Thursday, July 31, 2014

8.3.3 If the referee is in a position where intent must be inferred but is not clear, legal intent must be presumed.

Today’s rule is a continuation of the discussion of 8.3, “Referee Discretion”

Today’s rule has one main word in it that sets it apart from simply judging an action. That word is “intent”. There are a few situations where judging intent is important. Those situations are specific and are identified in the rules by using the word “Intentional”. Most of the places where you see that word in the rules is when it comes to judging if an action warrants an expulsion. While most actions need to be “reckless or negligent” in order to be awarded and expulsion. A few penalties also add the word “Intentional” (examples of this would be 5.6.5, and 5.2.4). In those cases, if there is not a clear way of judging the intent of the skater, then legal intent must be presumed. As always, if we as officials are not completely sure, we need to defer to the skaters.

To review: If the intent of the skater needs to be looked at, as well as the action, if you cannot determine the intent, then you must presume that the intent was legal for all discussions and decisions.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 Repeatedly cutting small amounts of the lap distance short, which together add up to a significant portion of lap distance having been cut short over the course of the game.

Today’s rule is a Skating Out of Bounds penalty that is new to the rules in the March 1, 2014 edition. It is the second of two examples listed for 5.12.16, which states that significantly cutting short the lap distance while skating out of bounds is a penalty.

This rule says that repeatedly shaving off lap distance is a penalty. This is most commonly in the case of a jammer who zips around the apex so closely to the inside of the track that one foot goes out of bound. On its own this is not a penalty -- skaters can voluntarily adopt a straddling position if they wish. But each time the skater does so they trim a bit off the lap distance. Once, twice, perhaps three times are no big deal. But as those bits of shaved distance add up, the skater becomes increasingly likely to be generate a Skating Out of Bounds penalty.

Many skaters (and referees) dislike the rule because it’s so variable -- how does one define a “significant” portion of a lap? Yet it’s understandable why the rules leave this up to referee discretion. If the rules specified that a penalty is warranted after the skater cumulatively shaves, say 10 feet off the lap distance, there would be complaints that it takes trigonometry to determine when the threshold is met. Yet if there was no penalty for cumulatively shaving off lap distance, jammers may start regularly shaving the apex to increase their speed around the track. So don’t expect “significant” to be defined anytime soon.

By far, the best way of avoiding this penalty is to stay in bounds while skating around the apex by yourself. Or at the very least, minimize how much of the lap distance is trimmed. Shaving lap distance with a skate one inch over the track will add up slowly. But skating around the apex with one skate in bounds by only an inch will become “significant” fast.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

8.3.2 If the referee is in doubt on a call (e.g. the referee sees the effects of a hit but does not see the action). a penalty must not be called.

Today’s rule continues the discussion of “referee discretion” under Rule 8, “Officials.

Today’s rule is about making sure a referee only calls penalties on actions they see and the effects of those actions, and not just because they saw the effect of the action, but not the action itself.

Referees are trained to make penalty calls based on seeing the beginning, middle, and end of a particular action. If a referee does not see all three, they do not have enough information to make a correct call. A common example of this is when a referee calls a high block when they see a skater holding their head or reacting in some way that indicates they were hit in the head or above the shoulders. If the referee did not see who made the contact and the manner in which the contact was made, the referee cannot make that penalty call.

This brings up a few issues about officiating. First, its important for all officials to try to be in position to have the best viewpoint to make a call. In every sport I officiate, the philosophy is “Coaches are always going to complain about your judgement, they should never be able to question your positioning”. If an official is out of position in any sport, its very obvious and very hard to justify a call made when an official is out of position.

Second, it’s important for officials to review your own work. Video review with other officials is a great way to go over what you saw, what you didn’t see, and if you were in position at all times. Review makes you a better official and will get you more respect from the teams you officiate.

