FORMAL CHECK OR NOT, ILLEGAL EQUIPMENT DESERVES ATTENTION IN NFHS PLAY
NFHS rule 4‑3 requires an illegally equipped player to leave the field and not return until the next legal substitution opportunity. For the first illegally equipped player, the coach is given a caution because at the pregame conference prior to the game, the coach states that all players will be legally equipped. Any subsequent illegally equipped players will also have to leave the field, and they, rather than the coach, will receive the caution.
High school equipment rules are in place for safety reasons and to prevent confusion by players and officials.
Referees can and should assist in preventing illegally equipped players.
At one time, NFHS rules required a formal check of players and their equipment prior to the game. However, since that rule no longer exists, an informal check of equipment made by walking by and observing all players during their pregame practice is recommended. If illegal equipment is noticed, a verbal recommendation for the removal of the illegal equipment should be made.
These are among the rules relating to an equipment check:
Jerseys and socks must be the proper color. White for the visiting team and dark (any color that contrasts with white) for the home team. This is especially important in a tournament where schools may be confused about their home/visiting team status.
Any tape on the socks must be similar in color to the sock at the part to which it is applied.
Numbers must be on the front of the jersey or shorts and the back of the jersey for all players including the goalkeepers (goalkeepers not having numbers is a common problem that can be solved before the game by taping numbers on the jerseys). The numbers must be at least six inches in height on the back of the jersey and at least four inches on the front of the jersey or shorts.