ARTICLE 1. Each half shall start with a kickoff. Three minutes before the scheduled starting time, the referee shall toss a coin at midfield in the presence of not more than four field captains from each team and another game official, first designating the field captain of the visiting team to call the coin toss. Before the second half, the referee will obtain the teams' second half options.
During the coin toss, each team shall remain in the area between the nine-yard marks and its sideline or in the team area. The coin toss begins when the field captains leave the nine-yard marks and ends when the captains return to the nine-yard marks.
a. The winner of the toss shall choose one of the following options:
1. To designate which team shall kick off.
2. To designate which goal line his team shall defend. (Exception: This option is not available if only one goal is being used (Rule 1-2-5-f).)
3. To defer his selection to the second half.
b. The opponent shall then choose option 1 or 2 above, as available.
c. If the winner of the toss chooses option 3 above, then after the opponent's choice the winner selects the available option (1 or 2 above).
ARTICLE 2. Between the first and second periods and also between the third and fourth periods, the teams shall defend opposite goal lines.
a. The ball shall be relocated at a spot corresponding exactly, in relation to goal lines and sidelines, to its location at the end of the preceding period.
b. Possession of the ball, the number of the down and the distance to be gained shall remain unchanged.
ARTICLE 3. The NCAA tiebreaker system will be used when a game is tied after four periods. BAFA football playing rules apply, with the following exceptions: a. Immediately after the conclusion of the fourth quarter, officials will instruct both teams to retire to their respective team areas. The officials will assemble at the 50-yard line and review the tiebreaker procedures.
b. The officials will escort the captains (Rule 3-1-1) to the centre of the field for the coin toss. The referee shall toss a coin at midfield in the presence of not more than four field captains from each team and another game official, first designating the field captain of the visiting team to call the coin toss. The winner of the toss shall choose one of the following options:
1. Offense or defense, with the offense at the opponent's 25-yard line to start the first possession series.
2. Which end of the field shall be used for both possession series of that overtime period.
NOTE: The winner of the toss may not defer his choice.
c. The loser of the toss shall exercise the remaining option for the first extra period and shall have the first choice of the two options for subsequent even-numbered extra periods.
d. An extra period shall consist of two possession series with each team putting the ball in play by a snap on or between the inbounds lines on the designated 25-yard line, which becomes the opponent's 25-yard line. The snap shall be from midway between the inbounds lines on the 25-yard line, unless a different position on or between the inbounds lines is selected before the ready-for-play signal. After the ready-for-play signal, the ball may be relocated after a charged team timeout, unless preceded by a Team A foul or offsetting penalties.
e. Each team retains the ball during a possession series until it scores or fails to make a first down. The ball remains alive after a change of team possession until it is declared dead. However, Team A may not have a first and 10 if it again possesses the ball after a change of team possession. (A.R. 3-1-3:I-XII)
Team A and B designations are the same as defined in Rule 2-27-1.
f. The team scoring the greater number of points during the regulation and extra periods shall be declared the winner. There shall be an equal number of possession series, as described in (e) above, in each extra period, unless Team B scores during a period other than on the try. Beginning with the third extra period, team scoring a touchdown must attempt a two point try. Although not illegal, a one-point try attempt by Team A will not score a point (A.R. 3-1-3:XIII)
g. (A.R. 3-1-3:XIV-XVII)
1. Distance penalties against either team are declined by rule in extra periods (Exceptions: Penalties for flagrant personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct fouls, dead-ball personal fouls and live-ball fouls treated as dead-ball fouls are enforced on the succeeding play).
2. A score by a team committing a foul during the down is cancelled.
3. If both teams foul during the down and Team B had not fouled before the change of possession, the fouls offset and the down is not repeated.
h. Timeouts: Each team shall be allowed one timeout for each extra period. Timeouts not used during the regulation periods may not be carried over into the extra period(s). Unused extra period timeouts may not be carried over to other extra periods. Timeouts between periods shall be charged to the succeeding period.
Radio and television timeouts are permitted only between extra periods (first and second, second and third, etc.). Charged team timeouts may not be extended for radio and television purposes. The extra period(s) begins when the ball is first snapped.
ARTICLE 1. The maximum total playing time in a game shall be 60 minutes, divided into four periods of 15 minutes each, with one-minute intermissions between the first and second periods (first half) and between the third and fourth periods (second half) (Exception: A one-minute intermission between the first and second and the third and fourth quarters may be extended for radio and television timeouts).
a. No period shall end until the ball is dead and the referee declares the period ended [S14].
b. The intermission between halves shall be 20 minutes, unless altered before the game by mutual agreement of the administrations of both teams. Immediately after the second period ends, the referee should begin the intermission by signalling to start the game clock [S2].
