The KHSAA’s decision this week to award Lafayette a 1-0 win over Scott County in a suspended football game inspired a few readers to ask, “Why not rule it a no contest?”
Answer: The rules do not allow for a football game to begin and end without a result.
“The problem with football is, by the playing rules, you can’t have a no contest,” KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett told the Herald-Leader on Wednesday. “Any contract that has a no contest (clause) isn’t going to be valid because you have to have a result for every game because of the standings and the tiebreakers.”
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When inclement weather or other uncontrollable circumstances enter the equation, football is handled differently than some other sports. Soccer games can begin and be ruled official contests as long as the first half has concluded. Baseball games can be called after five innings.
Football doesn’t have such a provision in place, but teams can agree to shorten the game at their own discretion. That requires participants to be on the same page.
“Everything's set up to where it should be local control,” Tackett said. “You just got to agree.”
If a mutual agreement can’t be reached about calling the game or resuming play, the KHSAA has to step in as it did last weekend. That’s a policy of which all teams should be fully aware, Tackett said.
In the past, before it was made clear that a game must have a somewhat immediate final result, teams would go up until the end of the season to decide whether or not they were going to finish a game, Tackett said.
“It actually impacted playoff brackets sometimes, whether or not (teams) finished this game or not,” he said. “It just makes a difference. Football is very, very unique.”