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25 Strange Sports Rules You May Not Know Exist

25 Strange Sports Rules You May Not Know Exist

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What are sports really? Sports are arbitrary sets of rules and guidelines within which athletes may work to produce the best possible outcome. Thus, most rules are integral to sports. However, a select few are outdated, weird or outright ridiculous. Here are 25 strange sports rules you probably have never heard about.

25. Rosin Bags Must be Kept Dry

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25. Rosin Bags Must be Kept Dry

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To keep their hands dry so that they can grip the ball, pitchers often rely on using rosin bags. Rosin bags are generally kept on the back of the pitcher’s mound. However, if it begins to rain during a game, the umpire is strictly ordered to keep the rosin bag in his pocket to prevent the bag from getting wet.

24. Don’t Shatter the Blackboard

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24. Don’t Shatter the Blackboard

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In the state of Montana, make sure not to throw down the pumpkin too hard before a high school basketball game. Montana’s official rulebook states that if a player shatters the backboard’s glass before a game, the player's team automatically forfeits. However, the rule only applies to playoff games.

23. The Elusive Ground-Rule Triple

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23. The Elusive Ground-Rule Triple

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Ground-rule doubles are not unheard of, but ground-rule triples almost never occur in MLB. If a player attempts to catch a ball with his hat or mask, the hitter will automatically advance to third base.

22. Goalkeepers: Keep Your Sleeves Down

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22. Goalkeepers: Keep Your Sleeves Down

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There truly is no respite from a hot afternoon manning the goal for Tim Howard, as world football goalkeepers must keep their sleeves down at all points during a match. The rationale for this is so referees are able to tell who punches the ball in a crowd of players.

21. Golfers: Remember Your Pencils

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21. Golfers: Remember Your Pencils

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In professional golf, signing the scorecard is evidently of utmost importance. If a golfer does not sign his or her scorecard, he or she is disqualified from the event.

20. Care for Your Horses’ Legs

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20. Care for Your Horses’ Legs

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Keeping a horse’s legs in top condition is obviously a top priority for equestrians, but this includes taking care to assure that a horse has no cuts on its legs. Some believe that cutting horses’ legs can influence them to jump higher, so the rule helps ensure fairness among all participants.

19. College Pitchers are on the Clock

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19. College Pitchers are on the Clock

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In college baseball, pitchers only have 20 seconds to throw each pitch. Such a rule might be helpful in the MLB, where fans can get up, get a hot dog and use the bathroom in between some pitchers’ pitches.

18. Your Crotch is Safe in Water Polo

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18. Your Crotch is Safe in Water Polo

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Olympic water polo looks out for the family jewels. Any type of grabbing, kicking or hitting of the groin can result in an immediate ejection from a match. Curiously, splashing water in an opponent’s face is also banned.

17. Regulation of Female Wrestlers’ Undergarments

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17. Regulation of Female Wrestlers’ Undergarments

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The International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles stipulates that female wrestlers may not wear underwire bras during competition. Wrestlers are also required to keep handkerchiefs on hand at all times.

16. Be Careful with Your Third-String QB

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16. Be Careful with Your Third-String QB

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If a team’s third-string quarterback enters a game, the first- and second-string quarterbacks may not enter, according to the NFL.

15. Watch the Racewalking

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15. Watch the Racewalking

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In the Olympics, racewalkers are mandated to have one of their two feet on the ground at all time. The rule is commonly broken by racewalkers, either because the athletes hide it very well, or the judges, like most people, simply do not care.

14. The Air Dribble

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14. The Air Dribble

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According to the NBA, one technical definition of dribbling is the air dribble, where the player bats the ball into the air. While rarely seen, an air dribble can affect a player’s ability to advance the ball.

13. Goalies May not be Replaced in Shootouts

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13. Goalies May not be Replaced in Shootouts

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In world football, goalies may be replaced during any point of regulation time or overtime, but not during a shootout. The only caveat to this is if the goalie gets injured.

12. Power to the Announcer

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12. Power to the Announcer

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MLB has given the ballpark announcer an important power. Once a player has been announced by the public address system, he must either bat to remain in the game, or is ineligible to enter the game for the remainder of the game to clarify which players are currently playing.

11. Three Points, but No Field Goal

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11. Three Points, but No Field Goal

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In the NFL, if a punt returner elects for a fair catch, he can give his team an opportunity for three points. The team that made the fair catch can attempt an uncontested field goal from the spot of the fair catch which, if it goes through the uprights, is good for three points.

10. Four Strikeouts in an Inning

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10. Four Strikeouts in an Inning

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This actually occurs every so often in baseball; a batter can strike out, but still make it to first base if the third strike is dropped by the catcher. In that case, the pitcher is credited with a strikeout, but an out is not recorded.

9. Hitting the Umpire

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9. Hitting the Umpire

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MLB's rules state that if a ball becomes lodged in an umpire’s mask, all runners will advance one base.

8. Fencers: Stay in Play!

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8. Fencers: Stay in Play!

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While judges render their decision in an Olympic fencing match, both fencers must remain on the piste or risk disqualification. Therefore, fencers who know that they have already lost must remain on the piste and sob in front of everyone.

7. Goalies must Stay in the Backfield

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7. Goalies must Stay in the Backfield

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In professional hockey, a goalie is prohibited from crossing the red line that marks center ice. Plenty of goalies have still figured out how to involve themselves in their teams’ offense, however.

6. No Switching the Batting Order

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6. No Switching the Batting Order

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If a batter mistakenly hits in the wrong spot in the batting order, he essentially bats for his teammate and then bats in his correct spot as well instead of switching order spots. He does not get to truly bat for his teammate though, as the moment a mistaken batter comes to the plate, he is called out.

5. The Conversion Safety

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5. The Conversion Safety

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Aside from a PAT kick, it is possible to score only one point in the NFL. On the extra point after a touchdown, if the defense gains possession of the ball and is tackled in its own end zone, the offense is granted a one-point safety.

4. Hit Going Home

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4. Hit Going Home

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If a baserunner going home is touched by a pitch, all runners advance one base. This really only comes into play when a runner attempts to steal home, but is almost never instituted.

3. Orderly Baserunning

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3. Orderly Baserunning

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MLB is very strict about its base runners. Base runners are never allowed to pass one another, even if a home run has been hit; if one baserunner passes the other, both runners are out. Technically, a player could nullify his own home run by passing a runner in front of him during his victory lap.

2. No Backcourt Violations

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2. No Backcourt Violations

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Until 2013, college basketball players could hang around in their backcourts for as long as they wished without fearing being called for a backcourt violation. The rule was finally implemented a year ago.

1. Keep Your Spit off the Ball

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1. Keep Your Spit off the Ball

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Spitballs were a huge problem for the MLB in the past, but not so much today. However, in an effort to curb spitballing practices, the MLB still holds that if a pitcher licks his hand, wipes his brow or touches his waistline, he must first wipe his hand on his jersey before touching the ball.