ARTICLE 2. Before the game starts, playing time and the intermission between halves may be shortened by the referee if he is of the opinion that darkness may interfere with the game. The four periods must be of equal length if the game is shortened before its start.
a. Any time during the game, the playing time of any remaining period or periods and the intermission between halves may be shortened by mutual agreement of the opposing head coaches and the referee.
b. Timing errors on the game clock may be corrected but shall be corrected only in the period in which they occur.
c. If the referee has positive knowledge of the elapsed time, he will reset and appropriately start the game clock.
d. Timing errors on a play clock may be corrected by the referee. The play clock shall start again (Rule 2-29-2).
e. When the play-clock count is interrupted by circumstances beyond the control of either team (without positive knowledge of game clock elapsed time), a new count shall be started and the game clock shall start per Rules 3-2-4-b or 3-2-4-d as appropriate.
f. The 40/25-second clock is not started when the game clock is running with fewer than 40 or 25 seconds, respectively, in a period.
g. The game clock should not be stopped if the play clock is started in conflict with paragraph f above.
h. Timing adjustments for games using Instant Replay are governed by Rule 12-3-5.
a. A period shall be extended for an untimed down (other than a try) if one or more of the following occurs during a down in which time expires (A.R. 3-2-3:I-VIII)
1. A penalty is accepted for a live-ball foul(s). (Exception: Rule 10-2-5-a ). The period is not extended if the foul is by the team in possession and the statement of the penalty includes loss of down (A.R. 3-2-3:VIII)
2. There are offsetting fouls.
3. An official sounds his whistle inadvertently or otherwise incorrectly signals the ball dead.
b. Additional untimed downs (other than a try) will be played until a down is free of the circumstances in statements 1, 2 and 3 of Rule 3-2-3-a (above).
ARTICLE 4. a. Game clock. Playing time shall be kept with a game clock that may be either a stop watch operated by the line judge, back judge, field judge or side judge, or a game clock operated by an assistant under the direction of the appropriate judge. The type of game clock shall be determined by the game management.
b. 40-Second Clock. In stadiums that meet the mandatory requirements for 40/25-second play clocks:
1. When an official signals that the ball is dead, the play clock shall begin a 40-second count.
2. If the 40-second clock does not start or the count is interrupted for reasons beyond the control of the officials or the play-clock operator (e.g. clock malfunction), the referee shall stop the game clock and signal (both palms open in an over-the-head pumping motion) that the play clock should be reset at 40 seconds and started immediately.
3. In the event that the 40-second clock is running and the ball is not ready to be snapped after 20 seconds into the count, the referee shall declare a timeout and signal that the play clock be set at 25 seconds. When play is to be resumed, the referee will give the ready-for-play signal [S1] and the play clock shall begin the 25-second count. The game clock will start on the snap unless it had been running when the referee declared a timeout; in that case, it will start on the referee's signal (Rule 3-3-2-f).
c. 25-Second Clock. In stadiums that meet the mandatory requirements for 40/25-second play clocks: if the officials signal the game clock to be stopped for any of the following reasons, the referee shall signal (one open palm in an over-the-head pumping motion) that the clock should be set at 25 seconds:
1. Penalty administration.
2. Charged team timeout.
3. Media timeout.
4. Injury timeout for a Team A player only. The play clock is set to 40 seconds for an injury to a player of Team B.
6. Change of possession.
7. After a kick down.
9. Start of each period.
10. Start of a team's possession series in an extra period.
11. Instant replay review.
12. Other administrative stoppage.
When play is to be resumed, the referee will give the ready-for-play signal [S1] and the play clock will begin the 25-second count.
d. In stadiums that do not meet the mandatory requirements for 40/25-second play clocks: the 25 seconds between the ready-for-play signal and the ball being put in play shall be timed with a watch operated by the appropriate official or with 25-second clocks at each end of the playing enclosure operated by an assistant under the direction of the appropriate official.
e. Device malfunction. If a visual 40/25-second timing device becomes inoperative, both coaches shall be notified by the referee immediately and both clocks shall be turned off.
ARTICLE 1. a. An official shall signal timeout when the rules provide for stopping the clock or when a timeout is charged to a team or to the referee. Other officials should repeat timeout signals. The referee may declare and charge himself with a discretionary timeout for any contingency not elsewhere covered by the rules (A.R. 3-3-1:V-VI)
b. When a team's charged timeouts are exhausted and it requests a timeout, the official shall not acknowledge the request (Rule 3-3-4).
c. Once the game begins, players shall not practice with a ball on the field of play or the end zones except during the half-time intermission.
