The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association announced new guidelines on Wednesday to reduce the amount of contact in high school football practices.
In an effort to improve player safety, the association has limited how long teams can engage in full-contact drills in practice during the season from 90 minutes a week to 15 minutes a week. The previously unlimited preseason full-contact drills will be limited to six total hours, including scrimmages. There is no change in the existing ban on full contact in spring and summer practices.
Full tackling is considered tackling that brings a player to the ground. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's Philip Anastasia, there is no limit on "thud hitting," which a lot of teams do.
The association says the rules are some of the most restrictive in the country. The rules were recommended by the New Jersey Football Coaches Association and Practice Like Pros. If approved again by the NJSIAA’s executive committee in April, the rules will take effect in summer 2019.
The NJSIAA tweeted a message from Archie Manning, father of Super Bowl champion quarterbacks Eli and Peyton Manning.
According to The New York Times, New Jersey has experienced a significant decrease in football participation: "In 2017, there were 1,700 fewer players were reported playing high school football in New Jersey than the year before, a 6.8 percent decrease." The Times reported most attributed the decline to player safety concerns.