Finally, skaters need to realize that officials will NEVER see every call every time. Derby, as well as Derby officiating, is a human endeavor. The really good officials work hard to drastically minimize the calls they will miss, but they will miss calls. The dynamics of derby make it hard sometimes to see each and every illegal action. This is why this rule is crucial. It keeps the officials from “assuming” illegal action. If we didn't see the beginning, middle, and end of an action, this rule tells us we cannot make a penalty call.

Saturday, July 26, 2014 Referee discretion is intended ONLY to allow referees to keep the game safe, fair, and consistent in the event that an unexpected situation arises. Discretion does not allow referees to change rules.

(Admin note:I capitalized “Only” instead of using bold letters, as it appears in the rulebook. The emphasis is intended in the rule-JI)

Today’s rule continues the discussion of “Referee Discretion” under Rule 8, “Officials”.

Today’s rule is very important for all officials to know. The game of roller derby, as outlined by the rules set forth by the WFTDA, is to be played by those rules and those rules only. Referees cannot simply change a rule to meet a specific need. There must be a compelling safety reason, or some other reason that does not have any precedent, in order to alter the game and deviate from the rules.

The most common use of referee discretion I can think of is using a track that is not exactly measured out to the standards listed in the WFTDA rules. I have worked with a few leagues that do not have an official WFTDA sized track for their venue. Those changes to the track are made, however, in order to have the proper safety zones on the side for the officials and for the fans. Not every venue is ideal and adjustments have to be made in order for teams to have a public place to have games and sell tickets.

The consequence to this discretion is that a game played under those circumstances will not be sanctioned by the WFTDA. “Sanctioned” in this case means the game will not count for ranking purposes.

The bottom line is that referee discretion is actually a very limited action. All rules must be followed and cannot be changed. Any adjustments from the rules must have a very significant safety reason. I honestly had a hard time thinking of many scenarios that the rules did not cover in some way. Feel free to post if you think of any as a way to share with our small community of 50k followers :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

8.3.1 The consensus of the referees will be the final decision on any disputed point that is not clearly spelled out in these rules. The referee may increase the severity of a penalty at their discretion. Similarly, the referee may decrease the severity of a penalty to a warning as the referee sees fit.

Today’s rule comes from “Referee Discretion” under rule 8, “Officials”

Today’s rule begins a small discussion of situations where the referee has to make a decision when there is no specific rule that will govern the decision. In today’s rule, the referee has the discretion to upgrade a penalty, or downgrade a penalty as they deem necessary.

The main situation this rule applies to is when issuing a Gross Misconduct or an Expulsion. Most times a referee will not downgrade a major to a warning unless there was official error. In that case it’s not a warning; it is a simple removal of the penalty all together.

Generally, when a player commits an egregious act, the referee will issue the immediate major penalty. Once the jam is over, the officials will meet to have a decision to determine if the action warrants an expulsion. If the action, in the eyes of the officials, warrants an expulsion, then the penalty is upgraded from a major to an expulsion. If the action did not warrant an expulsion, in most cases, the “warning” is the major penalty followed by a discussion with the captain about the penalty.

It is important to remember that occasionally, if an action is deemed obviously egregious or violent, the discussion of an expulsion is not needed and an expulsion is awarded immediately. This can only take place from the head referee, since only the head referee is allowed to issue an expulsion. (

Overall, this rule allows the referees to discuss any situation and make the appropriate adjustments to penalties as needed.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

5.12.15 Being propelled fully out of bounds by a teammate. The out-of-bounds skater is still potentially subject to pack destruction penalties (see Section 5.10 Out of Play).

Today’s rule is simple and self-explanatory, but has never been formalized in the rules. Now it is. If a teammate pushes, blocks, knocks, or otherwise sends you sends zooming out of bounds, you do not receive a Skating Out of Bounds penalty.

If you are a blocker and your exit from the track causes the pack to be destroyed then you are still liable for a “destroying the pack” penalty.

