, there has become a need for this definition. Rule 7.2.4.1 says that when a skater has ten seconds left in their penalty time they will be instructed to stand by the penalty timer. They are require to stand, and their penalty clock will stop until they are standing, per 7.2.4.1.1. Unfortunately, many skaters weren't standing, as this Glossary definition explains, but were rather crouching or hovering over their penalty box seat. The purpose of having skater stand with ten second left is not to prepare them for exiting the penalty box. There are several reasons for a skater standing when their time is almost up. A skater standing in the penalty box signals to the referees that there is a spot open in the box, in the case of a skater having been waved off from a full box. If there is a skater waiting in queue to return to the box, they will be sent back to the penalty box when one of their teammates is standing. A crouching skater will prevent the referees from sending a skater in queue. As well, if a skater enters a full penalty box while their teammate is standing, they will be held in the box since that seat is now considered free. This rule was updated to explain that crouching and hovering is not considered standing so that there are no more arguments between teams and officials in cases where skaters are told their time is stopped until they stand, and they believe they are already standing.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/579422332096627

Thursday, July 18, 2013

6.10.13.4 During a no-pack scenario, if all of one team is out of bounds, the team on the track must skate forward, accelerating until they are sprinting, a pack has reformed, or a member of the opposing team may legally return to the track behind them.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows another rule which explains what skaters must do to reform a pack when it is destroyed. It is a new rule in this version of the rules. Previously, there was little to no guidance in the rules for skaters to know how to reform a pack when there was a no pack scenario. This rule is one of four new rules that helps give some guidance. In the case of today's rule, the situation is that all of one team is on the track and all of another team is off the track. Now, this isn't as straight forward as it seems. It doesn't necessarily mean four blockers from one team off the track and four blockers from the other team on the track, although that would certainly meet this definition. A more common scenario would be three of four blockers from one team on the track, and one blocker from the other off the track. This would likely happen during a power jam for the team with more blockers, and the defending team with two skaters in the box and the other on the way. Certainly, there are many other scenarios that would meet this rule's definition. I'm going to use the four and one scenario to explain the rule.

If the black team is one a power jam and has all their blockers on the track, and the white team has two blockers and a jammer in the box with a blocker on their way to the box, and the black blockers hit the white blocker out of bounds, there will no longer be a pack. In this example if the black team were to back up to force the white blocker to return behind them, then the no pack scenario would be sustained until the white blocker could get back on the track. What this rule does is it forces the black team to accelerate forward up to sprinting under the entire black team on the track is ahead of the white blocker so the white blocker may return to the track legally. If the black team is already ahead of the out of bounds white blocker, then they must stay ahead of the white blocker until they have returned to the track. My interpretation of the rule is that they may not accelerate if the white blocker may return behind them, until the white blocker is back in bounds. This would prevent the black team from sprinting away ahead of the white blocker, also sustaining the no pack scenario. In essence, this rule prevents the team on the track from keeping the pack destroyed. It requires them to allow the team off the track to return to the track and reform the pack.

If all of the on track team skaters are not following this rule, then one of them will be issued a penalty for failure to reform the pack.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/576049909100536

Monday, July 15, 2013

6.10.13.3 During a no-pack scenario, if there are more than two groups, skaters who are in neither the front-most or rear-most groups may choose for themselves whether they would prefer to speed up or slow down in an attempt to reform the pack.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows the rule that explains how a major penalty is earned for failure to reform a pack. It is brand new in this version of the rules. The most common scenario used when discussing no pack situations is two even group of skaters, more than ten feet apart. However, this is not the only scenario that may occur. After all, a pack is the largest group of in bounds blockers from both teams skating or standing in proximity. So if there are more than two groups, it is still possible for a pack to not exist. For an example of an odd scenario, I'll use a black and a pink team. Let's say there is a group of two pink blockers and one black blocker in front, then eleven feet behind is one pink and one black blocker, and eleven more feet behind them is a group of one pink blocker and two black blockers. All the groups contain skaters from both teams. However, since the two largest have the same amount of skaters, there is no "largest group" as required by rule 4.1.1. In that case, the two blockers in between the groups of three would be the subject of today's rule. Since they are not part of either the front-most or rear-most groups, they would not be subject to rules 6.10.13.1 or 6.10.13.2, which are the two previous rules that also help explain what to do to be considered reforming the pack. Therefore, the two skaters in the middle have a choice. They may either skate forward and join the front-most group, or slow down and join the rear-most group. They don't have to do the same thing, as the rule says they "may choose for themselves". Of course, that can make things difficult. If both skaters in the middle decide to both jump forward more than a foot, then the pack will be reformed in front, since that group would now have five blockers, versus the rear having only three. However, if one skater were to skate forward while the other slows down, then there would be two groups of four blockers, thus continuing the no pack situation. That means the two groups are still responsible for reforming a pack, and would have to follow the directions in rules 6.10.13.1 and 6.10.13.2.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/574143659291161

Thursday, July 11, 2013

6.10.13.2 During a no-pack scenario, the rear-most group must accelerate forward until either they are sprinting and then maintain that speed, or a pack has been reformed. If a pack reformation is imminent, they may make motions to slow in order to enter the pack in a controlled fashion.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows the rule that explains how a major penalty is earned for failure to reform a pack. It is brand new in this version of the rules. This rule explains what the rearmost group in a no pack scenario must do to be considered to be attempting to reform the pack. Previously, there was no direction in the rules for skaters to follow to reform a pack. All that anyone had to go by was that there must be an attempt to reform. So, for the group in front, it was pretty much universally interpreted that they must decrease their speed from what it was before the pack was destroyed, and maintain continue that decrease in speed, coming to a stop if necessary, until the pack was reformed. For the group in rear, it was interpreted that they would have to accelerate until the pack was reformed. However, there wasn't really any standard regarding how much the rearmost group would have to accelerate, or if the acceleration must be constant, etc. About the only universally agreed upon interpretation was that if the rearmost team sped up to reform, and then before the pack was reformed they slowed back down, then they would be considered no longer attempting to reform, and thus earn a penalty. This rule doesn't deviate too much from the previous interpretation. In fact, it just provides more clarification as to what the rearmost pack should do. Like the previous interpretation, the rearmost group needs to accelerate. However, what is more clear is that they must continue to accelerate up to a sprint, and then stay sprinting, if necessary, until the pack has reformed. Certainly, there is no global definition of "sprinting", but there is certainly a difference between sprinting to reform the pack, and loping along barely trying to reform. The idea is that the attempt must show a difference between the previous speed the rearmost group was at, and the speed at which they reform the pack. Of course, if the rearmost group was already sprinting, then that is all they would need to continue doing to reform the pack. Although, that would be a very rare situation indeed, since the pack most usually get destroyed by the front group going faster, and the rear group going slower.

