In 2012, the committee had requests to change the hurdling rule and eliminate it as a foul. By definition: "Hurdling is an attempt by a player to jump (hurdle) with one or both feet or knees foremost over an opponent who is contacting the ground with no part of his body except one or both feet."
This is an Illegal Personal Contact Foul (NFHS Football Rule 9-4-3d) and carries a 15-yard penalty. Recently, national and local media have identified some of these plays at the collegiate and professional levels as "spectacular feats" and glorified the individual's athletic ability instead of pointing out the heightened potential for harm. Little regard has been given to the fact that attempting to "hurdle" a defender increases the risk of injury to both the hurdler and tackler!
The NFHS SMAC requested that this rule not be changed and backed up its request by showing several incidences where players were severely injured while attempting this act! The NFHS Football Rules Committee concurred with the SMAC and did not change the hurdling rule.
In addition, to focus on the dangers associated with hurdling, it has been included as a Point of Emphasis for the 2012 season. The emphasis on this illegal act supports the committee's ongoing attempt to minimize the risk of injuries in high school football. Coaches must teach their players of the inherent dangers associated with this illegal act, and game officials must call it when observed.