This completes my series on new rules covering legal reasons a player can skate out of bounds. I’ll be back Monday to discuss new reasons why a player can be penalized for doing so.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

5.12.11 After a warning (see Section 5.10 Out of Play), exiting the track whilst out of play, as a result of an immediate attempt to return to the Engagement Zone, so long as this does not substantially cut the lap distance short.

Like everything I’ve posted lately, today’s rule comes from the Skating Out of Bounds section. It’s yet another No Impact / No Penalty for skating out of bounds. This rule is newly added to the rule set in the March 1, 2014 edition.

As every blocker knows (or should know), when you’re outside of the engagement zone a pack referee will yell “out of play!”, a warning that you need to immediately stop blocking (even positionally) and return to the engagement zone immediately. Failure to do so nets an immediate penalty, so blockers must immediately get out of the way of a jammer trying to get through. So they step aside, and perhaps find themselves on the other side of the track line. Alternately, they may be partially around the track apex, so they skate out of bounds to “cut the apex” on the way back to the engagement zone.

Today’s rule specifies that these actions are legal. After an “out of play” warning, a skater can legally exit the track provided they do so 1) immediately (defined as “at the first legal opportunity”), and 2) in an attempt to return to the engagement zone.

Monday, July 21, 2014

5.12.8 Cutting across the infield in order to legally re-enter the track behind an opponent (for example, one Jammer attempting to return to the track after the other Jammer has skated clockwise).

Today’s rule comes from the Skating Out of Bounds section. It continues a series from early last week on newly defined legal reasons a skater may exit the track and/or skate out of bounds.

This rule states that so long as a player is trying to re-enter behind an opponent (often to avoid cutting the track), it’s legal to skate across the infield. Simple, really.

5.12.16 says it’s illegal to skate out of bounds in a manner that cuts short the lap distance. Prior to today’s rule, some referees interpreted that cutting across the infield to avoid a cut was also cutting short the lap distance and therefore a penalty. Others disagreed, pointing out that the player is backtracking and not doing laps at all.

Today’s rule settles the debate -- no penalty. The priority here is to get the player back on the track so they can continue playing, not to run them through a mini-obstacle course on the track infield.

Saturday, July 19, 2014 Prior to yielding, a Blocker who has false started is not considered part of the pack.

Today’s rule is the final rule in “Pre-Jam Positioning” under Rule 3 The Pack.

Today’s rule states that any skater who false starts is not to be considered a part of the pack until they have yielded.

This means for the purpose of defining the pack, a skater who has false started is not a factor. Realistically in game play, due to the popularity of scrum starts on the jammer line, a false starting skater will not really have an effect on defining the pack. If the pack is more spread out, then this rule comes into play more.

Ultimately at the start of a jam, with all the skaters bunched up, this rule rarely factors in much, its just good for officials to remember this. Its one of those rare situations an official needs to be ready for.

Friday, July 18, 2014 If a false-starting skater attempts to cede relative position (by coming to a stop), but no other skaters make an attempt to take back said advantage, the false starting skater is no longer required to yield.

Today’s rule comes from “Pre-Jam Positioning” under rule 3, “The Pack”.

Today’s rule describes what happens if a skater yields, and no one takes advantage of it. Once a skater has been given a false start warning (“Black 2112, FALSE START”), Black 2112 must now cease forward motion in order to give skaters around them a chance to regain their relative position. These skaters are not required to take advantage of the yield. The only requirement is that the false-starting skater must give the opportunity to regain position.

If no one takes advantage of the skater who is yielding, play continues and there is no further action required by the false-starting skater. The important part is that the skater must still cease all forward momentum in order to make sure the officials see that they are yielding advantage. A brief “Stop-and-go” is not enough to make sure other skaters know you are yielding advantage. If you come to a complete stop, and no one is doing anything different, or making any effort to move past you, you have met the requirement to yield. You may continue playing as normal.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 If, after the warning, no skaters are in immediate vicinity of a skater who has false started (In the clockwise direction), the false-starting skater must come to a complete stop in order to yield. After yielding, they may skate normally.

