Guidelines for Bands, P/A Systems, Pre-Recorded Music and Sound Effects at Football Contests

The performing and playing of music and use of sound effects are important to the football experience making for an exciting environment for all participants.  It is important those in charge of overseeing these activities maintain proper sportsmanship and follow rules when these activities are permitted.

In order to maintain a proper perspective and to insure equity in competition for the participating teams, certain guidelines indicating when to play must must be followed.  The guidelines listed below include an appropriate playing schedule for music.  It is suggested the band director work closely with the school administration to create a schedule so everyone can support the team.

These activities are permitted:

  • before the game begins;
  • during the contest up until the Center touches the ball or the Kicker strikes the ball on a free kick;
  • during time-outs, except injury time-outs;
  • between quarters;
  • at halftime of the contest;
  • at the end of the contest.

If any of these activities continues outside of the designated times listed above, it can be considered an 'unfair act' under NFHS Football Rules 9-9-1 and could result in a 15-yard penalty being assessed to the head football coach of the offending school for unsportsmanlike conduct.

When bands want to warm-up prior to halftime, directors should arrange this so that it is done in an area that is not a distraction to the contest.  NOTE: No whistles may be used while the game is in progress.

Halftime is 20 minutes in length unless the participating schools mutually agree to a 15-minutes half.  The band may take the field as soon as the teams have cleared the field.  The band should be off the field when there is 3-minutes remaining on the clock.  The football teams should not enter the field until the band is finished and off the field.

Because the band acts as a spirit group, members should always act in a positive manner and must not do anything to distract or negatively affect the opposing team.  It is the director's responsibility to prevent his/her band from playing at inappropriate times, playing inappropriate music, or taunting the opposing team and/or contest officials.  The band must display courtesy and respsect towards the players, cheerleaders, and fans.  To do anything else is not only a distraction from the contest but also reflects negatively on the band, the director, and the school.  Support your school and team in a positive manner.