California Youth Football League Employs Severe New Mercy Rule Penalties

Heads Up Football

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Initially reported by Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA, the Northern California Federation Youth Football League has put in severe penalties for any youth league teams that beat opponents by 35 or more in a new mercy rule.

Coaches of the penalized team will be suspended from any and all league activities and a two hundred dollar fine will be issued as well. Two hundred dollars is no chump change either for a youth league football coach. This is absolutely ridiculous, and really think that youth football programs should be far more concerned with concussions than with mercy rules.

An afternoon of feeling bad for yourself over losing 42-0 is a a lot better than sitting at home in a daze after several hits to the head.

The NCFYFL previously sent warnings to teams who won blowouts, and the winners would have to provide a written description for the reasoning. The new rule has apparently started to affect the way the young players play the game though, and some teams have even stopped kicking field goals altogether to keep scores down.

“Now they are afraid their coaches are going to get suspended and they are not going to have a coach to come out here and play football,” Kelly McHugh, a player’s mom, told KCRA.

Officials have different views obviously, and some claim that the rule is to maintain interest in the sport.

“We lose a lot of football players because their teams lose so badly,” NCFYFL Deputy Commissioner Robert Rochin told KCRA. “If they are constantly getting beat, who wants to play anymore? We lose kids all season long because of that. It’s not hurting the kids, it’s teaching them compassion for the other team. It’s teaching them sportsmanship.”

Whether this is sportsmanship or just silliness remains to be seen, but it is clear that football is still serious business in America whether it is at the middle school or pro level. It seems to me right now to be a sport at a crossroad, and the turn might not be so good. Mr. Rochin, the popularity of football is not in question lately, it is the safety.

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  • Chris Haase

    Ah yes, more feel good crap from California. A mercy rule is simple. When one team gets ahead by 35 points, the game is over. Doing anything else is insane. Punishing volunteers will do nothing more than drive coaches away. Losing badly does not harm self esteem if parents and coaches handle it properly.

    In the real world, you get whooped on occasion. It is a part of life and kids should learn how to deal with it. It doesn’t make you bad. It doesn’t make you worthless as a person. It is going to happen so stop trying to hide it from them.