The Idaho High School Activities Association Board of Directors finalized a plan Wednesday to tweak the one-year-old mercy rule for 11-man football, delaying the start for 5A and 3A games until the fourth quarter.
The IHSAA instituted a mercy rule for the 5A, 4A, 3A and 2A classifications last fall that mandated the clock run continuously once a team led by more than 40 points after halftime. In the Treasure Valley, 50-of-150 (33 percent) regular-season football games fell under the rule last season.
The rule tweak allows the 5A and 3A classifications to delay the running clock until the start of the fourth quarter. Coaches from those classifications asked for the change, while the majority of coaches in the 4A and 2A classifications wanted to keep the rule as is, IHSAA Assistant Director Julie Hammons said in January.
An Idaho Statesman survey of Treasure Valley football coaches this fall showed divisions along the classification lines. In the 5A SIC, 8-of-12 coaches wanted to change or get rid of the rule. In the 3A SRV, 3-of-4 voted for a change. One 3A SRV coach did not participate.
When teams play across classification, the home team’s rule will prevail. For example, when Borah (5A) plays at Bishop Kelly (4A), the mercy rule would start in the third quarter.