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Question for the officials


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I am a coach in Texas, so keep this in mind when responding (we play by NCAA rules), but I figured that the refs on this sight would be able to help me understand a play we saw last Friday.

 

Team A punted the ball to Team B. Team B had Player 1 set to return. Player 1 signaled for a fair catch. The ball, however, hit the shoulder of a player on Team A. Player 2, who also plays for Team B, caught the deflection in air and returned the ball for a gain of 10+ yards. No fair catch interference was called on the play.

 

Team B was penalized for an illegal return of a punt. Was this the correct call?

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I am a coach in Texas, so keep this in mind when responding (we play by NCAA rules), but I figured that the refs on this sight would be able to help me understand a play we saw last Friday.

 

Team A punted the ball to Team B. Team B had Player 1 set to return. Player 1 signaled for a fair catch. The ball, however, hit the shoulder of a player on Team A. Player 2, who also plays for Team B, caught the deflection in air and returned the ball for a gain of 10+ yards. No fair catch interference was called on the play.

 

Team B was penalized for an illegal return of a punt. Was this the correct call?

 

NCAA Rule 6-3-6...If a player of the kicking team catches or recovers a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone, the ball becomes dead.

 

NCAA Rule 3-4-2 (1)...Illegal Delay of the game (includes) deliberately advancing the ball after it is dead.

 

Dead ball foul, 5 yard penalty from the succeeding spot.

 

You don't see it very often, but it sounds like a correct call.

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Whoops, I misread the scenario to mean that a kicking team member recovered and advanced the punt. (I was watching a film clip of Stanford v. Notre Dame in which this happened).

 

So, it's still delay of game because the ball is dead when any Team B (return team) player signals for a fair catch.

 

NCAA Rule 6-5-2...No Team B player shall carry a caught or recovered ball more than two steps in any direction after a valid or invalid fair catch signal by any Team B player.

 

AND, even though the Team A (kicking team) player touched/muffed the kick in flight, the fair catch provision still applies until the ball touches the ground.

 

NCAA Rule 6-5-1.b...This protection terminates when the kick touches the ground.

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