It is often posted on highland games boards and Facebook groups that the various throwing rules cannot and will not be standardized. To investigate this conjecture, I reviewed the throwing rules for the following athletic associations:
- ASAA = Alberta Scottish Athletic Association
- MASA = Mid Atlantic Scottish Athletic Association. Similar to NASGA
- NASGA = North American Scottish Games Athletics
- RMSA = Rocky Mountain Scottish Athletics. Similar to NASGA
- SHA = Scottish Heavy Athletics written by Carlos Borges
- SAAA = Scottish American Athletic Association (written by Carlos Borges but w/ modifications)
- SSAAA = Southeastern Scottish Armature Athletic Association
- SHGA = Scottish Highland Games Association (SHGA)
- USAD = United Scottish Athletics Directors
NOTE: Any and all comments are those of the reviewer, Mark Mc Vey. They are his and his alone.
Rules Book Layout
Most association’s rules are very similar to NASGA’s rules, which are broken down into three sections:
- General Rules for All Events
- General Rules for the Stone Puts, Weight Throws for Distance, and Hammer Throws.
- General Rules for Height Events
The NASGA rules are used as a base to compare the various other sets of rules and point out differences when they occur. For those rule sets that do not use a layout similar to NASGA, an attempt was made to divide their rules in similar fashion.
I believe rule sets organization would be improved if they had a Scoring section, Athletes Responsibility section, Athletics Directors Responsibility section, and a Glossary. When this is done, what is left in the rules is what is used to govern the throwing events.
Brief comments on some major rule sets:
- Borges rules are more like a rules book and contains much of what is used through out the country but it is not complete and shows a bias towards west coast events where these rules are used. The big differences is in the pass rules, tie breaking, running of height events, and measuring. His rules make no comments on records or drug testing.This is the best written rule set.
- NASGA Rules are not as well written as Borges based rules but are very serviceable for many games and areas of the country.
- USAD rules uses rules based mostly on Borges and NASGA verbiage with a dash of RMSA along with some self authored rules. The main difference of USAD rules is the layout, which is designed so individual event sections can stand on their own (users do not need to flip pages back and forth to find all the rules for a given event).
- USAD rules have additional sections: Athletes Responsibilities, Athletics Directors Responsibility, and Glossary that summarize rules not involve the running of an event but that are essential to running a competition.
- USAD rules have a strong bias toward games in the western Midwest and the middle of the country as they represent games in that region. Thus, their views of the passing, measuring, and how to run height events among other things are embedded in the rules.
- ASAA contains many rules about volunteering at games and registration that does not generally apply at other games. These rules are ignored for this comparison.
- SHGA are the rules used at majority of Games in Scotland.
Like the NASGA Rule Set, this comparison is broken down into: