Monday, August 4, 2014

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

Today’s rule continues our series on “illegal engaging”, a type of illegal procedure involving contact between opposing players not during a jam. More specifically, today’s rule is the penalty-level version of the topic we brought up yesterday -- contact prior to a jam-start whistle.

When a player lines up for a jam, they establish a starting position on the track. That position is either up or down, and a legal or illegal starting position (as defined by section 3.2). Under today’s rule, contact prior to the jam-starting whistle is illegal if causes an opponent to lose their established starting position by knocking them down or altering their position from legal to illegal. Additionally, a Q&A makes it clear that it is a penalty for the initiator of pre-jam contact to gain an advantage from their action.

The Q&A has five examples on the subject, two of which are legal contact which we covered yesterday. The other three warrant a penalty under today’s rule. Simplifying a bit, these examples are:

1) Red Blocker makes contact with White Blocker causing White Blocker to stumble and put his/her toe on the jammer line. (Penalty for forcing White Blocker into an illegal starting position.)

2) Red Blocker jostles a White Blocker out of a wall and takes his/her starting position. (Penalty for usurping White Blocker’s established position.)

3) From behind the jammer line, Red Blocker makes contact with White Blocker and jostles him/her forward. Red Blocker then moves in front of the jammer line and takes White Blocker’s starting position. (Penalty for the gained advantage of moving from an illegal to legal starting position.)

It is also worth nothing in this rule says the offender must be a skater lining up for the next jam. The offender can easily be a player leaving the prior jam who makes contact with someone legally in place for the next jam.

Of course this is only one type of illegal engaging -- blocking prior to the jam-start whistle. There’s also another type of illegal engaging -- blocking after the fourth whistle. Both are equally in effect for the entire duration between jams (during timeouts, official reviews, etc.).