ARTICLE 2. a. Free Kick. When the ball is free-kicked, the game clock shall be started when the ball is legally touched in the field of play or crosses the goal line after being touched legally by Team B in its end zone. It is subsequently stopped when the ball is dead by rule.
b. Scrimmage Down. When a period begins with a scrimmage down, the game clock shall be started when the ball is legally snapped. On all other scrimmage downs, the game clock shall be started when the ball is legally snapped (Rule 3-3-2-d) or on a prior signal by the referee (Rule 3-3-2-e). The game clock shall not run during a try, during an extension of a period or during an extra period (A.R. 3-3-2:I-IV)
c. After a Score. The game clock shall stop after a touchdown, field goal or safety. It shall be started again as in (a) above unless the down is replayed, in which case it shall be started when the ball is legally snapped.
d. Starts on the Snap. For each of the following, the game clock is stopped. If the next play begins with a snap, the game clock will start on the snap:
2. With fewer than two minutes remaining in a half a Team A ball carrier, fumble or backward pass is ruled out of bounds. (Exception: After a Team A forward fumble, the clock starts on the referee's signal.)
3. Team B is awarded a first down and will next snap the ball (A.R. 3-3-2:VI)
4. A forward pass is ruled incomplete.
5. A team is granted a charged timeout (A.R. 3-3-4:I-IV)
6. The ball becomes illegal.
7. Violation of a rule for mandatory equipment (Rule 1-4-4 or illegal equipment (Rule 1-4-5).
8. A legal kick down ends.
9. A return kick is made.
10. A scrimmage kick is made beyond the neutral zone.
11. Team A commits a delay-of-game foul while in a scrimmage kick formation.
12. A period ends.
e. Starts on the Referee's Signal. For each of the following reasons, the game clock is stopped. If the next play begins with a snap, the game clock will start on the referee's signal:
1. Team A is awarded a first down either through play or by penalty.
2. A Team A forward fumble goes out of bounds.
3. Other than with fewer than two minutes remaining in a half, a Team A ball carrier, fumble or backward pass is ruled out of bounds.
4. To complete a penalty.
5. An injury timeout is allowed for one or more injured players or an official (A.R. 3-3-1:I) (A.R. 3-3-5:I-V)
6. An inadvertent whistle is sounded.
7. A possible first-down measurement.
8. A delay in making the ball ready for play is caused by both teams (A.R. 3-3-1:II and IV)
9. A live ball comes into possession of an official.
10. A head coach's conference or instant-replay challenge is requested.
11. The referee grants a media timeout.
12. The referee declares a discretionary timeout.
13. The referee declares a timeout for unfair noise (Rule 9-2-1-b-6).
14. An illegal pass is thrown to conserve time. (A.R. 7-3-2:II-VIII)
15. The referee interrupts the 40/25-second count.
f. Snap Supercedes Referee's Signal. Whenever one or more incidents that cause the game clock to be started on the referee's signal (Rule 3-3-2-e) occur in conjunction with any that cause it to be started on the snap (Rules 3-3-2-c and 3-3-2-d), it shall be started on the snap.
ARTICLE 3. a. The referee may suspend the game temporarily when conditions warrant such action.
b. When the game is stopped by actions of a person(s) not subject to the rules or for any other reasons not in the rules and cannot continue, the referee shall:
1. Suspend play and direct the players to their team areas.
2. Refer the problem to those responsible for the game's management.
3. Resume the game when he determines conditions are satisfactory.
c. If a game is suspended under Rules 3-3-3-a and b before the end of the fourth period and cannot be resumed, there are four possible options:
1. Resume the game at a later date;
2. Terminate the game with a determined final score;
3. Forfeit of the game; or
4. Declare a no contest.
The option that takes effect shall be determined by competition policy.
d. If a game is suspended under Rules 3-3-3-a and b after four periods of play and cannot be resumed, the game shall be ruled a tie. The final score shall be the score at the end of the last completed period. (Note: If a winner must be determined in a competition playoff game, competition policy shall determine when and where the game will be resumed.)
e. A suspended game, if resumed, will begin with the same time remaining and under the identical conditions of down, distance, field position and player eligibility.
