March 3, 2023 The Ultimate Guide to Understanding MSHSAA Football Rules and Regulations

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding MSHSAA Football Rules and Regulations

The Ultimate Guide to Understanding MSHSAA Football Rules and Regulations

Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) governs high school sports in the state of Missouri, including football. Understanding MSHSAA football rules and regulations is essential for players, coaches, officials, and spectators to ensure a safe and fair game. In this guide, we will explain the basics of MSHSAA football rules and regulations, including game-play, safety measures, and player eligibility.


MSHSAA football follows the traditional rules of American football. Each team has eleven players on the field at a time, and the objective is to score more points than the other team. A touchdown is worth six points, and after a touchdown, the scoring team can either attempt a one-point conversion from the two-yard line or a two-point conversion from the ten-yard line. A safety, worth two points, occurs when the offensive team is tackled in their own endzone.

The game is divided into four quarters, and each quarter has a maximum of twelve minutes of game time. There is a halftime break of fifteen minutes after the second quarter. A coin toss at the beginning of the game determines which team gets possession of the ball first.

Safety Measures

Player safety is of utmost importance in MSHSAA football. The association has implemented several safety measures, and players must adhere to these rules or face disqualification.

Firstly, all players must wear approved helmets with faceguards, mouthpieces, and chin straps fastened securely. They also must wear approved shoulder pads, thigh pads, and knee pads.

Secondly, certain types of tackles are forbidden to prevent injuries. Examples include horse-collar tackles, face-mask tackles, and spearing. If a player violates these rules, they could be disqualified from the game.

Thirdly, MSHSAA has implemented a heat acclimatization program to prevent heat exhaustion during August practices. The program mandates restrictions on practice time, intensity, and equipment use during the first five days of practice.

Player Eligibility

MSHSAA has certain rules regarding player eligibility to ensure fair competition among schools. Firstly, all players must pass a physical examination before participating in the sport.

Secondly, MSHSAA has age requirements for football players. A student-athlete must be in the ninth through twelfth grade and must not have reached the age of 19 on or before July 31st.

Lastly, transfer students have certain eligibility rules. If a student transfers to a new school, they must sit out for a certain amount of time before becoming eligible to play. This is to prevent schools from recruiting talented athletes from other schools to create a dominant team.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Is it legal for a player to hurdle over another player?

Hurdling over another player is illegal in MSHSAA football. It is considered a dangerous move that could lead to injuries to both players. The player attempting the hurdle could also be charged with unsportsmanlike conduct.

2. Can players wear tinted visors on their helmets?

The use of tinted visors is allowed in MSHSAA football, but they must meet certain visibility standards. The visor should be clear enough for officials and coaches to see a player’s eyes.

3. Can players use mobile phones during the game?

Players are not allowed to use mobile phones during the game. It is considered a distraction and a potential security risk.

4. What is the maximum number of timeouts a team can take during the game?

A team can take a maximum of three timeouts during each half of the game. Unused timeouts do not carry over to the second half.


Understanding MSHSAA football rules and regulations is essential for anyone involved in the sport. The association has implemented various safety measures to protect the players while providing an exciting and competitive game. By following the rules and regulations, everyone can enjoy the game safely and fairly.


– MSHSAA Football Rules and Regulations: