Umpire Has Jurisdiction of Each Section.


Penalty, 5 yards.

(a) In a scrimmage no part of any player shall be ahead of the ball when it is put in play. [Exception under Rule 6 (c).]

NOTE - Ahead of the ball means between the opponents' goal and a line parallel to the goal line and passing through the point of the ball nearest to the goal line of the side not in possession.

No player shall be out of bounds at the time when the ball is put in play, save as provided for elsewhere in these rules. (See Rule 25, section c.)

Player Put Off-Side

(b) A player is put off-side if the ball in play has last been touched by one of his own side behind him. No player, when offside, shall touch the ball except on a fumble or a muff, nor shall he interrupt or obstruct an opponent with his hands or arms until again on-side. [This shall not be so interpreted as to prevent a man who is running down the field under a kick from using his hands or arms to push opponents out of the way in order to get at the ball or the man catching it.] No player can, however, be called off-side behind his own goal line.

Kicked Ball Strikes Player Off-Side

NOTE - If a player is ahead of the ball when it is kicked by another of his side, he is off-side, and he shall not allow the ball to touch him until again on-side. Should he break this rule, the ball goes to opponents on the spot, except as specified in (d) of this rule.

Player Off-Side Put On-Side

(c) A player being off-side is put on-side when the ball has touched an opponent, or when one of his own side has run in front of him, either with the ball, or having been the last player to touch it when behind him.

The man who, standing back of his own line of scrimmage receives the ball from one of his own side and then kicks it beyond the line of scrimmage, may not put other men on-side by running ahead of them, nor may he himself get the ball until after it has touched a player of the opposing side.

EXPLANATION - The Rules Committee desires to state that the reason for this prohibition is in order that there may be no excuse whatever for running into the fullback after he has kicked the ball. The above rule renders it impossible for him either to put men on-side or himself get the ball, and this takes away all excuse for roughness of this nature, and the Committee expects officials to severely punish any such unnecessary roughness.

Suggestion. - This rule does not prohibit any one from securing a ball after he has kicked it, unless he has received it and made a scrimmage kick. If he returned a punt from an opponent's kick, a kick-off of an opponent, or a place-kick of an opponent, the kicker would be on-side and could go and secure the ball before an opponent touched it, and not violate this rule.

Ball Inside 10-yard Line Touched by a Player Who Is


(d) If the ball, when not in possession of either side, is touched when inside the opponents' 10-yard line by a player who is off-side, it is a foul, and the penalty is that it shall go as a touchback to the defenders of that goal.