Today’s rule continues my discussion of “Pre-Jam Positioning” under rule three, “The Pack”.

Today’s rule describes the action a skater must take if they have false started and there are no skaters around the skater who has false started. More specifically, there are no skaters in the clockwise direction from where the offending skater is. If a skater is ahead of the skater who has false started, they already have superior position, and have no need to be yielded to.

If a skater has false started, and there are no skaters in the clockwise direction in the vicinity of the false starting skater, all the false starting skater needs to do is come to a complete stop. This is different from ceasing forward momentum. The skater must come to a complete stop in order to demonstrate to the officials they have acknowledged the false start and have taken corrective action. If the skater does not come to a complete stop, they still may be penalized under 5.13.9.

If you hear your color and number followed by “False Start”, and there are no skaters behind you, simply come to a complete stop. You then may continue skating as normal.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

5.12.14 Exiting the track due to a failed apex jump. This skater is still potentially subject to penalties under Section 5.11 Cutting the Track.

Today’s rule comes from the Skating Out of Bounds section of the rules. It is a “no impact/no penalty” reason for skating out of bounds.

The March 1, 2014 rule set codified a number of understandings among referees. Among them was the issue of what happens if a skater fails in an apex jump by landing in an upright position straddling both sides of the track boundary. In the prior rule set, this puts the skater in a sort of no-win situation. If the skater fully enters the track, they receive a cutting the track penalty for the skaters whom they jumped past. If the skater fully exits the track, they receive a skating out of bounds penalty for exiting the track of their own accord.

Because the skater was doomed either way, an understanding among referees overrode the skating out of bounds rule and allowed the player to legally exit the track. 5.12.14 was added to the new rule set to make this understanding official.

New related rule also extends the above rule by saying that a skater doesn’t actually have to fail an apex jump. Simply believing they went out of bounds either during the takeoff or landing of an apex jump is sufficient to allow the skater to legally exit the track.

Today’s rule would not include a player whose apex jump fails, but does not exit the track due to the failed jump. For example, the skater would receive a penalty in this scenario: an apex jump that crash lands in the middle of the track, but then the skater crawls off the track so they can legally repass any blockers they bypassed in the air. Leaving the track “due to” a failed jump (legal) is not the same as “following” one (penalty).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

5.12.10 Exiting the track due to the belief that one had reason to be out of bounds legally.

Today’s rule comes from the Skating Out of Bounds section. It is a “no impact/no penalty” reason for skating out of bounds.

The March 1, 2014 rule set expanded the Skating Out of Bound rules to better define what are legal vs. illegal reasons for exiting the track. 5.12.10 is one of the new reasons; it is legal to exit the track under the belief that the skater has reason to be out of bounds legally.

Subrules and define two common reasons for this belief. We will cover tomorrow. refers to exiting the track after the player believes a maneuver took them out of bounds (such as a fall along the track edge that almost takes a player out of bounds.)

Another reason would be leaving the track because the player incorrectly believes the jam has ended. I’m sure there are others, perhaps you can think of a few.

The challenge for referees is to correctly assess what the skaters’ intent when they exit the track. Rule 8.3.3 states that legal intent must be presumed if intent is not clear, making this rule an easy threshold for players to achieve. The end result is that players who exit the track for an unknown reason and do not immediately try to re-enter in a manner that makes some sort of strategic sense are not likely to receive a skating out of bound penalty.

Friday, July 11, 2014

3.2.7 Skaters who line up completely outside of their legal starting area will be issued a penalty (see Section 5.13.10)

Today’s rules come from the “Pre Jam Positioning” section of rule 3, “The Pack”, and from the “Illegal Procedures” section of rule 5, “Penalties”

While yesterday’s rule was about what position a skater must take in order to get a false start warning, today’s rule is what earns an “Illegal” positioning penalty.