It is widely thought that this rule is part of the WFTDA's attempt to combat the strategy known as "passive offense" without making a major change to the game or rules. This rule, combined with 6.10.13.1, appears to put the majority of the responsibility of pack reformation on the rearmost group, by allowing the front-most group to coast to be considered reforming, and by requiring the rearmost group to continually accelerate up to a sprint until the pack is reformed. Rather than be a change to the rules, this is just more guidance for the existing rules, but may have the desired effect. Certainly, only time will tell.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/572404712798389

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

6.10.13.1 Examples of an immediate attempt to reform the pack by the front-most group of skaters include actively braking or coasting. This should continue until either they have come to a stop, at which point they may not start skating counter-clockwise again, or a pack has been reformed. During a no-pack scenario the front-most group is never required to skate clockwise to reform a pack.

Today's rule comes from the Out Of Play penalties section. This rule follows the rule that explains how a major penalty is earned for failure to reform a pack. It is brand new in this version of the rules. This rule explains what the foremost group in a no pack scenario must do to be considered to be attempting to reform the pack. Previously, there was no direction in the rules for skaters to follow to reform a pack. All that anyone had to go by was that there must be an attempt to reform. So, for the group in rear, it was pretty much universally interpreted that they must increase their speed greater than it was before the pack was destroyed, and maintain their speed increase until the pack was reformed. For the group in front, it was interpreted that they would have to slow down until the pack was reformed, eventually coming to a stop if it took that long to reform the pack. This rule doesn't deviate too much from the previous interpretation. However, there is a part of the rule that many find very interesting. The interesting part is the inclusion of the phrase "actively braking or coasting". Although the rule continues to say "This should continue until either they have come to a stop ... or a pack has been reformed", there is no indication in the rule that the front-most group must come to a stop, or even how long they may coast until they come to a stop. Therefore, this rule effectively says that as long as the front-most group of skaters is not actively skating (defined in the Glossary as "Using your skates to move"), then they may continue to coast until the rear-most group has skated forward to reform the pack, as explained in 6.10.13.2.

It is widely thought that this rule is WFTDA's attempt to combat the strategy known as "passive offense" without making a major change to the game or rules. After all, the only real difference between this rule and the previous interpretation is that this rule now specifically allows the front-most group to be coasting to be considered attempting to reform the pack.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/572044459501081

Monday, July 8, 2013

3.2.1 A Pivot is a special subset of a Blocker. A Pivot must be wearing the Pivot helmet cover to have any of the Pivot position rights or privileges; otherwise the skater who is holding the Pivot helmet cover is a Blocker with the only distinction being that they can gain those rights and privileges by putting the Pivot helmet cover on. The position of Pivot cannot be transferred. It is not mandatory to field a Pivot Blocker.

Today's rule comes from the Pivot Blocker part of the Skater Positions and Identification section of the rules. This rule has been revised a bit in the most recent version of the rules. It has had a couple parts added to it. For starters, this rule explains what the pivot blocker is, which is, in essence, a blocker for all intents and purposes. However, the pivot has the ability to gain special rights and privileges that non-pivot blockers are not able to gain. These include being able to receive a star pass and take over the position of jammer, as well as line up before a jam on the pivot line. In the previous version of the rules, the rules regarding the pivot were revised just a bit to make it clear that a pivot would have to put on the pivot helmet cover to gain these rights and privileges. Here are the small revisions in this version.

First, the phrase "who is holding the Pivot helmet cover" was added in this version. This phrase doesn't actually change the meaning or intent of the rule. However, it makes it more clear that the only skater that may gain the rights and privileges of a pivot is the skater holding the pivot helmet cover. Now, not every skater may hold the pivot helmet cover. 3.2.2.2 allows the pivot to begin a jam with the helmet cover in their hand or on their helmet. Thus, if a skater begins a jam with the pivot helmet cover on their helmet or in their hand, they will be the pivot for that jam. The second revision to this rule help clarify that point.

Thankfully, the WFTDA included some language in this version of the rules that had been removed from the previous version. This rule now says "The position of Pivot cannot be transferred". This is incredibly unambiguous language. So, to tie it all together, the skater who begins a jam with the pivot helmet cover on their helmet or in their hand is the pivot for that jam - the only pivot for their team in that jam - however, they don't gain the pivot's rights and privileges unless the helmet cover is on their head. If they are holding the helmet cover, they may put it on and gain those rights and privileges. As mentioned at the end of the rule, a pivot is not mandatory. In fact, some teams choose to never field a pivot at all. Although the role of pivot has historically been the skater that either "leads the pack" or "sets the pace of the pack", as quoted from some of the roller derby demo jam scripts I've heard, the pivot really is just another blocker with the extra rights and privileges. As well, if a team earns a penalty, and it is not immediately clear who the penalty goes to, it may go to the pivot, if there is one. An example of this are Failure To Reform penalties. If a team is failing to reform the pack, and there is no skater immediately found to be responsible, then the penalty will go to the pivot.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/571198546252339

Thursday, June 27, 2013

8.5.1.1.3 A skater who removes themselves from the track will be scored on as though they were on the track, until it has been determined they have removed themselves from play, after which point they will be considered a Not-On-the-Track (NOTT) point until they return to play, if they are allowed (see Section 10.3.3).

