I have consulted with Cindi Laurent, the chair of the NBA Formats Committee and we agreed that there is NO blank line between these directions and the paragraph. Here's why.
The guidelines that you correctly cited it not worded as well as it might be. The paragraph that is referred to is given as an examples of displayed material, a format that would require the blank line. But bear in mind that there is NO blank line between the directions and the exercise. In this case, the paragraph IS the exercise; it is NOT displayed material and that's why there is no blank here between the directions and this paragraph.
Thank you very much for sending the print example. It was very helpful.