Thursday, February 14, 2013

6.15.3 Failure to field any Blockers for a jam, preventing a jam from beginning. Penalty will be assessed to the Captain (see Section for refusal to field skaters).

Today's rule is a Delay of Game major penalty. This a new rule in the current version of the rules. It was created to address a situation that had been a point of contention among referees. The rules require both teams to have at least on blocker on the track at all times so as to always be able to form a pack. That is why the rules instruct referees to not send the last blocker on the track from either team to the penalty box until one of their teammates has returned to the track. Teams are required to field at least blocker in a jam or else the jam will begin with no pack, and no ability to immediately reform it. Previously, there was no specific way to handle a situation where a team failed to field enough blockers for a jam. This rule now gives an answer as to how to penalize this illegal action.

Even better than just adding this rule, the language of the rule explains how to handle the situation, as well. Since this rule includes "preventing a jam from beginning", if a team has failed to field enough blockers for a jam, then an official timeout will be called when the 30 seconds between jams runs out. At that point a major penalty will be issued to the offending team's captain.

Although this was a Rule of the Day already, I have decided to post it again because a WFTDA Official Publication has given new information on how to possibly address a forfeit after issuing this penalty. The Publication entitled "Jammerless Jam" ( is very similar to this situation, in that it deals with a lack of enough skaters to start a jam. As explained, before a jam begins without enough skaters (in this case blockers) on the track, an official timeout will be called when the 30 seconds between jams has expired, and this penalty will be issued to the captain of the offending team. The Publication explains that any subsequent delays may result in a forfeit, per It is key that this says "may", which allows the head referee to judge subsequent delays to determine whether they are failures, or refusals, to field blockers.