Today's rule comes from the Points part of the Scoring section of the rules. This rule is a subrule of 8.5.1.1, which explains when a skater becomes a Not On The Track point, meaning when they are scored upon when they aren't physically on the track. Normally, skaters are not allowed to skate out of bounds intentionally, thanks to section 6.12. However, there is a rule that makes exceptions.

6.12.4 Exiting the track as a result of injury, equipment failure, or to avoid unsafe track conditions including but not limited to fallen skaters, debris, and spills.

So, this rule explains that when a skater has removed their self from play, they become a Not On The Track point, and are scored upon once the opposing jammer earns a point on a block in a scoring pass. Now, it isn't entirely clear exactly when a skater has gone from "exited the track" to "removed themselves from play", but discretion can be used. If a jammer exits the track and is immediately lapped by the opposing jammer, that would likely be a Jammer Lap Point. However, if a jammer exits the track and sits down to fix a toe stop, and is lapped by the opposing jammer then, that would be a NOTT point, which the opposing jammer would only score after passing one of the blockers on the out of bounds jammer's team. A jammer won't get scored on over and over while fixing an equipment issue (at least not as a Jammer Lap Point), but they don't become a NOTT point immediately when they leave the track, and may be scored on after they have left the track as they are going to fix an equipment issue.

Thanks to the last bit of 8.5.1.1.3, they don't become a JLP again until they return to play - a phrase which isn't made very clear in the rules, but can be understood to mean "return to the track", based on its usage in other rules. Therefore, if a jammer has completed fixing their equipment, and has yet to return to the track, and is lapped by the opposing jammer, but returns to the track before the opposing jammer scores a blocker point, the jammer will be neither a JLP or a NOTT point. This appears to be the only way the rules allow a skater to prevent themself from being scored on without physically remaining legally in front of the opposing jammer.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/566783980027129

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

3.1.2 Prior to the start of a jam, Blockers line up behind the Pivots, if the Pivot is upright and on the Pivot Line, and ahead of the Jammers (see Section 4.2 Pre-Jam Positioning). Prior to the start of a jam, if a skater coming onto the track commits a penalty, they will serve as a Blocker.

Today's rule comes from the Blocker part of the Skater Positions and Identification section of the rules. This rule has been revised in the most recent version of the rules. The first half of the rule is effectively unchanged. However, the second half is new. Previously, there was no direction as to how to penalize a skater with a pivot helmet cover on who commits a penalty before a jam starts. While some may have penalized that skater as a pivot, that would have been technically inaccurate, since a skater doesn't become pivot until a jam begins. Yet, that wasn't very clear. Now, however, it is clear how to penalize a skater lining up as pivot who gets a penalty before the jam-starting whistle.

Note, this rule specifies that it applies to skaters coming onto the track, this doesn't mean it only applies to to skaters in the act of skating onto the track. Although there isn't a specific rule specifying that skaters who commit penalties after the fourth whistle, having skated in the preceding jam, are to be penalized as the same position they played in that jam, today's rule makes a contrast between the two situations by omission. Thus, this rule only applies to skaters who are preparing to skate in a new jam, as opposed to those who have just skated in a jam.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/565929863445874

Monday, June 24, 2013

6.11.13 A skater cutting only the initiating skater, when the initiating skater exits out of the Engagement Zone at any time after the initiating block.

Today's rule comes from the Cutting The Track section. It is a new rule in the No Pass / No Penalty portion of the Cutting section, in the most recent version of the rules. Previously, the only rule in this portion was that it is a NP/NP when a jammer cuts one teammate. This rule helps clarify an action associated with 6.11.1.4. That rule explains that a skater who is blocked out of bounds may return in front of the opposing skater that blocked them out if the initiator exits the engagement zone after the block. What this rule clarifies is that once the initiator has gone exited the engagement zone, they have lost advantage on the receiver, regardless of whether they return to the engagement zone before the receiver returns to the track. Put more clearly, if a skater blocks an opponent out of bounds and exits the engagement zone (goes out of play), then even if that skater returns to the engagement zone (goes back in play) before the opponent returns to the track, and the opponent returns in front, the opponent will not receive a Cutting major. If the opponent happens to be a jammer, then they will also not be credited for a point since the pass was made while out of bounds.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/565202103518650

Friday, June 21, 2013

6.11.12 A skater cutting only the initiating skater, when the initiating skater goes down or falls at any time after the initiating block.

Today's rule comes from the Cutting The Track section. It is a new rule in the No Pass / No Penalty portion of the Cutting section, in the most recent version of the rules. Previously, the only rule in this portion was that it is a NP/NP when a jammer cuts one teammate. This rule helps clarify an action associated with 6.11.1.3. That rule explains that a skater who is blocked out of bounds may return in front of the opposing skater that blocked them out if the initiator goes down after the block. What this rule clarifies is that once the initiator has gone down, they have lost advantage on the receiver, regardless of whether they return to an upright position before the receiver returns to the track. Put more clearly, if a skater blocks an opponent out of bounds and goes down, then even if that skater gets up before the opponent returns to the track, and the opponent returns in front, the opponent will not receive a Cutting major. If the opponent happens to be a jammer, then they will also not be credited for a point since the pass was made while out of bounds.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/563431683695692

Thursday, June 20, 2013

6.11.11 A skater cutting only the initiating skater, when the initiating skater goes out of bounds at any time after the initiating block.

