Course Content
Rule – 4 Ball in Play, Dead Ball, Out of Bounds
Rule 11 – The Officials: Jurisdiction and Duties
Appendix A Game-Official Guidelines for Serious On-Field Player Injuries
Appendix B Lightning Policy
Appendix C Concussions
Appendix D Field Diagrams
Appendix E Equipment: Additional Details
Appendix F – Official Football Signals
Appendix G Summary of Penalties
Appendix H Accommodations for Student-Athletes with Disabilities
Part II: Interpretations
Table of Contents for Approved Rulings
List of New and Modified Approved Rulings
NCAA Rules
About Lesson

Dead Ball Becomes Alive

ARTICLE 1. After a dead ball is ready for play, it becomes a live ball when it is legally snapped or legally free-kicked. A ball snapped or free-kicked before it is ready for play remains dead (A.R. 2-16-4-I, A.R. 4-1-4-I and II, A.R. 7-1-3-IV, and A.R. 7-1-5-I and II).

Live Ball Becomes Dead

ARTICLE 2. a. A live ball becomes a dead ball as provided in the rules or when an official sounds their whistle (even though inadvertently) or otherwise signals the ball dead (A.R. 4-2-1-II and A.R. 4-2-4-I).

  1. If an official sounds their whistle inadvertently or otherwise signals the ball dead during a down (Rules 4-1-3-k, m and n) (A. R. 4-1-2-I-V):
    1. When the ball is in player possession, the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where declared dead or repeat the
    2. When the ball is loose from a fumble, backward pass or illegal pass, the team in possession may elect to put the ball in play where possession was lost or repeat the down (Exception: Rule 12-3-3-d).
    3. During a legal forward pass or a free or scrimmage kick, then the ball is returned to the previous spot and the down repeated (Exception: Rule 12-3-3-d).
    4. After Team B gains possession on the try or during an extra period, then the try is over or the extra-period possession series is
  2. If a foul or violation occurs during any of the above downs, the penalty or violation privilege shall be administered as in any other play situation if not in conflict with other rules (A.R. 4-1-2-I and II).

Ball Declared Dead

ARTICLE 3. A live ball becomes dead and an official shall sound their whistle or declare it dead:

  1. When it goes out of bounds other than a kick that scores a field goal after touching the uprights or crossbar; when a ball carrier is out of bounds; or when a ball carrier is so held that their forward progress is stopped. When in question, the ball is dead (A.R. 4-2-1-II).
  2. When any part of the ball carrier’s body, except the hand or foot, touches the ground or when the ball carrier is tackled or otherwise falls and loses possession of the ball as they contact the ground with any part of their




body, except the hand or foot [Exception: The ball remains alive when an offensive player has simulated a kick or at the snap is in position to kick the ball held for a place kick by a teammate. The ball may be kicked, passed or advanced by rule] (A.R. 4-1-3-I).

  1. When a touchdown, touchback, safety, field goal or successful try occurs; or when a free kick or a scrimmage kick that is untouched by Team B beyond the neutral zone touches the ground in Team B’s end zone (Rules 6-1-7-a, 6-3-9, and A.R. 6-3-9-I).
  2. When, during a try, a dead-ball rule applies (Rule 8-3-2-d-5).
  3. When a player of the kicking team catches or recovers any free kick or a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone.
  4. When a free kick, scrimmage kick or any other loose ball comes to rest and no player attempts to secure it.
  5. When a scrimmage kick or a free kick is caught or recovered by any Team B player after a valid or invalid fair-catch signal by a Team B player; or when an invalid fair-catch signal is made after a catch or recovery by Team B (Rules 2-8-1 through 3).
  6. When there is a return kick or a scrimmage kick is made beyond the neutral zone.
  7. When a forward pass is ruled
  8. When, before a change of team possession on fourth down or a try, a Team A fumble is caught or recovered by a Team A player other than the fumbler (Rules 7-2-2-a and -b and 8-3-2-d-5).
  9. When a live ball not in player possession touches anything inbounds other than a player, a player’s equipment, an official, an official’s equipment or the ground (inadvertent-whistle provisions apply).
  10. When there is a simultaneous catch or recovery of a live
  11. When the ball becomes illegal while in play (inadvertent-whistle provisions apply).
  12. When a live ball comes into possession of an official (inadvertent-whistle provisions apply).
  13. When a ball carrier simulates placing their knee on the
  14. When an airborne pass receiver of either team is held so that they are prevented from immediately returning to the ground (A.R. 7-3-6-III).
  15. When a ball carrier’s helmet comes completely
  16. When a ball carrier obviously begins a feet-first (A.R. 4-1-3-III)

Ball Ready for Play

ARTICLE 4. No player shall put the ball in play before it is ready for play (A.R. 4-1-4-I and II).

PENALTY—Dead-ball foul. Five yards from the succeeding spot [S19].

Play-Clock Count

ARTICLE 5. The ball shall be put in play within 40 or 25 seconds after it is made ready for play (Rule 3-2-4), unless, during that interval, play is suspended. If play is suspended, the play-clock count will start again.

PENALTY—Dead-ball foul for delay of game. Five yards from the succeeding spot [S21].


RulE 4 / ball in Play, dEad ball, out oF bounds                                      FR-63

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