ARTICLE 4. When timeouts are not exhausted, an official shall allow a charged team timeout when requested by any player or head coach when the ball is dead. (A.R. 3-3-4:I and II)
a. Each team is entitled to three charged team timeouts during each half.
b. After the ball is declared dead and before the snap, a legal substitute may request a timeout if he is between the nine-yard marks. (A.R. 3-3-4:III and IV)
c. A player who participated during the previous down may request a timeout between the time the ball is declared dead and the snap without being between the nine-yard marks. (A.R. 3-3-4:I and II)
d. A head coach who is in, or in the vicinity of, his team area or coaching box may request a timeout between the time the ball is declared dead and the next snap.
e. A player, incoming substitute or head coach may request a head coach's conference with the referee if the coach believes a rule has been enforced improperly. If the rule enforcement is not changed, the coach's team will be charged a timeout, or a delay penalty if all timeouts have been used.
1. Only the referee may stop the clock for a head coach's conference.
2. A request for a head coach's conference or challenge must be made before the ball is snapped or free-kicked for the next play and before the end of the second or fourth period (Rules 5-2-9 and 11-1).
3. After a head coach's conference or challenge, the full team timeout is granted if charged by the referee.
a. In the event of an injured player(s):
1. An official will declare a timeout and the player(s) must leave the game. He must remain out of the game for at least one down. When in question, officials will take a timeout for an injured player.
2. The player(s) may not return to the game until he receives approval of medical personnel designated by his team.
3. Officials and coaches shall give special attention to players who exhibit signs of a concussion. (See Appendix C.)
4. Whenever a participant suffers a laceration or wound from which oozing or bleeding occurs, the player or game official shall go to the team area and be given appropriate medical treatment. He may not return to the game without approval of medical personnel. (A.R. 3-3-5:I-VII)
b. Any official may stop the clock for an injured player(s). When in question, the clock shall be stopped for an injured player.
c. To curtail a possible time-gaining advantage by feigning injuries, attention is directed to the strongly worded statement in "The Football Code" concerning the feigning of any injury.
d. An injury timeout may follow a charged team timeout.
e. The referee may charge himself with a timeout for an injured official.
f. After a timeout for an injured Team B player, the play clock shall be set at 40 seconds.
ARTICLE 6. For noncompliance with Rules 1-4-4, 1-4-5 or 9-2-2-d during a down, or noncompliance with Rules 1-4-6-b, or 3-3-4-e while the ball is dead, a timeout shall be charged to a team at the succeeding spot (Rule 3-4-2-b).
ARTICLE 7. a. A charged full team timeout requested by any player or head coach shall not exceed one minute 30 seconds. (Exception: Rule 3-3-4-e-3). This includes the 25-second play clock interval.
b. For live televised games only, a charged team timeout shall be 30 seconds plus the 25-second play clock interval.
c. Any charged team timeout shall be 30 seconds in duration upon a visual signal of the hands touching the shoulders, made by the head coach of the team requesting the timeout. The signal must be made promptly after the timeout is requested.
d. Other timeouts shall be not longer than the referee deems necessary to fulfill the purpose for which they are declared, including a radio or TV timeout, but any timeout may be extended by the referee for the benefit of an injured player (Refer to Appendix A for the guidelines for game officials to use during a serious on-field player injury).
e. If the team charged with a one-minute 30-second team timeout wishes to resume play before the expiration of one minute and its opponent indicates readiness, the referee will declare the ball ready for play.
f. The length of a referee's timeouts depends on the circumstances of each timeout.
g. The field captain must exercise his penalty option before he or a teammate consults with his coach on a sideline during a timeout.
h. The intermission after a safety, try or successful field goal shall be not more than one minute. It may be extended for radio or television.
ARTICLE 8. During a full team timeout (Rule 3-3-7-a) the referee shall notify both teams after one minute. Five seconds later he shall declare the ball ready for play. During a 30-second team timeout (Rule 3-3-7-b or 3-3-7-c) the referee shall notify both teams after 30 seconds. Five seconds later he shall declare the ball ready for play.
a. When a third timeout is charged to a team in either half, the referee shall notify the field captain and head coach of that team.
b. Unless a visual game clock is the official timepiece, the referee also shall inform each field captain and head coach when approximately two minutes of playing time remain in each half. He may order the clock stopped for that purpose.
1. The play-clock count is not interrupted.
2. The clock starts on the snap after the two-minute notification.
c. If a visual game clock is not the official timing device during the last two minutes of each half, the referee or his representative shall notify each captain and head coach of the time remaining each time the clock is stopped by rule. Also, a representative may leave the team area along the limit line to relay timing information under these conditions.
ARTICLE 1. a. Each team shall have its players on the field for the opening play at the scheduled time for the beginning of each half. When both teams refuse to enter the field first for the start of either half, the home team must be the first to enter.
b. The home management is responsible for clearing the field of play and end zones at the beginning of each half so the periods may start at the scheduled time. Bands, speeches, presentations, homecoming and similar activities are under the jurisdiction of home management and a prompt start of each half is mandatory.