Today's rule comes from the Cutting The Track section. It is a new rule in the No Pass / No Penalty portion of the Cutting section, in the most recent version of the rules. Previously, the only rule in this portion was that it is a NP/NP when a jammer cuts one teammate. This rule helps clarify an action associated with 6.11.1.2. That rule explains that a skater who is blocked out of bounds may return in front of the opposing skater that blocked them out if the initiator goes out of bounds after the block. What this rule clarifies is that once the initiator has gone out of bounds, they have lost advantage on the receiver, regardless of whether they return to the track before the receiver. Put more clearly, if a skater blocks an opponent out of bounds and also goes out of bounds, then even if that skater returns before the opponent, and the opponent returns in front, the opponent will not receive a Cutting major. If the opponent happens to be a jammer, then they will also not be credited for a point since the pass was made while out of bounds.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/562920230413504

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

4.2.6 The pack and Jammers may begin rolling at the jam-starting whistle from the Official.

Today's rule comes from the Pre-Jam Positioning section of be rules. This is a new rule in this section in the most recent version of the rules. Previously, this rule sort of existed in the now removed Starts section. However, in the previous version it said "the pack may begin rolling", which didn't mention the jammers at all. And in the version before that, it said "the pack begins rolling", which made it seem as if it was not legal to not begin rolling at the jam-starting whistle. While this is definitely semantics, it is nice to see language like this cleared up.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/562459150459612

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2.10.1 Official Review. A team request for a review of an Official’s decision. There is no limit to the type of objection brought up during an official review.

Today's rule comes from the Official Reviews section of the rules. This is a brand new section in the most recent version of the rules. This rule helps explain what can be brought up in an official review. According to the rule, there is no restriction on what may be reviewed in an official review. While this seems an odd rule to have, it appears to be in response to questions about what may be reviewed in an official review, such as penalties, points, mistakes by officials, other calls in question, etc. Now, the fact that there is no restriction on what can be asked to be review in an official review doesn't mean that a review will be found in favor of the team requesting it.

Note that while this rule puts no restriction on what can be reviewed in an official, rule 2.10.3 limits the topic of an official review to only the prior jam. This is not a limit of the type of objection that may be brought up in an official review. So long as the type of action under review happened in the previous jam, it will be reviewed by the officials.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/561972677174926

Monday, June 17, 2013

2.3.4 If 30 seconds or fewer remain on the period clock when a jam ends, there will not be another jam started for that period unless a timeout or Official Review is called by one of the teams (see Section 2.6.5). If an Official Timeout needs to be taken with 30 seconds or fewer remaining on the period clock, the remaining time on the period clock will expire after the Official Timeout and the period will end.

Today's rule comes from the Periods section of the rules. This rule has been revised in the most current version of the rules, and incorporates what has been an official Publication for some time. Previously, this rule stated that if a jam ended and there was less than 30 seconds on the period clock, the only way another jam would be played would be if a team called a timeout. Somewhere along the way, official reviews were also allowed to be used to stop the period clock and have an additional jam be played. Now, this is allowed specifically per this rule. This rule continues on to mention that official timeouts taken when a jam ends with 30 seconds or less on the period clock effectively end the period. The rule says "if an official timeout needs to be taken", which means that official timeouts are not prohibited in this situation, but should likely only be called when absolutely necessary, such as an injured skater on the track.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/561546620550865

Friday, June 14, 2013

1.1 Teams shall consist of a maximum of 20 skaters

Today's rule comes from the Teams section of the rules. Most people will notice that this rule looks shorter than they're used to, and that's because it is. This rule was revised in the most recent version of the WFTDA rules to remove the requirement that all skaters on a team have passed the minimum skills requirements (MSRs) set forth by the WFTDA. This has become a hot button issue for many people. The WFTDA has made a statement saying that the MSRs are a requirement for sanctioned bouts, as they have authority over those bouts, and can enforce that skaters in sanctioned bouts have passed the MSRs. In non-sanctioned bouts the WFTDA doesn't have the same authority. Certainly, with regulation bouts, or for all WFTDA member leagues, the WFTDA may be able to enforce a policy, however non-compliance doesn't really have a possible penalty as directly related to a bout as removing a bout's sanction.

Some question, even with that explanation, why the WFTDA would bother removing it anyway. When you think about the rules, they are intended to be rules for gameplay. As such, a rule requiring skaters to have passed the MSRs isn't directly related to gameplay. What I mean by this is that referees are almost completely unable to enforce that rule. Even if a referee asked every skater, before a bout, if they'd passed the MSRs, there's no way to verify the skater isn't lying. Besides, that's not the logical place for such a requirement. That is why the WFTDA has suggested that requirements for skaters to have passed the MSRs be put into bout contracts. As well, the same requirement can be spelled out for all scrimmages, pickup games, etc. Certainly, people can lie about having passed the MSRs, but nothing has stopped people from lying about that since the MSRs were created years ago.

Oddly, the WFTDA removed the requirement for passing the MSRs because its an internal policy, and has no place in gameplay rules, yet they left the rest of this rule, which, frankly, also has no place in the rules. Since rule 1.2 only allows 14 skaters per roster, a rule allowing a maximum of 20 skaters per team is as helpful as a rule allowing a maximum of a million.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/560451563993704

Monday, June 10, 2013

6.13.34 A skater initiating contact or engaging an opponent before the jam-starting whistle that forces the receiving opposing skater out of their established starting position. This includes forcing a skater down or out of bounds.

Today's rule is an Illegal Procedure major penalty. It is illegal for a skater to engage an opponent prior to the jam-starting whistle. Blocks may only be made while a jam is in progress. This is really self explanatory. Therefore, if a skater engages between jams, and forces the receiver out of their established position, they will given a major penalty. This includes engaging an opponent while lining up for a jam, engaging an opponent just after a jam has ended, and even engaging an opponent while skating between the track and team bench areas. It is important to note that this penalty is for forcing an opponent to lose established position, not relative position. This penalty is most usually issued for skaters that are lining up prior to a jam and knock an opponent either down, or out of bounds, whether by accident or on purpose. This penalty is also issued when a skater engages an opponent after the fourth whistle of a jam ending signal. That particular penalty is often questioned, and it is pretty much consensus that if a skater has initiated engagement before the fourth whistle, but makes contact after the fourth whistle (e.g., a skater has wound up for a block before the jam ended, but made contact after the end of the jam) then there would be no penalty. Rather, this penalty would be issued for engagement initiated after the fourth whistle. Of course, it is the fourth whistle of the jam ending signal, which means that even if the four whistle blasts are repeated, it is the fourth blast of the first set of four whistle blasts which is the official end of the jam. The official verbal cue for this penalty is "Illegal Engaging".

