2020 New ARs

RULE 1  

Section 4. Players and Playing Equipment  

Jersey Design, Color and Numerals—ARTICLE 5 Approved Ruling 1-4-5 

 

I. The home team is wearing red jerseys with orange numerals. In the judgment of the officials, the numerals and the body of the jersey do not contrast enough to make the numbers readily visible. The referee asks the home team head coach to change to a legal jersey. The head coach tells the referee that his team will not change into different jerseys. RULING: After the ball is marked ready for play for the opening kickoff, the referee charges the home team with a timeout for illegal jerseys. In addition, there will be a 15-yard penalty at the succeeding spot following the kickoff starting each half. If the kickoff is returned for a touchdown, the penalty is assessed either on the try or at the succeeding kickoff. For each quarter that they continue to wear the jerseys, the team is charged with a timeout after the ball is declared ready for play and before the ball is put in play for the first play of that quarter. If a team has no timeouts remaining, a delay of game penalty will be enforced.  

 

Illegal Equipment—ARTICLE 7 Approved Ruling 1-4-7  

 

III. Both teams come onto the field before the game wearing colored jerseys. The visiting team has not obtained written agreement from the home team to wear other than white jerseys, or if such agreement has been obtained the home team’s conference has not certified that the jerseys are of contrasting colors. RULING: Foul by the visiting team for violation of the jersey-color rule. After the ball is marked ready for play for the opening kickoff, the referee charges the home team with a timeout for illegal jerseys. In addition, there will be a 15-yard penalty at the succeeding spot following the kickoff starting each half. If the kickoff is returned for a touchdown, the penalty is assessed either on the try or at the succeeding kickoff. For each quarter that they continue to wear the jerseys, the team is charged with a timeout after the ball is declared ready for play and before the ball is put in play for the first play of that quarter. If a team has no timeouts remaining, a delay of game penalty will be enforced. (1-4-5-b)  

 

RULE 2  

Section 8. Fair Catch  

Invalid Signal—ARTICLE 3 Approved Ruling 2-8-3  

 

I. During Team A’s punt from the A-20, receiver B44 points at the grounded punt at midfield. As B44 points at the ball, (a) he keeps his hands below his shoulders with no waving motion; (b) he keeps his hands below his shoulders and has a waving motion; (c) he has his hands just above the shoulders with no waving motion. RULING: Rule 2-8-3 states that any waving motion that does not meet the criteria for a valid signal is an invalid signal. Additionally, by interpretation the receiver is allowed to point at a kick as long as his hands remain below the shoulder and there is no waving motion. Both (b) and (c) would be an Invalid Fair Catch Signal. In (a), this would not be considered a signal at all, and Team B would retain the right to recover the ball and advance.  

 

Kickoff—ARTICLE 6 

 Approved Ruling 2-16-6 

 

 I. After a Touchdown and successful 2 point try, Team A trails 24 – 22 with 0:55 left in the 4th quarter. Team A intends to try an on-side free kick from the A-35. Kicker A90 holds the ball as if he will attempt a drop kick. A-90 then tosses the ball up in the air and the ball bounces just behind Team A’s restraining line and then A90 kicks the ball after it bounces several feet into the air. RULING: Illegal Kick. Dead-ball foul. Penalty – Five yards from the succeeding spot.  This kick does not meet the requirements of a Drop Kick as required in Rule 2-16-3. For a legal drop kick the kicker must drop the ball and kick it as it touches the ground.  Since Rule 2-16-6 only allows a place kick or a drop kick for a kickoff, this kick is not a legal kick. The penalty enforcement follows the current Approved Ruling 6-1-2, I.  

 

Crosses Neutral Zone—ARTICLE 3 

 Approved Ruling 2-19-3 

 

 I. QB A12 throws a legal forward pass, and receiver A88 first touches the pass when the ball is 1 ½ yards beyond the neutral zone. The receiver’s back foot is not beyond the neutral zone. RULING: The legal forward pass has crossed the neutral zone. Rule 2-19-3-a states that a pass has crossed the neutral zone when it strikes anything beyond the neutral zone. By Rule 2-19-3-b, A88 as a player is not beyond the neutral zone. Nevertheless, by Rule 2-19-3-a the pass has crossed the neutral zone since it was beyond the neutral zone when A88 touched it. The guiding principle on a pass crossing the neutral zone is the location of the ball when it is first touched.  

