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Old Tue Oct 23, 2007, 10:23am
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Eligibility Lost by Going Out of Bounds (NCAA)

I found this site last night and stayed up entirely too late reading some of the threads. I'm a registered Track official (NF and USATF). But, when watching other sports, I find myself sometimes watching the officials and their mechanics, as I'm sure many of you do.

That leads me to this post, a situation which I observed while watching an NCAA D-III game a couple weeks ago. It's probably going to be a bit long, but I want to convey the situation from the viewpoint of those in the stands in order to emphasize the importance of proper mechanics, though I have a question about the call as well.

Team A is the home team. 1st and 10, ball on A28. A17 passes the ball downfield near the home team sideline. The ball is wildly under-thrown and A81 "becomes the defender." In a beautiful move, A81 outjumps the DB, stretches his arm over the defender, and smacks the ball to the ground, all without touching him. Team B sideline and stands cries for the OPI, and a couple seconds later the flag comes in. This, of course, sends the Team A stands into a frenzy because they thought they saw a perfectly legal play. I notice the FJ jogging to the R without a hat on his head.

I point out the missing hat to my dad and tell him it will be called "illegal touching." The receiver went out of bounds and was the first to touch the pass. The WH gives a signal, putting both hands behind his head, which absolutely confuses everybody. Isn't "loss of down" usually part of the enforcement, and not shown as the infraction itself? Sure enough, they spotted the ball back at the orig LOS and WH again gives the "loss of down" signal only. The game announcer had know idea what penalty to tell the crowd, so he didn't say anything (which is probably better than saying something wrong). I later looked at the statistical game log, the statisticians marked the play as a 0-yard PI penalty.

When I got home and downloaded the NCAA rulebook, I found Rule 7-3-4. While the rule itself makes no mention of "illegal touching," the penalty specifically says to use signals S16 and S9, which is what I was expecting to see.

First, my question: should the FJ have even thrown the flag? The penalty is essentially the same as if it were an incomplete pass, which was the result of the play anyways. I can understand if the receiver makes the catch, but this seems like more trouble than it's worth.

Second, a lot of confusion could have been avoided if the WH had signaled the proper penalty. In places where microphones are not available to explain the situation, it is doubly important that the proper signals are used.
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Old Tue Oct 23, 2007, 11:52am
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 265
From everything you described, they got the call right but didn't signal it properly. Yes, the FJ does need to throw a flag on this as it is technically a penalty.

As you state, proper signals are very important. Once in a HS game in overtime, the umpire called roughing the snapper on an unsuccessful field goal attempt by the visiting team. It was a good call, but the WH mistakenly signalled roughing the kicker (S38 and S30) instead of just S30. The visiting team went on to score after the penalty enforcement. Everyone in the place knew that no one touched the kicker, so how in the world could there be roughing the kicker. Talk about a ticked off crowd.
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Old Wed Oct 24, 2007, 08:10am
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Location: Bloomington, IL
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A flag if necessary because a foul by B would offset the foul by A.
Mike Sears
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