The legal starting area for a blocker is between the pivot line and the jammer line, with only the pivot being able to touch the pivot line ( and 3.2.2). The legal starting area for a jammer is on or behind the jammer line (3.2.4) If a skater is on the track (in between the track boundary lines) but are not touching anywhere within their legal starting area, they are immediately issued a penalty for “Illegal Positioning”. Also remember that this penalty is only issued if the skater is in that position at the Jam Start whistle.

This is a very different change from the previous rule set. In the past, a blocker could line up behind the jammer line and receive a false start warning. This was generally done if a skater was in a rush to get on the track and wasn’t going to make it to the legal starting area in time. The thought was “get on the track, take the appropriate action to yield, and you are good”. That thinking no longer applies. Now that action is penalty

5.13.10 Illegal Positioning: A skater who commits a false start (see Section 3.2.7) by touching completely outside of their legal starting area at the jam-starting whistle.

5.13.10 uses the term “False Start” because that is what the action was in previous rule sets and I believe is to help understand what specific action causes the penalty. If you are in bounds and not touching your legal starting area, you are issued a penalty under this rule.

Remember that in order for this penalty to be issued, the skater must be completely in bounds. If any part of the skater is touching beyond the track boundary, that skater is not in the jam and cannot be on the track. There is no penalty for that, simply an instruction to return to the bench.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

3.2.8 Skaters who line up fully in bounds but in an illegal starting position (while touching their legal starting area) are considered to have committed a False Start, and will receive a False Start warning. Once warned, skaters who false start must cease all forward motion until they have yielded to all skaters in the immediate vicinity by ceding relative position to those skaters, or they may be issued a penalty (see Section 5.13.9)

Today’s rule comes from “Pre-jam Positioning” under Rule 3 The Pack.

Today’s rule explains 2 things. First it explains when you will receive a false start warning as a blocker. The first important element is that the skater must be completely in bounds. Both skates MUST be between the boundary lines. If one skate is in bounds and the other is out of bounds, the skater will be asked to return to their bench. Second the skater must be in an illegal starting position, but still touching in their legal starting area. For blockers, this would be between the pivot and jammer lines, for jammers it would be on or behind the jammer line. If the skater has both skates out of their legal starting position, but is completely in bounds, they will be penalized under 5.13.10. So for this rule, the skater must be in bounds and touching in their legal starting area.

Next, if a skater is lined up in a way described above, they will receive a false start warning. The warning will sound like this “BLACK 2-1-1-2, FALSE START”. There will be no whistle, just the verbal cue. Once the skater has received the warning, they must cease all forward motion until they have yielded to all skaters around them. This means you must stop until all the skaters around you have had a chance to take advantage of you giving up your position.

If you do not cease all forward motion and therefore let other skaters around you know that you are giving up your relative position, you will be penalized under 5.13.9. That verbal cue will be “BLACK 2-1-1-2, FAILURE TO YIELD”

Knowing the proper verbal cue is just as important as knowing what action to take. If you hear “False Start” then all you have to do is stop all forward motion and let the skaters around pass you, if they so choose. If you hear a whistle and “Failure to Yield”, you will be going to the penalty box.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 Jammer status may not be transferred by handing off the Star via other skaters, or throwing or dropping the Star.

Today’s bonus rule comes from the Passing the Star section. It outlines illegal methods for a jammer to pass the jammer helmet cover (“the star”) to the pivot. New in this version of the rules is a prohibition against transferring jammer status via the jammer dropping the star and the pivot retrieving it. In the prior rule set this was legal way of passing the star. Handing off the helmet cover via other skaters is similarly prohibited as is throwing the star from the jammer to the pivot, although states the reverse throw is legal.

Two days ago in a discussion on rule, an argument was proposed that a jammer who throws the helmet cover to the pivot does not warrant a “star pass violation” penalty. This argument was made on the basis that this rule in the illegal procedure penalty section...

5.13.18 - Violations of rules regarding possessing or wearing helmet covers (see Section 2 - Skater Positions and Identification), including violations of the procedures outlined in Section 2.5 - Passing the Star). The initiator of the illegal action receives the penalty.

