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

Recommended Numbering

ARTICLE 1. It is strongly recommended that offensive players be numbered according to the following diagram that shows one of many offensive formations:




Players’ Numbering

ARTICLE 2. a. All players shall be numbered 0 through 99. Any number preceded by the digit zero such as “07” or “00” is illegal.

  1. No two players of the same team shall participate in the same down wearing identical numbers.
  2. Markings in the vicinity of the numbers are not

PENALTY [a-c]—Live-ball foul. Five yards from the previous spot [S23].

  1. When a player enters the game after changing their jersey number, the player must report to the The officiating crew informs the opposing head coach and the referee announces the change. A player who enters the game after changing their number and does not report commits a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct. [S27]. (A.R. 1-4-2-I)

PENALTY [d]—Live-ball foul. 15 yards from the previous spot [S27].

Flagrant offenders shall be ejected [S47].

Mandatory Equipment

ARTICLE 3. All players must wear the following mandatory equipment:

  2. Hip
  4. Knee
  7. Shoulder
  9. Thigh

Specifications: Mandatory Equipment

ARTICLE 4. a. Helmets. 1. The helmet must be fitted with a facemask and a secured four- or six-point chin strap, all points of which must be secured whenever the ball is in play.

  1. Helmets for all players of a team must be of the same color and
  2. Helmets must carry a warning label regarding the risk of injury and a manufacturer’s or reconditioner’s certification indicating satisfaction of National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) test standards. Reconditioned helmets shall show recertification to indicate satisfaction with the NOCSAE test


  1. Hip Hip pads must include a tailbone protector.
  2. See Rule 1-4-5
  3. Knee Knee pads must be covered by pants. Furthermore, the pants and knee pads must cover the knees. No pads or protective equipment may be worn outside the pants. (See Appendix E.)
  4. The mouthpiece must be an intra-oral device of any readily visible color. It must not be white or transparent. It must be made with FDA-approved base materials (FDCS) and cover all upper teeth. It is recommended that the mouthpiece be properly fitted.
  5. Players of a team must wear pants of the same color and design.
  6. Shoulder There are no specifications for shoulder pads. (See Appendix E)
  7. Players of a team must wear socks or leg coverings that are identical in color and design (Exceptions: Unaltered knee braces, tape or a bandage to protect or prevent an injury, and barefoot kickers).
  8. Thigh There are no specifications for thigh guards. (See Appendix E)

Jersey Design, Color and Numerals

ARTICLE 5. a. Design.

  1. The jersey must have sleeves that completely cover the shoulder pads. It must not be altered or designed to tear. The jersey must be full- length and tucked into the pants or made even with the waistline. No other undergarment (e.g., T-shirt) shall extend below the waistline at the torso. It must cover all pads worn at or above the waist. A second jersey meeting all requirements of Rule 1-4-5 worn concurrently is allowed. Vests and/or altered jerseys with zippers, Velcro, clasps or other fasteners are not allowed.
  2. Other than the player’s number, the jersey may only contain: Player’s name;

School name;

Mascot name;

NCAA logo;

Sleeve stripes;

Logo for school, conference, mascot, postseason-game, memorial, the military;

Graduate or academic recognition as part of an institutional or conference logo;

The letter “C” to identify a team captain; American flag;

State flag.

  1. Any item in paragraph 2 must not exceed 16 square inches in area (i.e., rectangle, square, parallelogram), including any additional material (e.g., patch).
  2. A border around the collar and cuffs not more than 1 inch wide is permissible, as is a maximum 4-inch stripe along the side seam (insert from the underarm to pants top).
  3. Jerseys may not be taped or tied in any



Note: The uniform diagram in Appendix E may assist in the understanding of these rules.

  1. Color.
  1. Players of opposing teams shall wear jerseys of contrasting colors. Players on the same team shall wear jerseys of the same color and
  2. The visiting team shall wear white jerseys; however, the home team may wear white jerseys if the teams have agreed in writing before the
  3. If the home team wears colored jerseys, the visiting team may also wear colored jerseys, if and only if the following conditions have been satisfied
    1. The home team has agreed in writing prior to the game; and
    2. The conference of the home team certifies that the jersey of the visiting team is of a contrasting color.
  4. If on the kickoff at the start of each half, the visiting team wears a colored jersey in violation of the conditions specified in paragraph 3, it is a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.

PENALTY—Administer as a dead-ball foul. 15 yards at the succeeding spot following the kickoff. If the kickoff is returned for a touchdown, the penalty is assessed either on the try or on the succeeding kickoff, at the option of the home team. [S27] In addition, Officials shall charge a team timeout at the start of each quarter the illegal jerseys are worn, or a foul for delay of the game if all timeouts have been used.

