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

SECTION 1. General Provisions


The Game
ARTICLE 1. a. The game shall be played between two teams of not more than 11 players each, on a rectangular field and with an inflated ball having the shape of a prolate spheroid.

  1. A team legally may play with fewer than 11 players, but a foul for an illegal formation occurs if the following requirements are not met:
    1. When the ball is free-kicked, at least four Team A players are on each side of the kicker (Rule 6-1-2-c-3).
    2. At the snap, at least five players wearing jerseys numbered 50 through 79 are on the offensive scrimmage line and no more than four players are in the backfield (Rules 2-21-2, 2-27-4 and 7-1-4-a) (Exception: Rule 7-1-4-a-5) (A.R. 7-1-4-IV-VI).

Goal Lines

ARTICLE 2. Goal lines, one for each team, shall be established at opposite ends of the field of play, and each team shall be allowed opportunities to advance the ball across the other team’s goal line by running, passing or kicking it.

Winning Team and Final Score

ARTICLE 3. a. The teams shall be awarded points for scoring according to rule and, unless the game is forfeited, the team having the larger score at the end of the game shall be the winning team.

  1. When the referee declares that the game is ended, the score is final.

Game Officials

ARTICLE 4. The game shall be played under the supervision of the game officials.

Team Captains

ARTICLE 5. Each team shall designate to the referee not more than four players as its field captain(s). One player at a time shall speak for their team in all dealings with the officials.

Persons Subject to the Rules

ARTICLE 6. a. All persons subject to the rules are governed by the decisions of the officials.





  1. Those persons subject to the rules are: Everyone in the team area, players, substitutes, replaced players, coaches, athletics trainers, cheerleaders, band members, mascots, public-address announcers, audio/video/lighting system operators, and other persons affiliated with the teams or institutions.

Member Institutions Subject to the Rules

ARTICLE 7. a. NCAA member institutions and affiliated officiating organizations shall conduct all contests under the official football-playing rules of the Association.

  1. NCAA-affiliated officiating organizations shall use the current Football Officials Manual published under the jurisdiction of the College Football Officiating, LLC (CFO).
  2. NCAA member institutions and affiliated officiating organizations not complying with NCAA football-playing rules are subject to sanctions (See appropriate divisional NCAA Manual).
Join the conversation