Ask A Rules Question

Todd Abraham

Todd Abraham

C. Cliff McCrath

C. Cliff McCrath

If you have a question about or need an interpretation of  the NCAA Soccer Rules, you’ve come to the right place. Two NISOA Hall of Famers, long time NCAA Soccer Secretary-Rules Editor, C. Cliff McCrath, Corey Rockwell (current NISOA Senior Director of Education) and NISOA National Rules Interpreter Todd Abraham are active contributors here. Please follow the following guidelines before posting your question:

  • Read the current NCAA Soccer Rules book (available on the Forms page of our site).
  • Do not post questions regarding issues of referee judgement.
  • Do not post specific game details ( i.e. home team, match date, etc.) with your question, if your question happens to be about something you saw during an intercollegiate soccer game.
All questions are subject to editorial review. This is offered as a service to NISOA membership for educational purposes, with the expressed understanding that only the NCAA Soccer Secretary-Rules Editor (Ken Andres) can provide an official rule interpretation.

478 Responses to “Ask A Rules Question”

  1. Red #9, a substitute located off the field of play, throws an object that strikes the head of Blue #3, a player from the opposing team located on the field of play. Red #9, being a team representative, is ejected for fighting ( What is the restart according to the NCAA Soccer Rules?

    The key is, this is a substitute committing the offense.

    If the two are considered “opponents”, then surely 12.1.3 takes precedence and the restart is a direct free-kick or penalty kick.

    However, if a substitute and a player from the opposing team are not by definition “opponents” then 12.2.8 would apply and the restart would be an indirect free-kick.

    If 12.2.8 applies, is the restart from the point of contact, or the position of the ball when play was stopped?

    The larger issue is: IFAB clearly defines the offenses that can be committed by certain individuals, whereas the NCAA Soccer Rules do not. In fact, substitutes are not even specifically mentioned as individuals who can commit a cautionable or ejectable offense in rule 12. As they are participants listed on the game roster, they can be cautioned, but only if one considers them “team representatives” can they be ejected.

    • The restart is an indirect free kick from the place the ball was when the play was stopped. As you have reasoned, 12.2.8 applies. The game is stopped for misconduct (in this case fighting, which requires Red #9 be ejected, the substitute, coach and scorekeeper be notified that the ejection is for fighting and a report is completed on-line indicating Red #9 was ejected for fighting). The restart after the game is stopped to deal with misconduct is an indirect free kick from the spot the ball is at the time, if the ball was in play.

      If the ball was not in play, the restart is whatever restart was going to be when the ball went out of play before the misconduct.

  2. Got this one from a coach I ran into recently…’Can a player wear an Apple Watch in a game?”

    4.2.6 states players can wear a device for the purpose of monitoring/accumulating data, during the game.
    AR 4.3.a May a player wear [types of jewelry], watches, etc? No.

    So should this be wearable technology that is under the uniform? Or is the Apple Watch and like devices that accumulate data allowable?

    • No – all monitoring devices must be worn under their garments and can not be dangerous to the play nor opponents. An Apple watch is not allowed under 4.2.6

  3. Regarding Substitutions
    A player(s) is substituted for a caution, equipment or injury. If the opposing team wants to substitute an equal number, must the opposing player(s) be checked in prior to the stoppage?

    • No the player does not have to be checked in prior to the stoppage, but must be ready to enter in a timely manner

  4. I am the clinician for TISOA (Pittsburgh) and recently had an official ask me a question about a coach being ejected. We have several Division 3 schools in our area where the same person coaches the women and men. The question is: if a coach is ejected in the first match of a women’s / men’s double header, are the eligible to coach in the 2nd match of the day?

  5. twice last season at away games a powered amplifier was used to cheer on the home team by spectators in the stands and on the sidelines at CALPAC conference games. I was told by both the home team schools that powered amplifiers were legal to use as there had been a rules change. I don’t know if that is true or that they just did not won’t to enforce the rules. I was unable to find that rule change can you help me ?

    • In the 2019 / 2020 NCAA Rules book identified a change to Rule and .2 which now permits bands, musical instruments and artificial noisemakers at anytime, however, amplified music is still only allowed during the pregame, period intervals and when the clock is stopped and the ball is not in play. The exact question you ask is addressed in A.R. 5.6.9.a. The amplifiers you indicated are limited to those specific instances.

      • Thank you Mr. Abraham -,they agreed that music from an amplified device could not be played during the game but wanted to see were it did not allow spectators to use a hand held power megaphone to cheer their team.Is there any specific rule that states the use of a powered hand held megaphone from being used by a spectator at any time during the game.i can’t find that specific of a rule.Thank You for your time.

  6. PK table on page 82 says that illegal feinting by kicker results in an IFK, and warn/caution kicker as appropriate. Does “illegal feinting” include stopping? If so, this seems to conflict with Rule 14.3.3, which says that “On a penalty kick, for any infringement by the player taking the kick committed before the ball is in play, the player shall be cautioned or ejected as appropriate, and the kick taken.” When would this offense simply require a warning, and if the kick is not taken, is the restart a retake or an IFK for the defending team?

    • Michael; Rule 14.2.4The player taking the penalty kick is permitted to use a stutter step or a hesitation move provided there is no stopping and there is continuous movement toward the ball.

      Key word is “stop” Stutter step is allowed but progression to ball must be continuous. IFK for defending team.

      • Thanks, Cliff! However, when would illegal feinting result in just a warning (PK table on page 82) vice a caution/ejection (Rule 14.3.3)? And, Rule 14.3.3 says that the kick is “taken” if the infringement occurs before the ball is in play and after the card is shown. Since “stopping” occurs before the ball is in play, does this mean it’s NOT an IFK for the other team, but still a PK?

        • Michael: Your question is a good one and highlights the fact that a specific A.R. AND entry in the chart should definitely include a specific penalty for the “stop’; however, the 2020-21 book is already published which means the change will not appear until 2022-23. Meanwhile, any vagaries not ‘covered’ in the printed rules are to be interpreted by the SRE (currently Ken Andres) are subject to his/her interpretation. His judgement: “It is an infraction the restart for which is IFK for the defending team!”
          Hope this helps.

  7. In regards to video review:

    Can it only be used to asses the issuing of a red card in regards to

    For example violent behavior is missed on the field during the run of play, in the pentalty area by the defending team. At the next stoppage video review is used to deterimine that violent behavior occured. The correct restart would be the current stoppage (goal kick, throw in, etc.) and not a penalty kick?

    • Hi Cory,
      That is correct – video review may only be used in the situation you described to deal with the misconduct, not the foul itself. The restart must be based on the current stoppage – if the ball was out of play, then the restart is based on why it is out of play (GK, foul, etc.). If the ball was in play – for example, a player is bleeding, but no one on the referee crew saw the incident – then the restart is a dropped ball even if video review reveals a foul.

  8. At the taking of a defensive free kick in the penalty area, the kicker kicks the ball and it strikes the referee. The ball rebounds back to the kicker, who plays it again to prevent an opponent from gaining possession. Would you call double-touch violation, or restart with a drop ball because possession would have changed?

    • I appreciate preparing for all eventualities, but given the problem this would present, I respectfully suggest that you don’t put yourself in that position. Respectfully, I would expect intercollegiate referees to have the field awareness and physical capability to not be caught in this situation on a dead ball restart.

  9. Todd, apparently we think alike. I suggested something less diplomatic when asked the question. After further reading, 12.3.3 appears to cover the situation. Regards, Jim