Monday, June 16, 2014

6.2.8 After being released from the Penalty Box, a penalized skater may return to the track. A skater may skate clockwise in the clearance around the outside of the track when exiting the Penalty Box (see Section 5.13.20).

Today’s rule comes from the Penalties Enforcement section of the rules. It refers to what happens to a player upon being released from the penalty box.

Earlier today WFTDA released a set of clarifications, Q&As, rules publications, and corrections. We’ll need a day or two to assess the significance of them all, but this one I can address immediately. An additional sentence was removed from this rule: “When returning to play, the skater must return behind the rearmost pack skater.”

The reason for this change was that this sentence should not have existed in the March 1, 2014 rule set. It directly conflicts with 5.13.20, which penalizes illegal re-entry to the track after being released from the penalty box. 5.13.20 states that the re-entry rules follow similar rules as cutting the track. Re-entering the track in the engagement zone ahead of two teammate blockers, or one opposing blocker warrants a penalty. Unlike cutting the track rules, it is not a penalty when returning from the penalty box for re-entering the track ahead of a jammer.

The old 6.2.8 says that a skater must only avoid entering in front of the pack skaters. This was true in the last rule set. Now 5.13.20 says it’s not just the pack, but the entire engagement zone. Referees understand that 5.13.20 takes priority because WFTDA specifically announced they were rewriting the re-entry in the new rule set. Unfortunately someone in the rules department simply forgot to adjust the writing in 6.2.8 at the same time.

(Small side note: 6.3.3 has this same issue but has not been corrected. It references pack skater when it should be referencing any blocker inside the engagement zone.)

The rest of the 6.2.8 has not been changed. When released from the penalty box a skater may return to the track. They can travel either clockwise or counter-clockwise around the outside of the track as per their preference.