Monday, March 10, 2014 If an Official Timeout is taken with 30 seconds or fewer remaining on the period clock, the period and lineup clocks will begin running once again when the designated Official indicates that the Official Timeout is complete.

Today’s rule comes from the Periods section of the rules. This is a new rule in the most recent version of the rules. It is a subrule to a rule that has existed in a couple versions of the WFTDA rules. 1.4.3 explains that if a jam ends with less than 30 seconds on the period clock, another jam will not be started unless a timeout or Official Review is called by one of the two teams. In previous versions of the rules, the same rule included a provision that if an Official Timeout needed to be taken within this time, then after the official timeout was over, the period clock would expire and the game would be over. There was even an official Q&A published that said that an Official Timeout should not be taken with less than 30 seconds on the period clock, but that if the Head Referee must take one, then the period clock would expire and the period/game would end. If this happened at the end of the second period, that would mean that an Official would have caused an unnatural end to a game, since neither the period clock nor the jam clock would have caused the end of the game. Thankfully this has been remedied.

Today’s rule allows for an Official Timeout to be taken with 30 seconds on the period clock or less without causing the game to end. Instead, the designated Official - this could be the jam timer, the head ref, or another official; it is purposely non-specific - signals the end of the Official Timeout by blowing a long rolling/swooping whistle blast (per the WFTDA Officiating Standardized Practices) after which the period clock is restarted. Once the period clock has been restarted, it will either end, at which point the period/game is over, or a team may call a timeout or Official Review, which will cause an additional jam to be run. This allows for a natural end to the game, if an Official Timeout is called with less than 30 seconds left in the second period. If the period clock runs out of time, then the period clock has caused the game to end. If a team chooses to call a timeout or Official Review and an additional jam is run, then the end of the jam will cause the end of the game. The exception to this is if the additional jam ends prior to its natural conclusion (the jam clock expiring or the lead jammer calling off the jam) with time left on the jam clock, but not on the period clock, then the Head Referee may call an additional jam, per rule Note that they may, but are not required to, which means that there is still a chance that a game may have an unnatural end. Such an end is certainly rare, while games ending due to Official Timeouts being called in the last 30 seconds was a lot less rare of a situation. Again, thankfully this is no longer a problem, thanks to today’s rule.