This rule has not changed from the previous version of the rules. However, what has changed is that there is no longer a penalty for illegal contact before the jam-starting whistle that has minor impact. That has become a no impact/no penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/558621564176704

Thursday, June 6, 2013

6.9.21 A stopped skater giving an assist that improves the recipient’s relative position.

Today's rule is a Direction of Gameplay major penalty. While most people tend to concentrate on the penalties for illegal clockwise and stopped blocks, it is important to remember that both blocks AND assists must be made while moving in the counterclockwise position. This rule penalizes a skater that initiates an assist while stopped, that improves their teammate's relative position. There used to be a WFTDA Publication that explained which skaters on the track relative position would apply to, but it is no longer published, which means that the Glossary definition is the place to go to find out how this applies. The definition for relative position has been updated just a bit in this version of the rules. It reads:

Relative Position - A skater’s location in bounds on the track in relation to other skaters when the skater is standing, stepping, and/or skating.

The new language is that part about "when the skater is standing, stepping, and/or skating". I am not going to into detail about the change of this definition. However, it is pretty clear that relative position is the location of a skater on the track relative to other skaters.

To apply this to today's rule, if a skater is stopped and they assist a teammate, and the teammate passes either the initiator of the assist, or any other skater on the track, then the receiver's relative position has been improved, and the initiator will receive a penalty. There isn't a definition for improving relative position, however there is one for bettering relative position, and since "improve" and "better" are pretty much synonymous, it seems appropriate to use the definition for "bettering your position" to understand what it means for a skater to have their relative position improved. That definition includes returning in front of an in bounds skater. Although that refers to Cutting the Track, the part about in front can easily apply to this situation. So, if a skater receives an assist from a stopped teammate, and passes another skater on the track (including the initiator), ending up in front of them, the initiator will receive a penalty.

Now, the argument may be made that since the definition of relative position says "in relation to other skaters" but doesn't specify that the other skaters must be on the track as well, then if a skater receives a whip from a stopped teammate and they pass an out of bounds skater, their relative position has been improved and a penalty should be issued. It is my interpretation that this has not improved the receiver's position relative to the out of bounds skater. After all, in bounds skaters have an advantage over out of bounds skaters, especially out of bounds opponents, because they can engage opponents, while the out of bounds skaters may not engage opponents. If a skater goes out of bounds, they are a disadvantage, which already makes the position of in bounds skaters better than that of the out of bounds skater. Thus, an in bounds skater passing an out of bounds skater isn't an improvement, since their position is already better.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/557144477657746

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

6.9.13 A skater who, while blocking an opposing skater, momentarily comes to a stop, but resumes counter-clockwise skating and/or stepping at the first legal opportunity.

Today's rule comes from the No Impact/No Penalty part of the Direction of Gamplay penalties section. 6.9.1 says that skater's must be stepping and/or skating in a counterclockwise direction while blocking, and 6.9.15 is a penalty for a skater who make a block while stopped which includes physical contact. However, if a skater is blocking an opponent and comes to a stop, but begins stepping and/or skating in a counterclockwise direction at the first legal opportunity, they will not receive a penalty. If the engaging skater has the opportunity to begin stepping and/or skating in a counterclockwise direction but does not do so, and continues to engage their opponent, they will be penalized.

Note that the phrase "at the first legal opportunity" is the Glossary definition for the word "immediately". That means a skater who is blocking an opponent and comes to a stop may begin stepping and/or skating again immediately and not receive a penalty for blocking while stopped momentarily. Unfortunately, "momentarily" is not defined in the Glossary, and will pretty much be left to the discretion of the referees. However, it can be safely interpreted that momentarily would as long as it would take for the engaging skater to have their first legal opportunity to begin blocking legally again.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/556185301086997

Monday, June 3, 2013

6.9.15 A block by a stopped skater that includes physical contact which forces the receiving opposing skater off balance, forward, backward, and/or sideways, but does not cause the opposing skater to lose relative position.

Today's rule is a Direction of Gameplay major penalty. This rule makes it illegal to block an opponent while stopped. This includes initiating a block while stopped, and also coming to a stop while blocking an opponent. 6.9.13 allows a skater to come to a stop momentarily while engaging an opponent so long as the initiator begins moving counterclockwise at the first legal opportunity (otherwise known as immediately). 6.9.14 allows a skater who has come to a stop while blocking an opponent to discontinue their engagement and not receive a penalty. If the initiator comes to a stop while blocking an opponent and does not begin moving counterclockwise immediately, or discontinue the engagement, they will receive a major penalty.

This rule is similar to 6.9.12, a no impact/no penalty rule for a stopped positional block, however, today's rule includes physical contact whereas 6.9.12 is a positional block, which includes no contact at all.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/555758874462973

Thursday, May 9, 2013

6.9.19 A clockwise block that forces the receiving opposing skater to lose established position. This includes forcing a skater down, out of bounds, or out of relative position.

Today's rule is a Direction of Gameplay major penalty. The current version of the rules includes a couple of new rules that differentiate between clockwise blocks that include physical contact, and positional clockwise blocks. However, these rules only apply to clockwise blocks that result in minor impact. If a skater makes a clockwise block on an opponent, either positionally or with contact, that forces the receiving skater to lose their established position, they initiating skater will receive a major penalty.

The inclusion of the phrase "established position" in this rule is deliberate and important. The receiving skater must have established their position on the track for a clockwise block to be a penalty. That means if a skater is skating clockwise and an opponent jumps into the path of the clockwise skating skater and gets knocked down, there will be no penalty. The opponent had not established their position, thus the clockwise block did not force them to lose any established position.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/545232592182268

Monday, May 6, 2013

6.9.11 A clockwise positional block that forces the receiving opposing skater off-balance, forward, backward, and/or sideways, but does not cause the opposing skater to lose relative position.