 

Section 27. Team and Player Designations 

Disqualified Player—ARTICLE 12  

Approved Ruling 2-27-12 

 

I. A player is disqualified for a targeting foul in the second half.  RULING: The player is not allowed to play in the first half of his team’s next game. However, he is allowed to participate in pregame warmups with his team. He may not participate in the first half, but may remain in the team area. (Rules 9-1-3 and -4) 

 

RULE 3 

Periods, Time Factors and Substitutions 

Section 1. Start of Each Period 

Pregame—ARTICLE 1 

Approved Ruling 3-1-1  

 

I. After the officials’ jurisdiction has begun, a few home team players enter the playing enclosure without their game jersey, and do not have their numeral readily visible. RULING: The players with no game jersey or numeral readily visible must immediately leave the playing enclosure. The head coach or assistant coach(es) on the field may help with this situation.   

 

Section 2. Playing Time and Intermissions  

Extension of Periods—ARTICLE 3 

Approved Ruling 3-2-3 

 

V. Team A scores a touchdown during a down in which time expires. After the touchdown, but before the try, either team fouls. RULING: The period is extended only for the try. The penalty may be enforced on the try or the succeeding kickoff, or the succeeding spot in extra periods.  

 

Section 3. Timeouts: Starting and Stopping the Clock  

Starting and Stopping the Clock—ARTICLE 2  

Approved Ruling 3-3-2  

 

V. Late in the second or fourth quarter, Team A has second and eight.  B44 intercepts a legal forward pass and carries the ball out of bounds. B79 is in the neutral zone at the snap. When the game clock is stopped it reads (a) 2:00, or (b) 1:59. RULING: Team A accepts the penalty and retains possession of the ball. In both (a) and (b) the game clock starts on the referee’s signal, because Team B will not next snap the ball. In (b) if Team B is leading, the clock will start on the snap. 

 

More Than Eleven Players on the Field—ARTICLE 3  

Approved Ruling 3-5-3  

 

II. 3/5 @ B-35. Team B has 12 players in the formation, and no Team B player is attempting to leave the field while the ball is ready for play. Team A snaps the ball and the run by A44 gains 3 yards. RULING: Live ball foul, Team A 1/10 @ B-30.  

 

IV. 3/5 @ B-35. Team B has 12 players in the formation, and B44 recognizes that he is the 12th player and is attempting to leave the field. When the ball is snapped, (a) B44 is on the field but his next stride takes him off the field; or (b) B44 touches out of bounds just before the snap. Team A snaps the ball and the run by A44 gains 3 yards. RULING: (a) Live ball foul by B44. Team A 1/10 @ B-30. (b) No foul by B44, 4/2 @ B-32. To not be counted as the 12th player, B44 must be off of the field of play.  

 

VII. 3/5 @ B-35. Team B has 12 players in the formation, and no Team B player is attempting to leave the field. The ball is ready for play, both teams are in formation and the snap is imminent. Quarterback A12, late in the play clock, is struggling to read the defense and (a) calls timeout; or (b) the play clock expires. RULING: When the deep officials count 12 Team B players, both teams are in formation, no Team B player is attempting to leave the field and the snap is imminent, (a) the crew will offer Team A their time out back and penalize Team B for a substitution foul. Team A 1/10 @ B-30 (b) no foul for delay of game, penalize Team B for a substitution foul. Team A 1/10 @ B-30. 

 

RULE 5  

Series of Downs,  Line to Gain 

Section 2. Down and Possession After a Penalty  

Foul Between Series—ARTICLE 7 Approved Ruling 5-2-7 

 

VI. Ball carrier A22 is tackled hard by B44 at the B-5, resulting in first and goal. After the ball is dead, A22 gets up and punches B44. RULING:  15-yard penalty against Team A; A22 is ejected. After enforcement of the penalty, Team A will have first and 10 at the B-20. 

 

RULE 6 

Kicks 

Section 3. Scrimmage Kicks 

Beyond the Neutral Zone—ARTICLE 2  

Approved Ruling 6-3-2 

 

II. During a scrimmage kick, A1 commits a touching violation, after which B1 recovers, advances and fumbles. A2 recovers the fumble and, during the advance, B2 holds, trips or punches. RULING: Team A may have the ball where left by the penalty for Team B’s foul; but if Team A declines the penalty, Team B will have the ball by electing the touching violation. B2 is ejected if flagged for fighting.  

