Ridiculous Regulations

10 Sports Rules That Will Make You Scratch Your Head


Mason McKenna, Staff-Writer

All sports need rules. They help give clarity and purpose to the game. However, some rules do the opposite. A surprising number of unnecessary and confusing rules exist in a variety of sports. They simply don’t make sense. Good luck trying to make sense of these rules.


10. Spare the Jewelry

Surprisingly, bowling has a very strict dress code. While you won’t see the average person at the bowling alley dressed in slacks or a skirt, this attire may be exactly what is expected at competition. Even OE bowlers follow a dress code on the lanes. Boys must wear slacks and a polo, and girls must wear a skirt or slacks. No forms of jewelry are permitted to be worn and headbands must be no thicker than three inches.


9. Hats Off to Tennis

In tennis, a let occurs when something hinders the point being played. The players replay the point after a let. The rule mostly exists for loose balls on the court, but hats that fall off a player’s head can do the same thing. The opponent of the fallen hat can immediately call a let and start the point over again regardless of whether or not it affected the play of the point.


8. Batter Up!

Next on deck would be the designated hitter rule in the American League (AL) conference of the MLB. A designated hitter in baseball bats in place of the pitcher. They are not required to play defense at all. This gives the teams in the AL an advantage over teams in the National League who don’t have a designated hitter. Pitchers are traditionally the worst batters while the designated hitters are the opposite.


7. I Don’t Want Your Advice

This rule makes golf even more of an individual sport. Players can get penalized for giving advice to other players. “Advice” can be anything from the distance to the hole or wind direction. Not only that, but players are not even allowed to ask for advice. This also constitutes a penalty. No one but the golfer’s caddie can give advice.


6. Crazy Celebrations

Yellow cards in soccer are given for bad fouls against a player. Players may also get them for over-the-top celebrations. The most common instance of a yellow card celebration happens when a player takes his shirt off following a goal. Celebrating amongst the fans is another no-no. In fact, Kansas City holds ownership of the most famous yellow card celebration. In 2014, Sporting KC forward Dom Dwyer ran over to the fans after scoring a goal and proceeded to take a selfie with a few of the fans. He of course received a yellow card, but the photo went viral.


5. Mandatory Timeouts

Many know that the point of timeouts is to give each team a chance or two to regroup and get focused. In the NBA however, timeouts are used to give the broadcasting network time for commercials. In fact, if a team doesn’t use enough of their six timeouts, they are forced to take one by the referees.


4. Keep Your Shin Guards to Yourself

Every soccer player knows about the handball rule. However, many have no idea that throwing your shin guard at the ball is the equivalent to hitting it with your hand. The other team would be awarded a free kick where the shin guard touched the ball. Shin guards aren’t the only thing that players have illegally thrown at the ball. Cleats have also been known culprits of this law.


3. Strike 1!

This rule makes an already hard sport even harder. Golfers that completely miss the ball during their swing are still charged with a stroke, as long as there was “intent” to hit the ball. While they are rare, they are also extremely funny (or frustrating, depending on your perspective).


2. Not Again…

Soccer has no shortage of perplexing rules. However, the FA Cup’s replay rule makes no sense at all. (Not the type of replay you’re thinking of.) Teams that tie in the early rounds of the tournament have to play the whole game over again on a different date to decide the winner, hoping they don’t tie again. In 1971, Alvechurch and Oxford City took six games and 11 hours of soccer to come up with a winner.


1. Heads or Tails?

Possibly the worst rule in sports, the NFL’s overtime law, essentially diminishes hours of entertainment and excitement down to a single measly coin flip. The team that wins the coin toss receives possession of the ball first — a major advantage. If the offense scores a touchdown, the game ends in the middle of overtime and they are the winning team. Even though there is likely more time left on the ten-minute clock, the other team will not see the ball, all because they picked heads.