Rule 10 – Penalty Enforcement

SECTION 1. General

ARTICLE 1. Flagrant Fouls

A flagrant foul is a foul which endangers a player to injury and requires disqualification. [S47]
A disqualified player or coach has to leave the team area and stay out of view of the field.

ARTICLE 2. Unfair Tactics

If a team refuses to play or repeatedly commits fouls that can be penalized only by halving the distance or commit an obviously unfair act not specifically covered by the rules, the referee may take any action he considers equitable, including assessing a penalty, disqualify a player or coach, awarding a score, or suspending or forfeiting the game.

SECTION 2. Penalties Completed

ARTICLE 1. How and When Completed

A penalty is completed when it is accepted, declined or canceled. Any penalty may be declined by a team captain or coach, but a disqualified player must leave the game.
When a foul is committed, the penalty shall be completed before the ball is declared ready for play.
Only team captains and coaches may ask the referee questions about rule clarification.

ARTICLE 2. Simultaneous With Snap

A foul that occurs simultaneously with a snap is considered as occurring during that down, the spot of foul is the scrimmage line.

ARTICLE 3. Live Ball Fouls by the Same Team

When 2 or more live ball fouls by the same team are reported to the referee, the referee shall explain the alternative penalties to the field captain of the offended team, who then may elect only one of these penalties.

ARTICLE 4. Offsetting Fouls

If live ball fouls by both teams are reported to the referee, the fouls offset and the down is replayed.
1. When there is a change of team possession during a down, and the team last gaining possession had not fouled before last gaining possession, it may decline offsetting fouls and thereby retain possession after completion of the penalty for its foul.
2. When a live ball foul is administered as a dead ball foul, it does not offset and is enforced in order of occurrence. AR 10-2-4-I to IV

ARTICLE 5. Dead ball Fouls

Penalties for dead ball fouls are administered separately and in order of occurrence.

ARTICLE 6. Interval Fouls

Penalties for fouls that occur between the periods are enforced from the spot of the next series.

SECTION 3. Enforcement Procedures

ARTICLE 1. Basic Spot

The basic spot is the scrimmage line.
1. For offense fouls behind the scrimmage line, the basic spot is the spot of the foul.
2. For defense fouls when the dead ball spot is beyond the scrimmage line, the basic spot is the dead ball spot.
3. For fouls after a change of possession the basic spot will be the dead ball spot. Only if the foul is on the last
related run from the team ending with possession and its behind the dead ball spot, the basic spot is the spot of foul.
AR 10-3-1-O-I to VI, AR 10-3-1-D-I to VIII, AR 10-3-1-C-I to VI

ARTICLE 2. Procedures

The enforcement spot for live ball fouls is the previous scrimmage line if not otherwise mentioned in the penalty.
The enforcement spot for dead ball fouls is the next scrimmage line.
Dead ball fouls by both teams offset and the down counts.
Fouls during or after a touchdown or try:
1. Fouls with 10 yard penalty by the no scoring team during a touchdown, enforced on the try. Other fouls are declined by rule.
2. Fouls after a touchdown and before the ball is ready for play on the try, enforced on the try.
3. Fouls with 10 yard penalty by the no scoring team during a try, enforced on the next snap. Other fouls are declined by rule.
4. Fouls after a try, enforced on the next snap.
AR 10-3-2-I to VIII

ARTICLE 3. Half-Distance Enforcement

No distance penalty, including tries, shall exceed half the distance from the enforcement spot to the offending team’s goal line.  AR 10-3-3-I to III

Philosophy of Enforcement

A quick guideline helping to understand the rules. The exact enforcement has be done by rule.

Fouls prior to the snap keep the ball dead and are enforced from the dead ball spot (scrimmage line).
Illegal snap, delay of game, encroachment, false start, disconcerting signal, illegal blitzer signal.

Technical fouls are enforced from the scrimmage line.
Delay of pass, illegal touch, illegal motion, illegal run play, offside, illegal blitz, side line interference, illegal substitution.

Fouls which can be made only by the runner are spot fouls and include loss of down.
Illegal (forward and backward) pass, jumping, diving, flag guarding.

An illegal kick by the runner makes the ball dead and the penalty is enforced as dead ball foul.

Fouls during the play will be enforced from the basic spot.
Illegal hand-off, blocking, illegal flag pull, intentionally kicking a pass, pass interference, illegal contact, targeting, game interference, illegal participation.
The basic spot will be the worst of the scrimmage line and the spot of the foul for offense fouls and the worst of the scrimmage line and the dead ball spot for defense fouls.

Unsportsmanlike acts will be enforced as dead ball foul.

Live ball fouls by both teams during the play will offset and the down will be replayed.
Exception: The team last in possession can decline offsetting penalties and keep the ball if it has not fouled before getting the ball. The foul of the team last in possession will be enforced. (“clean hands principle”)
Fouls after a change of possession will be enforced from the dead ball spot. The worst spot principle between spot of foul and dead ball spot will be used only on the last run.