Football Officiating > NCAA Discussion

Definition of a Down

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ElvisLives:
DOWN
Article 1. A down is a unit of the game that starts after the ball is ready for play with a legal snap (scrimmage down) or legal free kick (free kick down) and ends when the ball becomes dead [Exception: The try is a scrimmage down that begins when the referee declares the ball ready for play (8-3-2-b)].

The part that I highlighted in red was introduced in 2009 (via editorial change), when we first got the 40-second play clock interval. This language was needed then, since the try was exempt from the 40-second clock at that time. But, when they moved the try into the category that requires the automatic 40-second play clock interval, that language became necessary. Today, the R does not declare the ball ready for play for a try, unless there is some administrative interruption. The ball is ready for play as quickly as the crew can get it spotted, and move to officiating positions, following the TD. So that language is out of date. Maybe edit it to read something like,"The try is a scrimmage down that begins when the ball is ready for play following a touchdown (other than after a try), or when the referee declares the ball ready for play following a charged team timeout or a referee's timeout, or for each down during the third, and any subsequent, extra period."
8-3-2-b is good, as it is.

Not a crisis. Just something that ought to be addressed by editorial change.

ump_ben:
If you're going to fix that exception, it seems to me more useful to note that the try down doesn't start until the snap as every other down does.

ElvisLives:

--- Quote from: ump_ben on July 19, 2021, 09:49:11 AM ---If you're going to fix that exception, it seems to me more useful to note that the try down doesn't start until the snap as every other down does.

--- End quote ---

I believe the reason the rules state that a scrimmage down, including a try, starts when the ball is ready for play is to draw the line between fouls that occur between series and those that occur after a new line-to-gain has been established. I guess it really doesn't make much difference on a try, though.

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