 

Defensive Linemen on Scrimmage Kicks—ARTICLE 14  

Approved Ruling 6-3-14  

 

I. 4/3 @ B-25. Team A is in a formation to attempt a field goal. B50 lines up within one yard of the line of scrimmage and in the gap between the snapper and the guard. B50’s shoulder overlaps with the snapper’s shoulder. The field goal attempt is good. RULING: Live ball foul by B50. Team A may keep the 3 points and decline the penalty or accept the penalty, no score and have 1/10 @ B-20.  

 

II. 4/6 @ A-24. Team A is in scrimmage kick formation and punts. B50 is lined up inside the frame of the snapper and is within one yard of the line of scrimmage. The punt rolls out of bounds at the B-40. RULING: Live ball foul by B50. Team A may accept the penalty and have 4/1 @ A-29 or decline the penalty and it will be Team B’s ball, 1/10 @ B-40.  

 

Section 4. Opportunity to Catch a Kick  

Interference With Opportunity—ARTICLE 1  

Approved Ruling 6-4-1 

 

II. A Team B player, about to catch a scrimmage kick, is tackled before the ball arrives but catches the kick while he is falling. RULING: Kick-catch interference. Penalty—15 yards from the spot of the foul. Ejection of the Team A player if the contact is flagrant. If the foul is between the goal lines, enforcement is from the spot of the foul and Team B puts the ball in play by a snap; if behind Team B’s goal line, award a touchback and penalize from the succeeding spot. The ruling would be the same had the kick been muffed or fumbled. The ruling also applies on an unsuccessful field goal attempt since Team B touched the ball beyond the neutral zone.  

 

VIII. Fourth and 10 at the 50-yard line. B17 is at Team B’s 20-yard line and in position to catch Team A’s high scrimmage kick. During the downward flight of the ball, A37 contacts B17 viciously and flagrantly before he touches the ball. A37 did not alter his speed or make any attempt to elude B17. RULING: Team A flagrant personal foul, interference with the opportunity to catch a kick. Penalty—15 yards from the spot of the foul. A37 is ejected.  

 

RULE 7  

Snapping and  Passing the Ball 

Section 1. The Scrimmage  

Shift and False Start —ARTICLE 2  

Approved Ruling 7-1-2  

 

V. Team A has 3rd and 3 at the B-40. QB A12 is in shotgun formation, (a) makes a fake clap standing in position; (b) makes a fake clap while chucking his shoulders and hands forward in an exaggerated motion simulating the start of the play. RULING: Rule 7-1-2-b-4-c states that it is a false start if the quarterback makes any quick, jerky movement that simulates the start of the play. In (a) no foul; (b) false start on A12. 

 

RULE 8  

Scoring 

Section 3. Try Down  

Fouls During a Try After Team B Possession—ARTICLE 4  

Approved Ruling 8-3-4  

 

III. During a two-point try attempt, Team A is flagged for an illegal shift. B21 recovers a fumble and on the return, B45 clips and A80 punches an opponent. B21 carries the ball across the goal line. RULING: The score does not count, the fouls cancel, the down is not repeated and the try is ended. A80’s foul for fighting will be enforced on the succeeding kickoff or at the succeeding spot in extra periods. A80 is ejected.  

 

IV. During a two-point try attempt, Team A is flagged for an illegal shift.  B21 recovers a fumble and on the return, A80 punches an opponent. B21 carries the ball across the goal line. RULING: The score counts and the penalty for A80’s flagrant foul is enforced on the succeeding kickoff or at the succeeding spot in extra periods. A80 is ejected.  

 

RULE 9  

Conduct of Players and Others Subject to Rules 

Section 1. Personal Fouls  

Striking Fouls and Tripping—ARTICLE 2  

Approved Ruling 9-1-2 

 

II. A1, a ball carrier, strikes tackler B6 with his extended forearm just before being tackled. RULING: Personal foul. Penalty—15 yards. Enforce from the previous spot if foul occurs behind the neutral zone. Ejection if flagrant. Safety if the foul occurs behind Team A’s goal line.   