… does not penalize the process of throwing the cover to the pivot. The argument points at (discussed today in a separate posting) as not stating that the cover cannot be transferred via throwing. It then references today’s rule as stating only that jammer status cannot be transferred via throwing, not the cover itself. Combine the two and voila! -- it’s legal for the jammer to throw the star cover to the pivot, even if the pivot cannot don the cover without running afoul of 5.13.18’s prohibition against wearing a helmet cover illegally.

I disagree with this viewpoint. 5.13.18 isn’t just about illegally holding or wearing a helmet cover. It’s also about violating the star pass procedure itself. 2.5.1 explains the fundamentals of a legal star pass with this statement, “Pass Procedure: In order to transfer the Jammer position to the Pivot, a Jammer must hand their helmet cover (the “Star”) to the Pivot… The Pivot must be grasping the Star when the Jammer releases it.”

To me, the authors’ intent seems clear. A star pass is supposed to be conducted by hand. Throwing the cover from jammer to pivot isn’t just an act of pointlessness; it impacts the game by confusing referees, NSOs, players, announcers, and the audience. The proper place for a helmet cover is on the head, or in the hand during a star pass. If it falls to the ground -- fine, the pivot can help return the cover to the jammer to avoid disruption to the jam. But the helmet cover isn’t there for the jammer and pivot to use for an impromptu game of catch.

Which interpretation is correct? That depends on whom you ask. It’s a gray area in the rules that can be interpreted in multiple ways. As with any gray area, it’s important a referee crew for a bout be consistent regarding their calls on the issue. It’s never a bad thing to bring up gray areas with a head referee during the officials meeting so that all referees handle the situation in the same manner.

All this being said, there is little disagreement that the jammer can, if the skater wishes, throw the cover. It is perfectly legal for an frustrated jammer to take off the star cover and throw it at the ground, in the air, at the stands, etc. It’s when a jammer throws the cover to the pivot that they may run into trouble. The Jammer status may only be transferred by a Jammer who releases the Star while in the Engagement Zone, to a Pivot who is also within the Engagement Zone. It is illegal to transfer the Star while either the Jammer or Pivot is outside of the Engagement Zone, down, or out of bounds. This applies only to the moment of transfer (i.e., the Jammer’s release of the Star into the grasping Pivot’s hand).

Today’s rule comes from the Passing the Star section. It covers legal locations where a star pass can occur. Both players must be in the engagement zone, upright, and in bounds. It is important to note that these locations only matter at the moment of transfer (ie; when the jammer releases the cover into the pivot’s hand). It is legal for the pivot and jammer to both be grasping the cover while down, out of bounds, and/or outside the engagement zone. The jammer cannot release (voluntarily or otherwise) the cover until both are fully reestablished in a legal transfer location. Violation of this procedure is a “star pass violation” penalty for the jammer.

It is worth noting that what constitutes a legal transfer location has changed in the current rule set. In the previous set the jammer was allowed to be down. This is no longer the case.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Grasping - Physically holding onto something with a clenched fist. For example, grabbing a teammate’s uniform, or holding hands. The grasping skater’s arm, from the hand up to (but not including) the shoulder is considered to be part of the “grasp”. The teammate is not considered part of the grasp, unless the teammate is independently grasping.

Today's rule comes from the glossary. It defines grasping, which in turn is used in the rules sections for Passing the Star and Multi-Player Blocking. The Use of Forearms and Hands section uses the word "grab" instead of "grasp", which the definition for grasping makes clear is functionally the same thing.

Some months ago an argument circulated that the definition of "grasping" contains an inherent loophole. Proponents argued the use of the word "fist" indicates that all five fingers must be used. According to their logic, if the thumb is not used then it is not a fist and therefore not a grasp.

This is sophistry. The WFTDA rules do not define "fist", which means it is left to the discretion of the referees. I know of no referee who requires a thumb be used in a grasp, and by extension, would consider this "loophole" to be valid.

