Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Officials' Review: A New Rules’ Resolution - Official Discretion

A New Rules’ Resolution: Official Discretion

On Monday, December 1st, the WFTDA released an updated version of the Rules of Flat Track Roller Derby that will officially go into effect starting January 1st,  2015. The WFTDA Rules Committee developed the changes, with input from both WFTDA and MRDA member leagues, which include:
  • increasing the visibility of the Official Score
  • aligning Forearm/Hand penalties with the standard of impact
  • allowing Official Reviews to be used in lieu of a Timeout
  • clarifying the scoring of Jammer Lap Points and Not on the Track points in a single pass
  • expanding Officiating Discretion to allow for the Head Referee to assign NSOs to call and enforce penalties.

That last change is the most dramatic, especially for NSOs. The WFTDA is planning on releasing updates to the Standard Practices and Hand Signals documents by January 1, 2015. Until that time we won’t know how these changes will look when applied during a game, but we have come up a few thoughts below.

8.3.7 - The Head Referee may designate NSOs to signal and enforce penalties in situations in which said NSOs are able to observe the penalty. This includes but is not limited to obscene, profane, or abusive language directed at themself or another Official (see Section 5.16.10); removal of safety equipment while in the Penalty Box (see Section 5.13.11); Penalty Box violations (see Sections 5.13.9, 5.13.10, 5.13.11, and 5.13.20); and Delay of Game penalties (see Section 5.15).

  • For Penalty Box violations this will be a natural enhancement to the Pentaly Box Manager’s duties, and will most likely streamline Foul Out procedures.
  • The Delay of Game penalty could either fall to the Jam Timer (who would be able to call a Timeout and assign the penalty most quickly) or the Line-up Trackers (whose paperwork would outlines which skaters were, and should be, on the track). It is possible the PB Manager (who keeps the queue of skaters who have not yet served for a previous penalty) could also call the Delay of Game, but this could be more complicated depending on venue layout.
  • In both instances communication, including understanding of the Hand Signals and Verbal Cues, is going to be all the more important. - The Head Referee may designate which NSOs are empowered to call penalties, as well as which penalties said NSOs are empowered to call, and the manner in which said penalties are enforced.

  • While this subsection puts the change at the Head Referee’s discretion, it also puts an emphasis on the HR’s understanding of the responsibilities and functions of each of the NSO positions (which is included in the new Officiating Skills Guidelines and Assessment Forms for all Skating Officials).
  • This may also start some conversations about staffing visiting or unvetted Officials, and makes the WFTDA’s Game History document an even more important tool. - NSOs may only be designated to call penalties pursuant to their officiating role, to their person, or to those around them. For example, no NSO may be designated to call penalties that involve blocks or assists. - NSOs who are empowered to call penalties in this manner are bound by the same requirements as Referees, per Section 8.3 - Officiating Discretion.

  • These last two tie up the NSO additions to the Officiating Discretion section, focusing these new responsibilities and bringing them in line with the requirements of Referees.
  • They also bring a greater emphasis on NSOs’ understanding of, and attention to, the different positions (which are also included in the new Officiating Skills Guidelines and Assessment Forms).

We won’t be sure how the WFTDA envisions this change being implemented until they release the updated Standard Practices and Hand Signals documents. In the meantime though, we can be sure, if our Officials Crews plan to have NSOs exercise this new responsibility, that training and understanding the rules will be even more important for Skating and Non-Skating Officials.

Speaking of training, we have a new drill in the works that should be fun for the whole league, check back on New Year’s Day for Sneaker Derby Charades!

Until then, have yourselves some happy holidays.
Be good,
if you can’t be good, be safe,
and if you can’t be safe, Ducky would be an adorable name... just sayin’.


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