Today's rule is a No Impact/No Penalty rule from the Direction of Gameplay section. This rule is in contrast to 6.9.17, which is a major penalty for a clockwise block with physical contact. This rule is interesting, as it is difficult for some to envision what it would look like. A good example would be a skater skating clockwise on the track towards an opponent who has established their position, and the opponent stepping out of the way before the clockwise skating skater makes physical contact. Unlike previous versions of the WFTDA rules where all clockwise blocks were treated the same, in the current version there is a difference between clockwise positional blocks and clockwise blocks that include physical contact. In this case of today's rule, if there is no physical contact, and the impact is minor, then there is no penalty.

It must be noted, however, that any clockwise block that causes a loss of relative position, regardless of contact, is a major penalty, per 6.9.19.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/544058655632995

Monday, April 29, 2013

6.9.17 A clockwise block that includes physical contact which forces the receiving opposing skater off-balance, forward, backward, and/or sideways, but does not cause the opposing skater to lose relative position.

Today’s rule is a Direction of Gameplay major penalty. This rule is sort of a change from the previous version of the rules. Previously, a block made while the skater were moving in the clockwise direction was considered a clockwise block, regardless of whether there was contact. Now, contact is sometimes the difference between a penalty and no penalty. As this rule says, if a skater makes a clockwise block that includes contact, and the receiver is only forced off balance, but does not lose relative position, the initiator will still receive a major penalty. Of course, if the receiver is forced down, out of bound, out of play, or the there is a loss of relative position, the initiator will receive a major penalty as well. The change here is that what used to be a minor penalty in past rules version is now a major penalty in the current version. This mostly affects when skaters are in a wall and holding back an opponent, as skaters tend to step clockwise when a wall is moving very slowly forward. As well, skaters have had to adjust when trying to draw out of bounds opponents backwards on the track, since skaters have to be more careful when moving clockwise on the track, so that they don’t contact an opponent.

It must be noted that while this rule doesn’t include a loss of established position, like other Direction majors do, initiation must be factored into the issuance of this penalty. If a skater is moving clockwise, and an opponent steps into their path, getting hit and knocked down, the clockwise skating skater would not be guilty of a clockwise block because the opponent would be considered the initiator by stepping quickly into their path.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/541513112554216

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

3.4.5 A Jammer who begins the jam in the penalty box is eligible to earn Lead Jammer status provided that the other Jammer has not already been declared Lead Jammer. A Jammer sent to the penalty box while making their initial pass through the pack is not eligible to become Lead Jammer upon re-entering the jam.

Today's rule comes from the Lead Jammer section. This rule allows a jammer who has started a jam in the penalty box the opportunity to become lead jammer. It is very important to differentiate between a jammer who has gone to the penalty box on their initial pass, and a jammer who has begun a jam in the penalty box. It's not a difficult differentiation to make, but it must be made. A jammer begins the jam in the penalty box simply be being sent to the penalty box prior to the start of that jam. Thus, if they are in the box when the jam starting whistle is blown, when they are released from the box they are eligible to become lead jammer, as long as the other jammer has not already been declared the lead jammer. This rule does not apply to a jammer who begins a jam on the jammer and is sent to the penalty box after the start of the jam.

Something to note, even if a jammer begins a jam in the penalty box, is released from the penalty box, and is eligible to become lead jammer, they become ineligible if they are sent back to the penalty box in that jam.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/539664192739108

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

2.6.1 Each team is allowed 3 one-minute timeouts per game.

Today's rule comes from the Timeouts section. There isn't very much to explain about this rule. Each team gets three timeouts per game. This not to be confused with official reviews, of which each team gets one per half. A couple of important reminders regarding timeouts. First, they may only be requested by a team's captain or designated alternate. If a skater or support staff who is not the captain or designated alternate requests a timeout, it will be ignored by the referees. A timeout is requested by making a "T" shape with the hands. Second, if a team with no more timeouts left requests a timeout, and it is granted, that team's captain will be issued a major penalty, per new Delay of Game rule 6.15.4.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/536846719687522

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

8.5.6.1 When the Jammer finishes serving a penalty, the Jammer continues their scoring pass exactly where the Jammer left off. For example: If the Jammer has scored on opposing Blockers A and B when sent to the penalty box, the Jammer retains those points. When the penalty finishes in the same jam, the Jammer remains on the same scoring pass and can only score on opposing Blockers C and D. (See Section 3.4 Lead Jammer for Lead Jammer details.)

Today's rule comes from the Points part of the Scoring section. This rule explains what happens when a jammer returns to the track from the penalty box. While the rule says that a jammer continues scoring where they left off, if they haven't begun a scoring pass yet, then they don't score at all when they return to the track until they complete their initial pass. If, however, the jammer has already completed their initial pass and scored one or two points, then when they return they may not score those points again. Points that a jammer earns are scored only once per scoring pass, and are not removed even if the jammer goes to the penalty box. It is for this reason that jammer referees must pay very careful attention to which skaters were passed in a scoring pass in case their jammer goes to the penalty box. IF, like the example in the rule say, the jammer has passed opposing blockers A and B before going to the penalty box, then when they return they may score points on opposing blockers C and D as well. However, if they return from the box and only pass blocker C, and fail to pass D, that jammer's referee needs to know not to award the point for blocker D.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/534279699944224

Friday, April 5, 2013

8.5.1.2 Standard scoring rules and requirements apply to opponents returning from the penalty box that skate ahead of the Jammer before the Jammer is able to earn their first point in that scoring pass.

Today's rule comes from the Points part of the Scoring section of the rules. This rule references 8.5.1.1, the part of scoring section that covers Not On The Track points. As the NOTT section explains, jammers earn points for skaters in the penalty box, and those who are returning from the penalty box, when they score their first point on an opposing blocker in each scoring pass. However, if the skater in the penalty is able to return to the track and skate ahead of the jammer before the jammer has been able to score their first point on an opposing blocker, then the jammer will not earn a NOTT point for the returning skater. That skater will become a normal point, and all standard scoring rules apply, which means that the jammer must pass them legally and in bounds.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/532944930077701

Monday, April 1, 2013

6.9.16 A clockwise skating and/or stepping skater giving an assist that affects the recipient, regardless of whether or not it improves the recipient’s relative position. The penalty is given to the initiator of the assist.

