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


ARTICLE 1. Possession refers to custody of (a) a live ball as described later in this article and (b) a dead ball to be snapped or free-kicked. It may refer either to player possession or team possession.

  1. Player

The ball is in player possession when a player has the ball firmly in their grasp by holding or controlling it with hand(s) or arm(s) while contacting the ground inbounds.

  1. Team

The ball is in team possession:

  1. When one of its players has player possession, including when they are attempting a punt, drop kick or place kick; or
  2. While a forward pass thrown by a player of that team is in flight; or
  3. During a loose ball if a player of that team last had player possession; or
  4. When the team is next to snap or free kick the
  1. A team is in legal possession if it has team possession when its players are eligible to catch or recover the ball.

Belongs To

ARTICLE 2. “Belongs to,’’ as contrasted with “in possession,’’ denotes custody of a dead ball. Such custody may be temporary, because the ball must next be put in play in accordance with rules governing the existing situation.

Catch, Interception, Recovery

ARTICLE 3. a. To catch a ball means that a player:

  1. Secures firm control with the hand(s) or arm(s) of a live ball in flight before the ball touches the ground, and
  2. Touches the ground in bounds with any part of the body, and then
  3. Maintains control of the ball long enough to enable that player to perform an act common to the game, i.e., long enough to pitch or hand the ball, advance it, avoid or ward off an opponent, etc., and
  4. Satisfies paragraphs b, c, and d
  1. If a player goes to the ground in the act of catching a pass (with or without contact by an opponent) the player must maintain complete and continuous control of the ball throughout the process of contacting the ground, whether in the field of play or in the end zone. This is also required for a player attempting to make a catch at the sideline and going to the ground out of bounds. If the player loses control of the ball which then touches the ground before they regain control, it is not a catch. If the player regains control inbounds prior to the ball touching the ground it is a catch.
  2. If the player loses control of the ball while simultaneously touching the ground with any part of their body, or if there is doubt that the acts were simultaneous, it is not a catch. If a player has control of the ball, a slight movement of the ball, even if it touches the ground, will not be considered



loss of possession; the player must lose control of the ball in order for there to be a loss of possession.

  1. If the ball touches the ground after the player secures control and continues to maintain control, and the elements above are satisfied, it is a catch.
  2. An interception is a catch of an opponent’s pass or
  3. A catch by any kneeling or prone inbounds player is a completion or interception (Rules 7-3-6 and 7).
  4. A player recovers a ball if they fulfill the criteria in paragraphs a, b, c, and d for catching a ball that is still alive after hitting the ground.
  5. When in question, the catch, recovery or interception is not

Simultaneous Catch or Recovery

ARTICLE 4. A simultaneous catch or recovery is a catch or recovery in which there is joint possession of a live ball by opposing players inbounds (A.R. 7-3- 6-I-II).

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