 

Targeting and Making Forcible Contact to Head or Neck Area of a Defenseless Player—ARTICLE 4  

Approved Ruling 9-1-4  

 

III. A44 is covering the kickoff that opens the second half.  As A44 is running at the Team B 45-yard line, B66 targets and launches into A44 from the side, a blind-side block.  B66 first makes contact with his forearm at A44’s (a) neck; (b) upper arm or shoulder.  RULING: (a) Foul by B66 for a blind-side block and targeting a defenseless player by initiating contact at the head or neck area. 15-yard penalty at the end of the run. B66 is disqualified for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next game. (b) Foul for blind-side block. This is not a foul for targeting because the contact by B66 is not to the head or neck area. (Rule 2-27-14) 

 

V. End A81 is split far to the left of the formation, to the outside of defensive end B89. On a sweep play in B89’s direction he moves to his left to focus on the ball carrier, losing sight of A81. A81 then cuts to the inside, takes aim and launches at B89, forcibly contacting him with his forearm to B89’s neck. RULING: Foul for blind-side block with targeting. Under Rule 9-14, 15 yard penalty, A81 is disqualified.  B89 is a defenseless player as he is subject to the blind-side block.  (Rule 2-27-14)  

 

X. On a punt return, B44 launches at A66 from the blind side and drives his shoulder into him.  The force of the contact is at A66’s side below the shoulder.  RULING:  Foul for blind-side block.  A66 is a defenseless player because B44 executes a blind-side block. However, this is not a targeting foul because the forcible contact is not to the head/neck area. 

 

Blocking Below the Waist—ARTICLE 6  

Approved Ruling 9-1-6  

 

VI. Defensive end B88 blocks below the waist against tackle A75 one yard beyond the line of scrimmage. The block is at the opponent’s side. RULING: Foul for illegal block below the waist. The block takes place within the 10-yard belt, but to be legal, it must be directed from the front. 

 

IX. First and 10 at the A-40. A12 takes the snap and starts on a sweep to his right. Guard A66 pulls and leads the play. As the play develops linebacker B55 blocks A66 from the front at the thigh at the A-44. A12 is driven out of bounds at the A-48. RULING: No foul.  B55’s block below the waist is legal because it occurs fewer than 5 yards beyond the neutral zone and is directed from the front.  

 

Contact Against the Snapper—ARTICLE 14  

Approved Ruling 9-1-14  

 

III. Immediately after the snap, with Team A in a scrimmage kick formation, B71 is lined up within one yard of the line of scrimmage and is outside of the frame of the snapper. B71 attempts to “shoot the gap” between the snapper and the adjacent lineman. B71’s initial legal contact is with the lineman next to the snapper. RULING: Legal. Incidental contact with the snapper after this initial legal contact is not a foul (Rule 2-16-10).  

 

Section 2. Unsportsmanlike Conduct Fouls  

Unsportsmanlike Acts—ARTICLE 1  

Approved Ruling 9-2-1  

 

I. Team B scores a touchdown on a kickoff return, and substitutes from the Team B area, with no intention of entering the game, run to the end zone to congratulate the ball carrier. RULING: Unsportsmanlike act. Penalty—15 yards, enforced on the try, the succeeding kickoff or from the succeeding spot in extra periods. Officials should note the numbers of the offending players, for possible ejection later in the game upon committing a second unsportsmanlike conduct foul (9-2-1-a-Penalty).  

 

IV. Third and 15 at the B-20. Eligible A88 catches a pass at the B-18 and heads for the goal line. Very close to the goal line he dives into the end zone, with no Team B player closer than about 10 yards. The field judge is uncertain of the exact spot where A88 started his diving action. RULING:  Foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. Administer as a dead-ball foul: The touchdown counts and the penalty is enforced on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods.  

 

VIII. Safety B33 intercepts a pass at the B-10 and returns for a touchdown.  As he is coming down the sideline covering the play the line judge drops his flag after he runs into the Team B head coach who is just on the field of play near the B-40.  RULING: Although this is a foul that takes place while the ball is alive, it is treated as a dead-ball foul against the team because it is committed by a non-player.  The touchdown counts and the 15-yard penalty is enforced on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods.  

 

X. After the ball carrier is tackled, A55 and B73 engage in a scuffle such that officials have to separate them and throw flags.  Both A55 and B73 are charged with dead-ball personal fouls.  RULING:  Offsetting dead-ball fouls.  Each player is also charged with an unsportsmanlike conduct foul which counts toward the two such fouls leading to automatic ejection.  The referee announces either the first or second unsportsmanlike conduct foul for A55 and B73.  

 

XI. During the play, the ball carrier fumbles and several players dive for the ball. B55 grabs A33 and slings him off the pile. RULING: B55 is charged with a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. 15 yards and automatic first down. The referee announces that this is either the first or second unsportsmanlike conduct foul against B55. If it is the second, B55 is ejected from the game.  

