By:  John Van de Vaarst

The monthly “NISOA Referee Nuts and Bolts” column is written primarily for the college and high school soccer Referee. However, any soccer Referee who wishes to improve personal performance may also find that this series is helpful.

All articles address those BASIC techniques, procedures, practice alternatives, and skills that are sometimes forgotten or overlooked while going through the experiences of soccer refereeing. The short discussions and accompanying practical tips stress important advice for competent performance.  This month’s article will focus on ejections and the difference between intercollegiate and interscholastic soccer.

Rule 12.3 of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rule Book provides detailed information on ejections and how the referee must deal with them.  “An ejections is a formal disciplinary action requiring specific procedures to be followed by the referee…”  Rule 12.8 Article 3of the NFHS Soccer Rules Book provides the details for ejecting a player in a High School game.  While the reasons for ejections are similar, there are differences that can cause problems for the referee if not applied properly.  Referees must review the rules on a regular basis so that if there is an ejection every action is done properly.  This will prevent a protest in the intercollegiate game and a grievance in a high school game.

Rule 12.12 of the NCAA Rule Book provides penalties for ejections.  Any player or bench personnel who is ejected shall not participate in the next regular season game.  This includes post season and carries on to the next season if it was the last game of the year.  Also, if a player, coach or bench personnel is ejected a second time during the season the penalty is a two game suspension.  When a player, coach or bench personnel is ejected or serving a suspension for an ejection in a college game they must leave the playing area and be restricted to the spectator area and they are not permitted to communicate, directly or indirectly, with the team, coaches or bench personnel from the start of the game until completion.

The NCAA Rule Book also stipulates the penalty for fighting.  If a player, coach or bench personnel is involved in a fight they shall be ejected and suspended for two games.  If the individual is involved in a second fight during the season they be suspended for the remainder of the season, including post season.

It is imperative that the referee uses the proper mechanics when ejecting a player, coach or bench personnel.  The first step is to stop the clock by crossing the hands above the head so the timer can clearly see the signal.  The player is then isolated and the red card is held over the referee’s head and the player is advised they are being ejected and the reason.  The referee must make sure the scorer is aware of the reason and the player, coach or bench personnel leaves the bench area in accordance with the rule.  If the player, coach or bench personnel is being ejected for fighting the scorer and coach must be told by the referee that the ejection is for fighting so the proper suspension can be applied.  Failure to do this may result in a player only serving a one game suspension and then playing in the subsequent game.  This second game could be protested because the player was not eligible to play.  Subsequent to any intercollegiate game, for all ejections, the referee must submit an electronic report to the NCAA via Arbiter.  A fight report must also be submitted via Arbiter and the appropriate NISOA Regional Representative must be notified.

While the reasons for ejections in both the NCAA Rule Book and NFHS Rule Book are similar, there are some differences that the referee must be aware of and deal with properly.  A mistake can lead to a protest or grievance.  Again, the referee must be a student of the rules to administer them properly in a game.

In high school games if a player is ejected they must be removed and kept under the supervision of a coach, bench personnel or school administrator.  Players are not to be sent away from the playing area without this supervision.  If a coach or bench personnel is ejected they are to leave the playing area and have no further contact with the team until the end of the game.  Also, there are no specific requirements in the High School Rule Book for suspensions of ejected individuals.  The rule book strongly recommends that each state association adopt a policy to deal with disqualified individuals.  Referees must attend their state high school interpretation meetings to become familiar with the state association requirements.  Subsequent to the game the referee must submit any and all reports as required by the state association, league and local chapter.

In summary, ejections, like any other action by the referee, must be applied properly.  A misapplication of the rules can lead to protests and future issues for the referee crew involved.