Today's rule comes from the Direction of Gameplay section. It is a major penalty. If a skater is skating and/or stepping clockwise, and they give a teammate an assist, then they will receive a major penalty, regardless of whether or not the teammate's relative position was improved. This could look like a clockwise skating skater giving a whip to a teammate, or a clockwise skating skater giving a teammate a push. After all, the Glossary defines an assist as: "Helping a teammate by giving a push or whip." Where this gets interesting is when a clockwise skating skater "assists"a teammate by pulling them. I put "assists" in quotes, because, technically, a pull isn't an assist, according to the Glossary. So, if a blocker were to block a jammer out of bounds, then skate clockwise to draw the jammer back, pulling a teammate with them, they wouldn't - by the letter of the rules - be making a clockwise assist. However, if the same blocker turned around and pushed a teammate clockwise, then they would be making an assist, per the Glossary.

Where I question this rule is whether a skater should be penalized if they take an assist off a team while skating clockwise, or if they take an assist off a clockwise skating teammate. After all, this rule does say "a clockwise skating and/or stepping skater giving an assist". If a skater takes an assist while they are skating clockwise but their teammate is skating counterclockwise, that wouldn't fit the language of the rule. Similarly, if a skater were to take an assist off a clockwise skating teammate, then the clockwise skating teammate wouldn't technically be giving the assist, although that is my own personal interpretation, and I could be swayed to accept that having an assist taken off of you would mean you're giving an assist. Personally, I wouldn't call that penalty, but I could understand a referee who would.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/531607490211445

Monday, March 25, 2013

7.1.3 If an Illegal Procedure gives an unfair advantage, the referee will assess a penalty and may stop the jam if the offending team fails to yield the advantage immediately.

Today's rule comes from the Major Penalties section. Illegal Procedure penalties are defined as "Technical infractions that give the offending team an advantage but do not necessarily impact a specific opponent." If a skater or team is guilty of an Illegal Procedure, they will be issued a major penalty for the infraction. However, there are times when the team fails to yield the advantage immediately, in which case the jam may be stopped. This rule hasn't much relevancy, though, since the Illegal Procedure penalties that would pertain to this rule actually explain to issue the penalty after the jam has already been stopped, such as causing the jam to be called off for too many blockers on the track, or a jammer who is not lead successfully calling off the jam. As well, it seems as if a skater were performing an action deemed to be an Illegal Procedure, was issued a major penalty for it, and then failed to yield the advantage, they would be issued an Insubordination. However, even if it came to that point, this rule allows a referee to call off the jam so that the unfair advantage doesn't continue.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/529088280463366

Friday, March 22, 2013

3.5.5 Jammer status is transferred when the pivot is wearing the helmet cover on their helmet with the stars visible.

Today's rule comes from the passing The Star section of the rules. This rule is largely the same from the previous version to the current one. However, another important rule has changed that has altered the effect of this rule. Rule 3.2.1 was revised so that a pivot must be wearing the pivot helmet cover to have the rights and privileges of a pivot. previously, a pivot that started a jam with the pivot helmet cover in their hand or on their helmet was always the pivot, for the rest of that jam, which meant that the pivot helmet cover didn't need to be on the pivot's head when they completed a star pass. Now, since a pivot without a helmet cover is ineligible to receive a star pass, as that ability is one of the rights and privileges of a pivot, to be able to complete a star pass a pivot must put the jammer helmet cover on top of their pivot helmet cover. If the pivot takes off the pivot helmet cover, they may not then put on the jammer helmet cover, and will receive an Illegal procedure penalty for doing so.

The part of this rule that has been revised is that the stars on the jammer helmet cover must be visible for the star pass to be considered complete. If the pivot puts on the jammer helmet cover inside out, and the stars are not visible that way, they will remain the pivot even with the jammer helmet cover on their head. Pivots need to know this because if they put the jammer helmet cover on without the stars visible, and then leave the engagement zone, they must still return to the engagement zone or be given a penalty for failure to return.

Something I have not always been sure of is what "on their helmet" has meant, whether the helmet cover was required to be affixed to the helmet, or simply on top of it. My personal interpretation would be that a helmet cover that is simply on top of a helmet isn't actually on the helmet, that the helmet cover must remain on the helmet after the pivot removes their hands. This is, of course, my own personal interpretation and not an official one by any means.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/527938893911638

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

10.3.1.1 If more than one jam is called off for the same skater, the skater must sit out of the remainder of the period.

Today's rule comes from the Injured Skaters part of the Safety section of the rules. It is an often overlooked rule, that luckily doesn't often require enforcement. While pretty much everyone knows that a skater who has had a jam called off for injury must sit for the next three jams. This rule explains that if a skater has a jam called for injury a second time, then they must sit for the remainder of the period. I can only assume this is to prevent a skater from becoming a safety risk, either to other skaters or to their own self.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/526546714050856

Thursday, March 14, 2013

6.16.9 The excessive use of obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at an opposing skater, teammate, manager, coach, or other team support staff.

Today's rule is a Misconduct major penalty. Unlike obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at officials, mascots, announcers, audience members, or other bout production officials, a penalty is only issued to a skater if such language or gestures are directed excessively at at an opposing skater, teammate, manager, coach, or other team support staff. While it is understood that athletes engaged in full contact sports tend to have high emotions and high energy, the WFTDA rules make clear that there is no excuse to use obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures towards officials, or those not directly involved in playing a bout. The rules seem to be understanding towards how teams act towards each other. Play gets heated, and skaters say thing to each other, that much is understood. However, there is a point at which it becomes excessive. Unfortunately, the term "excessive" isn't defined in the rules, which leaves it up to the discretion of referees. Certainly, if a skater hurls a swear word at a an opponent lands a big block on them, that's not excessive. If, however, the skater throws out a whole string of swear words, it will likely be considered excessive. If a skater gets blocked by an opponent and they reply by shouting "you're gonna pay for that!", it won't likely be considered excessive. However, if the skater replies by shouting "I'm gonna drag your f^&*ing ass out to the parking lot after this game and beat the living f^&* out of you!", well, that may be considered excessive.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/524181194287408

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

6.16.8 The use of obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at a mascot, announcer, audience member, or other bout production individuals.