  1. If a colored jersey contains white, it may appear only as any of the items listed in paragraph a-2 above.
  2. Numerals.
  3. The jersey must have clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals measuring at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively. The number must be of a color that itself is clearly in distinct contrast with the color of the jersey, irrespective of any border around the number.
  4. Teams wearing jerseys/numerals that do not conform to this rule will be asked to change into legal jerseys before the game and before the start of the second On the kickoff at the start of each half, if a team wears a jersey in violation of the conditions specified in paragraph 1, it is a foul for unsportsmanlike conduct.

PENALTY—Administer as a dead-ball foul. 15 yards at the succeeding spot following the kickoff. If the kickoff is returned for a touchdown, the penalty is assessed either on the try or on the succeeding kickoff, at the option of the home team. [S27] In addition, Officials shall charge a team timeout at the start of each quarter the illegal jerseys are worn, or a foul for delay of the game if all timeouts have been used. (A. R. 1-4-5-I)

  1. All players of a team shall have the same color and style numbers front and The individual bars must be approximately 1-1/2 inches



wide. Numbers on any part of the uniform shall correspond with the mandatory front and back jersey numbers.

Optional Equipment

ARTICLE 6. The following items are legal:

  1. Towels and Hand Warmers. Solid white towels no smaller than 4” by 12” and no larger than 6” by 12” with no words, symbols, letters, or numbers. Towels may bear the team logo. They may also contain a single manufacturer’s or distributor’s normal label or trademark not to exceed 2-1/4 square inches in area. Towels that are not solid white are not permitted.
  2. Hand warmers worn during inclement weather.
    1. A glove is a fitted covering for a hand having separate sections for each finger and thumb, without any additional material that connects any of the fingers and/or thumb, and that completely covers each finger and thumb. There is no restriction on the color of gloves.
    2. Gloves must have a securely attached label or stamp (“NF/NCAA Specifications”) indicating voluntary compliance with appropriate test specifications on file with either the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) or the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE), unless made of unaltered plain
  3. Eye Eye shields must be clear, not tinted, and made from molded or rigid material. Eyeglasses and goggles also must be clear and not tinted. No medical exceptions are allowed.
  4. 1. Persons or events may be memorialized by an insignia with an area not greater than 2.25 square inches on the uniform or helmet.
  5. Institutional decals are allowed on helmets.
  6. Eye shade. Any shading under a player’s eyes must be solid black with no words, numbers, logos or other symbols.
  7. Game information. Any player may have written game information on the wrist, arm or belt.

Illegal Equipment

ARTICLE 7. Illegal equipment includes the following (See Appendix E for additional details):

  1. Equipment worn by a player that could endanger other
  2. Tape or any bandage other than that used to protect an injury, subject to the approval of the umpire.
  3. Hard, abrasive or unyielding equipment that is not completely covered and padded, subject to the approval of the umpire.
  4. Cleats that extend more than ½ inch from the base of the shoe (See Appendix E for full specifications). (Rule 9-2-2-e)
  5. Any equipment that could confuse or deceive an
  6. Any equipment that could provide an unfair advantage to any
  7. Adhesive material, paint, grease or any other slippery substance applied to equipment or a player’s person, clothing or attachment [Exception: Eye shade. (Rule 1-4-6-e)].


  1. Uniform attachments other than towels (Rule 1-4-6-a).
  2. Rib pads, shoulder pad attachments and back protectors that are not totally covered. (A.R. 1-4-7-II)
  3. Visible bandannas worn on the field outside the team area (A.R. 1-4-7-I).
  4. Jerseys that do not conform with Rule 1-4-
  5. Non-standard overbuilt (A.R.1-4-7-IV)

Mandatory and Illegal Equipment Enforcement

ARTICLE 8. a. No player wearing illegal equipment or failing to wear mandatory equipment shall be permitted to play. (Exception: Rule 1-4-5-c)

  1. If an official discovers illegal equipment, or if a player is not wearing mandatory equipment, the player must leave the game for at least one down and is not allowed to return until the equipment is made legal. The player may be allowed to return without missing a down if the team takes a charged team timeout, but in any event the player may not play with illegal equipment or without mandatory equipment.
  2. If equipment becomes illegal through play, the player is not required to leave the game for one down, but the player may not participate until the equipment is made legal. (A.R. 1-4-7-II)

Coaches’ Certification

ARTICLE 9. The head coach or their designated representative shall certify in writing to the umpire before the game that all players:

  1. Have been informed what equipment is mandatory by rule and what constitutes illegal equipment.
  2. Have been provided the equipment mandated by
  3. Have been instructed to wear and how to wear mandatory equipment during the game.
  4. Have been instructed to notify the coaching staff when equipment becomes illegal through play during the game.

