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12/09/14 – KHSAA Issues Clarification on Penalty Near End of Corbin/Central Playoff Contest

December 8, 2014



Following the conclusion of the Corbin vs. Central playoff contest on November 21, the KHSAA has received several inquiries regarding a penalty assessed near the end of the game. On the last timed down, a long pass was completed by Central and a face mask foul was called at the end of the play. The play, which was widely scene on ESPN SportsCenter and in other media outlets, showed a Central player losing possession of the football, with the ball striking his foot before being caught by another Central player who was subsequently tackled near the sideline as time expired. On the tackle, the game officials called a foul for tackling by the face mask, and administered the penalty against Corbin and awarded Central one untimed down.

“As the video shows, the catch and run were legal and at the end of the play, the Corbin player tackled the Central runner with one hand grasping the helmet edge,” stated KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett, a longtime member of the NFHS football rules committee. “By NFHS rules, it is a face mask foul to ‘Grasp an opponent’s face mask, any edge of a helmet opening, chin strap, or a tooth and mouth protector attached to the face mask’. Though the mask on the front of the helmet was not involved in the tackle, the edge of the helmet is included in the rule for the protection of the players.

“It is apparent on review of this play that the official correctly ruled that the tackle was grasping of the face mask by the definitions in the rule book, since the player grasped the edge of the helmet. I feel certain in watching the play that there was no intent to injure and the player was simply doing whatever necessary to tackle the opponent. However, the foul was correctly called and administered, allowing Central one untimed down, ” Tackett concluded.


About the Kentucky High School Athletic Association
The Kentucky High School Athletic Association was organized in 1917 and is the agency designated by the Kentucky Department of Education to manage high school athletics in the Commonwealth. The Association is a voluntary nonprofit 501(c)3 organization made up of 277 member schools both public and private. The KHSAA sanctions 43 state championships in 13 sports and 4 sport-activities, licenses and trains over 4,000 officials, provides catastrophic insurance for its more than 70,000 member school student-athletes, as well as overseeing coaching education and sports safety programs.