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College Football/illegal touch, player out of bounds


Is there NCAA ruling for a player that goes out of bounds and re-enters the field to make a catch (making him an ineligible receiver), who ALSO turns the ball over on the same possession--that negates the play, and subsequently the turnover?


There is a rule.  Rule 7-3-4 provides that "No eligible offensive receiver who goes out of bounds and returns in bounds during a down shall touch a legal forward pass while in the field of play or end zones or while airborne until it has been touched by an opponent or official."  He is ineligible, but if he returns and makes the catch, it is a live-ball foul.  Therefore, it would not negate a turnover, as the defense would merely decline the penalty.  (Penalty is loss of down at the previous spot.)  That said, he must reestablish inbounds.  If he jumps from out of bounds, then as soon as he touches the ball, it is out of bounds, and is an incomplete pass immediately.

Now, there is an exception to this rule.  If an otherwise eligible receiver goes out of bounds due to contact by an opponent, and immediately returns inbounds, he remains eligible.

I hope that helps.

Bill Robers

College Football

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William Robers


I can answer rules questions and officiating questions (including training, mechanics, and general questions).


College Football Official since 2005; assist in training newer officials.

Big Sky Conference Officials Association Sports Lawyers Association Rotary International

Law Degree from University of Minnesota Law School, 2001 MBA from Carlson School of Management at the U. of Minnesota, 2001 B.S. in Business Administration from Marquette University, 1997

Awards and Honors
Post-Season official in 2012 and 2013.

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