 

XII. During a dead-ball time, a head coach or an assistant coach is flagged for coming out to the numbers and cursing the officials in a loud and abusive manner.  RULING:  The officials charge either the head coach or the assistant coach with a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.  The referee announces that this is either the first or second unsportsmanlike conduct foul against the coach in question. If it is the second, the coach in question is ejected from the game.  

 

Unfair Tactics—ARTICLE 2  

Approved Ruling 9-2-2  

 

VII. 4/10 @ A-35. As Team A begins substitutions for a potential punt, it is discovered that Team A has assigned three players wearing the number 2. RULING: Unsportsmanlike Conduct charged against the head coach. After enforcement, 4/25 @ A-20. This counts toward the two Unsportsmanlike Conduct fouls that leads to automatic ejection.  

 

Ejected Players and Coaches—ARTICLE 6  

Approved Ruling 9-2-6  

 

I.  During a long kickoff return, the head coach of the kicking team comes onto the field of play, vigorously and angrily protesting that there should have been a flag for holding by the receiving team during the return. RULING: Unsportsmanlike conduct foul against the head coach. Administer as a dead-ball foul. Penalize 15 yards at the succeeding spot. This counts as one of the unsportsmanlike conduct fouls against the head coach. If this were his second foul for unsportsmanlike conduct, the head coach would be ejected from the game. A head coach ejected from the game may designate a new head coach. 

 

Section 3. Blocking, Use of Hand and Arm  

Interfering for or Helping the Ball Carrier or Passer—ARTICLE 2  

Approved Ruling 9-3-2  

 

Holding and Use of Hands or Arms: Offense—ARTICLE 3  

Approved Ruling 9-3-3  

 

IX. A12 takes the snap and retreats to pass. Defensive end B95 gets past A75 and is about to tackle A12, who is still inside the tackle box. A75 pushes B95 in the back at the numbers to prevent him from making the tackle.  A12’s pass is complete for a touchdown. RULING: Touchdown counts. No foul by A75. Such continuing action involving pass protection while the passer remains inside the tackle box are within the spirit of the exception to Rule 9-3-6 and are thus legal. However, if this is a totally separate action and a new block outside the blocking zone, it is a foul for a block in the back.  

 

RULE 10 

Penalty Enforcement 

Dead-Ball Fouls—ARTICLE 5  

Approved Ruling 10-1-5  

 

III. Second and goal at the three-yard line. Ball carrier A14 is downed at the one-yard line and then B67 piles on. A14 retaliates by punching B67. RULING: The penalties cancel since neither has been completed. A14 is ejected for fighting. Third and goal (Rule 10-1-1).  

 

Fouls During or After a Touchdown, Field Goal or Try—ARTICLE 5  

Approved Ruling 10-2-5  

Fouls during a touchdown or field goal by Team A: 

 

I. During a touchdown run Team B clips in the field of play or the end zone. RULING: Team A has the option of the penalty being enforced on the try,  succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods (Rule 10-2-5-a-1).  

 

II. Team B commits a personal foul during a down when Team A scores a touchdown, and then Team A fouls after the score and before the ready-for-play signal on the try. RULING: Allow the score. Team A has the option of enforcement on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods. Team B then also has the option of Team A being penalized on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods. The yardage assessed on the live-ball/dead-ball penalties may cancel (Rule 10-2-5).  

 

III. Team B holds during Team A’s touchdown run. Team A fouls after the score. RULING: Allow the score.  The penalty for Team B’s holding foul is declined by rule. Team B has the option of Team A being penalized on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods (Rules 10-2-5-a-2 and 10-2-5-c).  

 

IV. A Team B player punches an opponent during or after Team A’s touchdown run. Team B is offside on the successful try. RULING: Allow the touchdown. Eject the Team B player for fighting. Team A has the option of a penalty against Team B on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods. After the successful try, Team A has the option of repeating the try with the offside penalty enforced on the try (Rules 10-2-5 and 8-3-3-b).  

 

V. Team B roughs the passer during a touchdown pass play. RULING: Allow the touchdown. Team A has the option of enforcement on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods.  

 

Fouls after a touchdown by Team A:  

 

IX. Team A fouls after it scores a touchdown, and Team B fouls after a successful try. RULING: Allow the score. Team B has the option of Team A being penalized on the try, the succeeding kickoff, or from the succeeding spot in extra periods. For the foul after the try, Team B is penalized on the kickoff or at the succeeding spot in extra periods.  

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