Exception: The referee may waive the penalty for circumstances beyond the control of the home management.
ARTICLE 2. a. The officials shall make the ball ready for play consistently throughout the game. Consuming more than 40 seconds or 25 seconds to put the ball in play (Rule 3-2-4) after it is made ready for play is an illegal delay.
b. Illegal delay also includes:
1. Deliberately advancing the ball after it is dead.
2. When a team has expended its three timeouts and commits a Rule 1-4-4, 1-4-5, 1-4-6-b, 3-3-4-e or 9-2-2-d infraction.
3. When a team is not ready to play after an intermission between periods (other than the half), after a score, after a radio/television/team timeout, or any time the referee orders the ball put in play. (A.R. 3-4-2:I)
4. Defensive verbal tactics that disconcert offensive signals (Rule 7-1-5-a-3).
5. Defensive actions designed to cause a false start (Rule 7-1-5-a-4).
6. Putting the ball in play before it is ready for play (Rule 4-1-4).
7. Sideline interference (Rule 9-1-6).
8. Action clearly designed to delay the officials from making the ball ready for play (A.R. 3-4-2:II)
ARTICLE 3. The referee shall order the game clock or play clock started or stopped whenever either team conserves or consumes playing time by tactics obviously unfair. This includes starting the game clock on the snap if the foul is by the team ahead in the score. The game clock will start on the ready-for-play signal after Team A throws an illegal forward or backward pass to conserve time (Rule 3-3-2-e-14). (A.R. 3-4-3:I-IV)
ARTICLE 4. a. With the game clock running and less than one minute remaining in either half, if a player of either team commits a foul that causes the clock to stop, the officials may subtract 10 seconds from the game clock at the option of the offended team. The fouls that fall into this category include but are not limited to:
1. Any foul that prevents the snap (e.g. false start, encroachment, defensive offside by contact in the neutral zone, etc.);
2. Intentional grounding to stop the clock;
3. Incomplete illegal forward pass;
4. Backward pass thrown out of bounds to stop the clock;
5. Any other foul committed with the intent of stopping the clock.
The offended team may accept the yardage penalty and decline the 10-second subtraction. If the yardage penalty is declined, the 10-second subtraction is declined by rule.
b. The 10-second rule does not apply if the game clock is not running when the foul occurs or if the foul does not cause the game clock to stop (e.g. illegal formation).
c. After the penalty is administered, if there is a 10-second subtraction, the game clock starts on the referee's signal. If there is no 10-second subtraction, the game clock starts on the snap.
d. If the fouling team has a timeout remaining they may avoid the 10-second subtraction by using a timeout. In this case the game clock starts on the snap after the timeout.
ARTICLE 1. Any number of legal substitutes for either team may enter the game between periods, after a score or try, or during the interval between downs only for the purpose of replacing a player(s) or filling a player vacancy(ies).
ARTICLE 2. A legal substitute may replace a player or fill a player vacancy provided none of the following restrictions is violated:
a. No incoming substitute shall enter the field of play or end zone while the ball is in play.
b. No player, in excess of 11, shall leave the field of play or an end zone while the ball is in play (A.R. 3-5-2:I)
2. A departing player must immediately leave the field of play, including the end zones. A departing player who leaves the huddle or his position within three seconds, after a substitute becomes a player, is considered to have left immediately.
d. Substitutes who become players must remain in the game for one play and replaced players must remain out of the game for one play except during the interval between periods, after a score, or when a timeout has been charged to a team or to the referee with the exception of a live ball out of bounds or an incomplete forward pass (A.R. 3-5-2:III)
e. While in the process of substitution or simulated substitution, Team A is prohibited from rushing quickly to the line of scrimmage with the obvious attempt of creating a defensive disadvantage. If the ball is ready for play, the game officials will not permit the ball to be snapped until Team B has placed substitutes in position and replaced players have left the field of play. Team B must react promptly with its substitutes.
ARTICLE 3. a. Team A may not break the huddle with more than 11 players nor keep more than 11 players in the huddle or in a formation for more than three seconds. Officials shall stop the action whether or not the ball has been snapped.
b. Team B is allowed to briefly retain more than 11 players on the field to anticipate the offensive formation, but it may not have more than 11 players in its formation if the snap is imminent. Whether the snap is imminent or has just occurred, the officials shall stop the action.
c. If the officials do not detect the excessive number of players until during the down or after the down is over, the infraction is treated as a live-ball foul.
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Editor: Jim Briggs, BAFA/BAFRA Rules Committee