Monday, July 7, 2014 When the inactive Jammer is once again grasping the Star, said Jammer may immediately release it back into possession of the Pivot, so long as the other requirements of Section 2.5.1 are met. Such an action constitutes a valid transfer of Jammer status.

This rule comes from the Passing the Star section of the rules. On March 19, the original writer at RDRotD outlined the previous rule which covers legal and illegal methods for the Pivot to return the jammer helmet cover to the jammer following a failed star pass. Today’s rule expands on one legal method of returning the cover, the direct hand-off. Under this rule, the jammer reestablishes control of the helmet cover once he or she is grasping it. The pivot is not required to let go over the cover for this to happen.

This rule also provides the option for the jammer to immediately release the cover back into possession of the pivot. Doing so is considered a new star pass and, if the transfer is done legally (ie; upright, in bounds, etc.) then the pivot immediately assumes the role of inactive jammer. If the jammer releases the cover into the pivot’s hand in an illegal manner (ie; out of play, etc.) then this is an illegal star pass that warrants a “star pass violation” penalty on the jammer.

Today’s rule also mentions “other requirements” of 2.5.1. These cover most of the legal requirements for a star pass. Simply put, the jammer and pivot must both be grasping the cover when the jammer releases it. Both players must be upright, in the engagement zone, in bounds, not in the penalty box queue, and not directed to the penalty box. The star cover may not be dropped, thrown, or passed via other skaters.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

5.11.1 ... The outcome and aftermath of a block are complete when the receiving skater has re-established control of their own self on the track. If the receiving skater exits the track after the outcome and aftermath of a block, that skater is not required to return behind the initiator of the previous block. The skater is, however, still subject to Skating Out of Bounds penalties, and Cutting the Track penalties on skaters other than the one who initiated the block.

This rule comes from the Cutting the Track section. It is an unnumbered rule listed after Or perhaps the text is meant to be part of 5.11.1? The indentation differs in the online vs. downloadable versions of the rules making it difficult to determine how it should be numbered within the overall rule set. Whatever its number, this rule refers to how the outcome and aftermath of a block should be assessed.

More specifically, the rule defines the aftermath and outcome of a block as continuing until a skater has re-established control of their own self on the track. In cases where a player precariously skates on one foot near the track to maintain their balance, this can take as long as five or six seconds. If during that time the player’s skate touches beyond the track boundary, the player is considered to be out of bounds. The initiator of the block also gains superior position to the now out of bounds opponent regardless of their respective positions at the time of the block.

Exiting the track after regaining control is treated as a different matter entirely, and does not give the initiator of the block an superior position. The player is still subject to a Cutting the Track penalty if they better their position against an opponent (or two teammates) while out of bounds. In addition, when exiting the track and skating out of bounds, players are subject to all of the rules in the Skating Out of Bounds subsection as well.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 When an initiating Blocker exits out of the Engagement Zone at any time after the initiating block or when, during a No Pack scenario, said Blocker is 20 feet (6 meters) from any member of the last defined pack.

Today’s rule comes from the Cutting the Track section of the rules. Yesterday I discussed rule 5.11.1 wherein which the initiator of a block which knocks an opponent out of bounds can lose their superior position in four ways. The first three are defined in through (being sent off for a penalty, going down, or going out of bounds). This rule is the fourth and final way and covers two scenarios: if a does or does not pack exist.

When there is a pack, the initiator must remain within the engagement zone to maintain their superior position. Exiting from either the front or back forfeits that advantage.

If no pack exists, the initiator must remain within 20 feet of any member of the last defined pack. This second requirement is new to the March 1, 2014 rule set, and reflects a concerted effort in the rule to clarify various situations during a no pack scenario. Falling afoul of this part of the rule is possible in several ways, but the most common scenario is when the initiator blocks the opposing jammer out of bounds near the front of the engagement zone, a no pack situation occurs, and her momentum takes her beyond the 20 foot margin.