Today's rule comes from the Misconduct section, and is a major penalty. This rule has been revised a bit from the previous version of the rules. In the previous version this rule penalized skaters for obscene, profane, or abusive language directed at an "official, mascot, and announcer". This caused many to question about other people that didn't fit into that category, such as photographers, track repair people, security, etc. Those people have now been address in the current version of the rules. While officials have been removed from this rule and moved to their own Insubordination rule, this rule now includes audience members and bout production individuals. Photographers, security personnel, and track repair people would now be consider "bout production individual". Yes, there are some who may argue that a photographer isn't necessary to produce a bout, and thus aren't included in this rule. That argument is weak, since the referees have the discretion to penalize using the rules as a guideline, and a photographer certainly falls into the same group as announcers, mascots, and bout production individuals. Interestingly, audience members have been added to this rule. This means that a skater may no longer shout back to spectators who may yell at them (not sure if it was happening before, but it certainly may not happen now). As well, an overzealous skater who, while trying to pump up the crowd, shouts "f&*( yeah!" at the audience and is overheard by a referee, will receive a penalty.

It must be noted that this rule is pretty specific, and doesn't allow an official to have a "thick skin". While a mascot, announcer, audience member, or bout production individual may not be personally offended by obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at them, if it happens, then a penalty must be issued. This rule is not contingent on feelings being hurt, or someone being offended. Common sense must be applied to determine just what is considered obscene, profane, or abusive, but it really shouldn't be that difficult to figure out.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/523839120988282

Monday, March 11, 2013

6.14.3 The use of obscene, profane, or abusive language or gestures directed at an official.

Today's rule is an Insubordination major penalty. Previously, this rule included mascots and audience members, and existed in the Misconduct section. In the current version of the rules, this rule was put into the Insubordination section, while a similar rule that covers mascots and announcers still exists in the Misconduct section. Something important about this rule is that it is pretty straightforward, in a sense. If a skater uses obscene, profane, or abusive language directed at an official (referee or NSO), they will receive a major penalty. What doesn't factor into whether this penalty is issued is how the official reacts to it. Basically, if a referee has "thick skin", that should not be a reason to not penalize a skater. Even if an official is not personally insulted by the language or gesture, if it meets the definition of obscene, abusive, or profane, then a penalty should be issued. Certainly, the interpretation of obscene, profane, or abusive may vary among officials, however there is a certain point at which all officials are certainly on the same page. Words that are considered swear words (you know which they are) are certainly in the profane category. Use of language that refers to body parts by slang will typically be considered obscene. And of course, any threatening language will be considered abusive.

It must be noted that just using this language will not earn a skater a penalty. The illegal language or gestures must be directed at an official. So, if a skater looks a ref in the eye and says "that was %^&*ed up", they will receive a penalty. However, if the skater were to look at the floor and say the same thing, no penalty.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/523135864391941

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hips - The laterally projecting prominence of the pelvis or pelvic region from the waist to the thigh. The central point of this area determines a pass, regardless of the direction the skater is facing.

Today's rule comes from the Glossary. Prior to the previous version of the rules there wasn't a definition of what "hips" meant. Only that distances and passes were determined by the hips. The previous version brought a definition of "hips", albeit with strange language that could be interpreted differently by many people. Luckily, this definition was cleaned up for the current version of the rules. Hips is now the center point between the pelvic bones. Since it is a point, the direction a skater is facing makes no difference. Passes are made in the counterclockwise direction and distances are determined from point to point, perpendicular to the inside track boundary.

https://www.facebook.com/RollerDerbyRuleoftheDay/posts/521017767937084

Monday, March 4, 2013

8.3.1 Pass opposing skaters’ hips while in bounds and upright, legally, without committing penalties.

This rule comes from the scoring section. 8.3 explains that a jammer begins scoring once they have ended their initial pass. This rule explains how a jammer scores points. This isn't the only way a jammer may score points, as there are exceptions to this rule. However, the largest majority of points a jammer scores will be per this rule. There's a few parts to this rule. First, the jammer must pass the opponents' hips. Previously, this was not the easiest thing to understand, thanks to some odd language in the rules. Thankfully, the language has been revised in this version of the rules, to remove confusion. The definition of hips is now much easier to understand. Secondly, to score a point, the jammer making the pass must be in bounds. In the past, some have erroneously interpreted this rule to mean the opponent being passed must be in bounds. That would be an illogical rule, since all an opponent would need to do is be out of bounds when the jammer passed and they wouldn't be scored on. The third part of this rule is new in this version of the rules. The jammer must be upright when making a pass, or else they won't score those points. Previously, a jammer could be down when passing, meaning that a jammer could risk a low block penalty, and dive past the legs of a wall of opposing blockers. Since a jammer can't be blocked while down, they were practically undefendable, and would be attempting a pass while down only at their own risk. Finally, the jammer must pass legally, without committing penalties. In previous versions of the rules, a jammer was able to earn a minor penalty while making a pass, and not earn a point for the pass, but not be sent to the penalty box. Since minor penalties no longer exist in the WFTDA rules, a jammer must pass without committing a penalty, as that will send them to the penalty box. If a penalty happens while a pass is being made, the jammer will be sent to the penalty box without having scored a point for that pass. All of the above part of this rule must happen, or else the jammer will not score a point for that pass.

As I mentioned above, there are exceecptions to this rule. The most notable are Not On The Track points. As well, there are points earned for skaters who are out of play ahead of the engagement zone, both before and after the jam ends. Both exceptions have been covered, and are available on the Roller Derby Rule of the Day archive at rollerderbyruleoftheday.com.