Prohibited Signal Devices

ARTICLE 10. Players may not be equipped with any electronic, mechanical or other signal devices for the purpose of communicating with any source (Exceptions: 1. A medically prescribed hearing aid of the sound-amplifier type for hearing-impaired players. 2. A device for transmission or reception of data specifically and only for purposes of health and safety.)

PENALTY—Administer as a dead-ball foul. 15 yards at the succeeding spot.

Player is ejected [S7, S27 and S47].

Prohibited Field Equipment

ARTICLE 11. Jurisdiction regarding the presence and location of communication equipment (cameras, sound devices, etc.) within the playing enclosure resides with game management personnel.

  1. Television replay or monitor equipment is prohibited at the sidelines, press box or other locations within the playing enclosure for coaching purposes during the game. Motion pictures, any type of film, facsimile machines, videotapes, photographs, writing-transmission machines and computers may not be used by coaches or for coaching purposes any time during the



game or between periods. Computers, tablets, etc. are not allowed in the coaching booth.

[Exceptions: 1) Monitors may be used only to view the live telecast or webcast. The home team is responsible for assuring identical television capability in the coaches’ booths of both teams. This capability may not include replay equipment or recorders. 2) A monitor is permitted on the sideline only to assist team medical staffs in the diagnosis and treatment of student-athletes.]

  1. Only voice communication between the press box and team area is Where press-box space is not adequate, only voice communication may originate from any area in the stands between the 20-yard lines extended to the top of the stadium. No other communication for coaching purposes is permitted anywhere else.
  2. Media communication equipment, including cameras, sound devices, computers and microphones, is prohibited on or above the field, or in or above the team area (Rule 2-31-1).
  1. Camera equipment attached to a goal support behind the uprights and
  2. Camera(s) embedded in any
  3. A camera, with no audio component, may be attached to the cap of any official with prior approval of the conference and the participating
  4. A camera, with no audio component, may be attached to cables that extend over the team area and field of play, including the end zones.
  5. An institutional videographer may be in the team area as one of that institution’s 50 credentialed individuals. This video may not be used during any live broadcast or digital stream of the game.
  1. Microphones attached to coaches during the game for media transmission are prohibited. (Exception: A microphone may be attached to the head coach for institutional use only after the conclusion of the live broadcast.)
  2. Team personnel may not be interviewed from the start of the first period until the referee declares the game ended (Exception: Only coaches may be interviewed between the conclusion of the second period and the beginning of the third period).
  3. No one in the team area or coaching box may use any artificial sound amplification to communicate with players on the field.
  4. Any attempt to record, either through audio or video means, any signals given by an opposing player, coach or other team personnel is prohibited.

Coaches’ Phones, Headsets and Communication Devices

ARTICLE 12. Coaches’ phones, headsets and communication devices are not subject to playing rules penalties before or during the game.

  1. A conference may develop a policy to provide guidance in handling situations dealing with failure of coaches’ headsets.
  2. For Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football, within game management responsibility, each team may use a maximum of 23 headsets with guidelines as follows:



  1. Fifteen (15) of the headsets may be used by countable coaches and graduate assistants for coaching purposes.
  2. Three (3) “listen only” headsets may be used in the Coaches Booth by individuals who are full time undergraduate students or are within 10 years of exhaustion of eligibility or, if earlier, college graduation. Only countable coaches, graduate assistants and the three individuals using the “listen only” devices may be in the coaches’ booth. (Exception: One communication technician.)
  3. Four (4) of the headsets may only be used by Squad Members or up to four designated full-time undergraduate students.
  4. The one remaining headset may be used on the field for non-coaching
  5. Headsets that are used for medical, game operations, security, staffs are exempt from these limitations, provided the communication is separate from coaching communication devices.
  6. One communication technician in the team area and one communication technician in the coaches’ booth may be on the coaching headsets to monitor and handle any technical issues with the headsets outside of the allowable 23 devices.
  7. For all other NCAA football programs, each team may use a maximum of 23 headsets with category limits managed at each conference’s direction.

Referee Communication


ARTICLE 13. a. A microphone is mandatory for the referee to be used for all game announcements. It is strongly recommended that it be a lapel-type microphone. The microphone must be controlled by the referee. It may not be open at other times. Microphones on other officials are prohibited.

observer is permitted.

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