The American Intercollegiate Football Rules Committee at a meeting held in New York on Saturday made several final amendments to the rules, the most important of which was the limitation of the time of the game to two 30-minute halves. Further changes in the rules were made but nothing was done towards the adoption of any of the changes suggested at previous sessions, and another meeting will be held on March 30 to ratify and adopt these changes.
Hurdling and Holding Forbidden.
Hurdling in the open field and hurdling through the line the committee decided to prohibit, and no player will be allowed to jump through the line with his knees or feet foremost, unless he does so at a point at least five yards from the point where the ball was put in play. Holding was also forbidden; the only allowable use of the arms being in blocking an opponent with the arms close to the body. A player running with the ball, however, will be allowed to ward off an opponent with his hands. The penalty for holding was fixed at 15 yards.
Fair Catch Defined.
Turning to the question of catching the ball, it was voted that: "a fair catch consists in catching the ball, after it has been kicked by one of the opponents, before it touches the ground, or in similarly catching a punt out made by the catcher's own side: provided the player making the catch has signalled his intention of making a fair catch by raising his hand clearly above his head, and provided, also, that he takes not more than two steps after making the catch. It is not a fair catch if the ball after the kick was touched by another of the catcher's side before the catch was made. Opponents who are offside, shall not in any way interfere with a player who has an opportunity of making a fair catch. Nor shall the player be thrown to the ground after such a catch is made, unless he has advanced more than two steps after making the catch. The point where the catch is actually made shall be the mark from which the ball shall be put into play and the side making the catch shall put the ball into play, either by a free kick or a scrimmage."
In order to equalize the effect of penalties on the playing teams when they are close to one goal line or the other it was voted that: "if the award of a distance penalty against a team defending its own goal line would carry the ball across the goal line the offensive team shall be given the ball on the one-yard line. Subsequent penalties against the defending team before the ball changes hands shall be awarded by giving one-half the distance between the place where the ball is put in play and the goal line."
Rules Regarding Kicks.
The following rules were also adopted:
"When a ball has been kicked, any player of the kicking team shall be called 'on side' as soon as the ball touches the ground. In case the ball touches the ground after a kick, it shall not be kicked from its position on the ground or while bounding, by any player of either side. If a kick or a forward pass goes outside of bounds before crossing the opponent's goal line, it shall belong to the opponents at the point where it crossed the sideline. If, however, it strikes any player who is 'on side,' and then goes outside of bounds, it shall belong to the player who first obtains possession of it."
Central Boards of Officials.
The report of the sub-committee on the Central Board of officials was discussed, and it was voted to recommend the adoption of a plan looking to the instruction and supervision of officials, and to suggest that the different sections of the country appoint central committees that shall be charged with the introduction of such a system, so far and so speedily as they may deem feasible. It was also voted that the sub-committee on the formation of a central board of officials communicate at once with games' officials of note throughout the country, obtaining their expression of opinion as to the most feasible measures for carrying out the vote just passed, and present plans to the general committee at their next meeting for the adoption of a plan of procedure.
W. T. Reid, Jr., '01 and Walter Camp of Yale will frame the rules adopted by the committee, and will have charge of issuing the rule book.