Unsportsmanlike Conduct Fouls

Two Unsportsmanlike Conduct fouls by the same player during a game results in ejection and immediate removal from the field area.

All unsportsmanlike conduct fouls carry a 15 yard penalty.

Players, substitutes, coaches, and/or authorized attendants may not display unsportsmanlike conduct or perform any act that interferes with the orderly play of the game. According to the NCAA (NCAA.org) these specifically prohibited acts and conduct include:

1. No player, substitute, coach or other person subject to the rules can use abusive, threatening or obscene language or gestures, or engage in such acts that provoke ill will or are demeaning to an opponent, to game officials or to the image of the game, including but not limited to:

            (a) Pointing the finger(s), hand(s), arm(s) or ball at an opponent, or                   imitating the slashing of the throat.

             (b) Taunting, baiting or ridiculing an opponent verbally.

             (c) Inciting an opponent or spectators in any other way, such as                          simulating the firing of a weapon or placing a hand by the ear to                    request recognition.

             (d) Any delayed, excessive, prolonged or choreographed act by                            which a player (or players) attempts to focus attention upon                          himself (or themselves).

            (e) An unopposed ball carrier obviously altering stride as he                                approaches the opponent’s goal line or diving into the end zone.

            (f) A player removing his helmet after the ball is dead and before he                   is in the team area (Exceptions: Team, media or injury timeouts,                   equipment adjustment, through play, between periods, and                           during a measurement for a first down).

            (g) Punching one’s own chest or crossing one’s arms in front of the                     chest while standing over a prone player.

            (h) Going into the stands to interact with spectators, or bowing at                        the waist after a good play.

             (i) Intentionally removing the helmet while the ball is alive.

             (j) Dead-ball contact fouls such as pushing, shoving, striking, etc.                        that occur clearly after the ball is dead and that are not part of                      the game action.

             (k) After the ball is dead, using forcible contact to push or pull                            another player.

·         The player with the ball after a play or score must immediately give the          ball to an official or leave it at the spot where the play ended. Any other          action, or when an official must go and get the ball delays play of the              game.

Other prohibited acts include:

            1.During the game, coaches, squad members, and authorized                           attendants in the team area may not be on the field of play or                       outside the 25-yard lines to protest an officiating decision or to                       communicate with players or officials without permission from the                   referee.

             2. No ejected person shall be in view of the field of play.

             3. No person or mascot subject to the rules, except players, officials                   and eligible substitutes, can be on the field of play or end zones                   during any period without permission from the referee. If a player                   is injured, attendants may come inbounds to attend him, but they                   must obtain recognition from an official.

            4. No substitute(s) may enter the field of play or end zones for                          purposes other than replacing a player(s), or to fill a player                            vacancy. This includes demonstrations or celebrations after any                      play.

Unfair Tactics: 15 yards:

            1. A player may not hide the ball inside of or underneath his clothing                 or equipment to confuse the opponents.

            2. Another item may not be substituted for the ball.

            3. No tactics surrounding substitutions or any equipment can be used                  to confuse the opponents. 

Two players playing the same position may not wear the same number during a game. Unsportsmanlike conduct charge against Head Coach and players must change jerseys and report the change immediately.

Playing with cleats longer than one-half inch in length:  15 yards, automatic first down, ejection for rest of game and team’s next game: If the ejection occurs during the last game of the season, the player will serve an ejection for the first game of the following season if still eligible.

Unfair Acts: Per the NCAA (NCAA.org) The following are unfair acts:

            a. A team refuses to play within two minutes after ordered to do so                    by the referee.

            b. A team repeatedly commits fouls for which penalties can be                            enforced only by halving the distance to its goal line.

             c. An obviously unfair act not specifically covered by the rules occurs                  during the game

            Note: I actually saw this happen during a game. An offensive player’s shoe came off during a play, and a defensive player picked up the shoe and threw it down the field. The defensive player was charged with “Unsportsmanlike Conduct…throwing opponent’s shoe 20 yards downfield” and a 15 yard penalty was assessed..

The referee has broad latitude in deciding what penalty to charge against the offending player in the above situations.

Contacting an official: 15 yards, automatic first down, and immediate ejection: No player or coach may forcibly contact an official during the game.

Sidelines are busy places where many different people could be called for sideline interference.Sidelines are crowded, busy places with many people who could be called for sideline interference.

Sideline Interference: During the game, coaches, players and authorized attendants must stay behind the coaching line.

            First infraction: sideline warning

            Second and third infractions: Delay of game and 5 yard penalty

            Fourth and subsequent infractions: Unsportsmanlike conduct foul              against the team, 15 yard penalty, automatic first down for the                      opponents.

Physical interference with an official: 15 yards, automatic first down

Use of tobacco: 15 yards from succeeding spot and ejection: Tobacco use is prohibited by coaches, players, and all other game personnel from the time the officials take over jurisdiction (90 minutes before game time) until the referee declares the game over.

Ejected players and coaches: According to the NCAA:

            a. Any coach, player or identified squad member in uniform who                       commits two unsportsmanlike conduct fouls in the same game will                 be ejected.

            b. A player ejected from the game must leave the playing enclosure                   under team supervision within a reasonable amount of time after                   his ejection. He must remain out of view of the field of play under                   team supervision for the remainder of the game.

            c. A player serving a first-half suspension due to his ejection in the                   team’s previous game may participate in pre-game warm-up                         activities. During the first half he must remain out of view of the                     field of play under team supervision.

             d. A coach ejected from the game must leave the playing enclosure                  within a reasonable amount of time after the ejection and must                      remain out of view of the field of play for the remainder of the                        game.

            e. A head coach ejected from the game may designate a new head                    coach.

Fighting: When a coach, player or squad member in uniform strikes a person in a manner unrelated to football, fighting is called. Such acts include but are not limited to:

            1. Attempting to strike at an opponent with the arms, legs, hands or                  foot, whether contact is made or not.

            2. Performing any unsportsmanlike act towards an opponent that                        causes the opponent to retaliate by fighting.

Penalties for fighting: (Applies to coaches, players and squad members)

·         During pregame and first half: 15 yards, automatic first down, ejection            for rest of game

·         During halftime and second half: 15 yards, automatic first down, and              ejection for rest of game and first half of next game. If last game of                season, ejection carries over to first half of first game next season if              eligibility still applies.

·         If coach, player or squad member ejected for second time in a season,             suspended for rest of season

Note: If second fight occurs during last game of season, player is suspended for first game of following season and it counts as first fight of that season.