I thought this week we would look at blocking below the waist and compare it to the NCAA rule since many people that complain about a high school call compare it to what they see on TV over the weekend. The two versions have some major differences and I will elaborate some more on philosophy on this in the high school game after everyone has a change to read this and talk about it a bit, but the bottom line is the NCAA allows a lot more blocking below the waist than the high schools rules do, so if you see something flagged on Friday night that's legal on Saturday it shouldn't shock you.
Blocking below the waist is making initial contact below the waist from the front or side against an opponent other than a runner. Contact with an opponent's hand(s) below the waist that continues into the body below the waist is considered blocking below the waist. blocking below the waist applies only when the opponent has one or both feet on the ground.
A player shall not block an opponent below the waist except:
a. In the free blocking zone with the contact meets the requirements of 2-17.
b. To tackle a runner or player pretending to be a runner.
9-3-2 penalties: Blocking Below the waist - (S40) - 15 yards
Blocking below the waist is permitted in the free-blocking zone when the following conditions are met:
a. All players involved in the blocking are on the line of scrimmage and in the zone at the snap.
b. The contact is in the zone.
The free-blocking zone disintegrates and the exception for a player to block below the waist and/or the exception for an offensive lineman to block in the back is not to continue after the ball has left the zone.
ARTICLE 2. a. A block below the waist is a block in which the force of the initial contact is below the waist of an opponent who has one or both feet on the ground. When in question, the contact is below the waist (Rule 9-1-6).
b. A blocker who makes contact above the waist and then slides below the
waist has not blocked below the waist. If the blocker first contacts the opposing player’s hands at the waist or above, it is a legal “above the waist’’ block (Rule 9-1-6).
ARTICLE 6. a. Team A prior to a change of team possession:
Linemen with initial position completely inside the tackle box may legally block below the waist inside the tackle box until the ball leaves the tackle box. All other Team A players are allowed to block below the waist only if the force of the initial contact is directed from the front. “Directed from the front” is defined as within the clock face region between “10 o’clock and 2 o’clock” forward of the area of concentration of the player being blocked.
1. Team A players may not block below the waist when the block occurs five yards or more beyond the neutral zone.
2. Players outside the tackle box at the snap, or any time after the snap, or in motion at the snap may not block below the waist toward the original position of the ball at the snap.
3. Once the ball has left the tackle box, a player may not block below the waist toward his own end line.