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NFHS Case Play 2.8.1

What guidelines should be exercised by the officials when spectators’ actions are such that they interfere with the administration of the game?

The rules book states “the official may rule fouls on either team if its supporters act in such a way as to interfere with the proper conduct of the game.” It is significant to note the word used is “may.” This gives permission, but does not in any way imply that officials must rule technical fouls on team followers or supporters for unsporting acts. Thus, while officials do have the authority to penalize a team whose spectators interfere with the proper conduct of the game, this authority must be used with extreme caution and discretion. While the authority is there, the official must rarely use it, because experience has demonstrated that ruling hasty technical fouls on the crowd rarely solves the problem and may, in fact, result in penalizing the wrong team because the official may not have proper knowledge as to which team’s supporters were responsible for the unsporting act.

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