OCFOA Weekly Bull week ending 9-22

OCFOA Weekly Bull for the Week ending 9-22

Racial Slurs – It weighs on me greatly that I must write about this. If you’ve watched the news in the past days, then you’ve heard about the reported racial slurs being aimed at high school cheerleaders and majorettes.
Coincidentally, I received a phone call from the aunt of a player who is a freshman playing on the varsity team. She tells me that her nephew was called the N word several times by the opposing team. None of the game officials heard the slurs and when the team complained about it, the opposing coach was warned that any player using that language would be ejected.
I want to reinforce that philosophy. Racial slurs in general and the N word in particular, will not be tolerated. If you hear the N word directed at an opponent and you know who said it, that player should be flagged and ejected. If you hear it and you don’t know who said it, inform the head coach and make sure he understands the ramifications. If you hear N word used between teammates, it’s most likely not being used in a derogatory manner but warn them not to continue using that word while they are on the field.

Keeping the Restricted Area Clear – We seem to be doing a reasonably good job with this thankless task.  Our focus is on the field, but for safety reasons, the restricted area needs to be clear at the start of the play.  So far so good!  One thing to keep in mind is that it is the same for both sides.  We are on the same crew, so do your crewmates a favor and do the same work for both teams.

Chain Crew & Timer – It is a bonus to officials and teams to have a mobile, well-trained chain crew, especially if the tempo of the game is fast.  It is important that schools have their clock operator and chain crews available for when the officials arrive on the field 30 minutes prior to kickoff.  Having a chain crew no matter how experienced, arrive at the coin flip is unacceptable. Tracking down a chain crew detracts from the official’s and coach’s pregame preparation.

Injury Time Out – Team personnel will be allowed to attend to any injured players and team support staff will be allowed to bring out water to the team.  Coaches must either be attending to the injured player or at the sideline (outside numbers) to address team or provide substitutes.  No coaches will be allowed to confer with the team inside the numbers.

Penalty Enforcement – Everyone has something to do.  Get penalty information, communicate penalty information, cover flag, cover ball, get a new ball, communicate with the coach, hold re-enforcement spot, march off the penalty yardage, set the box and/or chains, confirm proper enforcement information, signal the foul, communicate the status of the clock.  All of this takes 5 officials.  Most likely you won’t have time to record your foul information, so remember the info and enter it during the next dead ball period.

Cross-Field Mechanics – Because we’re rounding into mid-season form, our cross-field mechanics should now be quite sophisticated and accurate.  Take pride in this important mechanic!


Player out of bounds. If a player is pushed out of bounds and returns immediately, he remains an eligible receiver. This includes a player who is out of bounds when he leaps to make a catch and then lands inbounds. That is a completed reception. The player does not have to “establish” himself inbounds before making the catch

Illegal Substitute – Illegal Substitution Fouls can be tricky to enforce.

Some illegal substitution fouls that begin before the snap are considered to occur simultaneous with the snap and are therefore enforced from the previous spot. These include:

  • If a replaced player or substitute attempts to leave the field but does not get off prior to the snap, the foul is considered as having occurred simultaneously with the snap and the penalty is enforced from the previous spot. (3-7-4, 10-4-2a)
    If a replaced player or substitute goes off the field on the wrong side of the field during the down, it is an illegal substitution (live-ball foul). (10-4-2a)
    If an entering substitute is not on his team’s side of the neutral zone at the snap, illegal substitution is considered to have occurred simultaneously with the snap. If he then participates, it becomes a live-ball foul, illegal participation. (3-7-5, 9-6-4a)

Other Illegal Substitution Fouls are considered dead ball fouls:

  • If a replaced player does not leave the field within three-seconds, it is a dead-ball, illegal-substitution foul. (3-7-1)
    When a replaced player or substitute leaves on the wrong side of the field or goes across the end line prior to the snap, it is a dead-ball foul for illegal substitution. (3-7-2, 10-4-5b)

Finally, some illegal substitution fouls are enforced from the succeeding spot. They include:

  • Nonplayer enters during down
    Substitute enters during the down (does not participate)
    Player re-enters during down after being on the field of play for previous down and then leaving the field.
    A player who should be on the field of play enters during the down (11th or fewer player)

Unsportsmanlike Conduct (UNS)/Coaches Ejections
By rule, the trainer, statistician, water boy, ball boy, and any other team personnel can be disqualified for unsportsmanlike conduct. Most unsportsmanlike fouls are charged to the offending player or non-player not to the head coach (unless he is the offender).

There are certain fouls that are the responsibility of the head coach, for which he gets charged a UNS

  • Failure of the head coach, following verification, to have his player(s) wear or use legal and/or required equipment (9-8-1h)
    Sideline Warning (after the 2nd offense) (9-8-3)

The next 2 are considered unsporting acts but should not occur with proper game administration by the officiating crew

  • The failure of a team to be ready to start either half (9-8-1g)
    The failure of a team to be on the field for the mandatory 3-minute warm-up period prior to the second half (9-8-1g)

Also, there is a disqualification charged to the head coach for:
Contact with a game official by a nonplayer (2nd offense) this is charged as a personal foulnot as a UNS. Do not combine a personal foul for contact with a game official with a UNS for an ejection.

Correction to rules commentary from last week
Last week we were discussing “Fouls committed in the end zone” and this play was included:
K24 punts from his own endzone when teammate K-12 holds in the endzone.  Receiver R30 returns the kick for a TD.  Ruling: The resulting dead-ball spot is a TD, so R can decline the penalty (which would have resulted in a safety) and take the result of the play which is a TD.  The holding penalty cannot be “tacked on” as it occurred before the change of possession

One of our eagle-eyed members asked “Why wouldn’t Rule 10-4-2 EXCEPTION (a new rule in 2018) apply so that R could keep their TD and have the Penalty enforced from the Succeeding Spot (3yd line)”

I looked at the exception and couldn’t find a reason that it wouldn’t apply here. Both Steve Coover and George Demetriou agreed. The penalty for the holding foul does not have to be declined for the touchdown to stand. The 10-4-2 Exception allows the penalty to be enforced on the try only, not on the succeeding kick-off.

Here’s what the exception says “The basic spot may, at the option of the offended team, be the succeeding spot for fouls by K during a free or scrimmage kick down (other than kick-catching interference) prior to the end of the kick when K will not be next to put the ball in play”

OCFOA Plays of the Week – All 2019 OCFOA Plays of the Week can be found on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/c/MarkAndrewsOCFOA

Mark Andrews
OCFOA Instructional Chairman

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