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College Football/ACC Championship game


My question is hopfully simple. In the ACC Championship game of #1 ranked Clemson Tigers against the North Carolina Tarheels their was a call of off sides during a NC Tarheels kickoff that I as a life long Clemson fan have been catching a lot off flack for as a bad call, and possibly a game changing call. So can you please explain to me the reason that call was made so i can pass it on. I do know that one guy was lined up about 1 yard closer to the kicker than all the other players, but cant seem to find any info onwhere exactly the players on kicking team have to be lined up.


I have seen that play several times.  There is no restriction on how close players can be to the kicker.  The kicking team must have four players on each side of the kicker. That is not what was called.  The officials ruled that one of the UNC players had crossed the 35 yard line before the ball was kicked.  Hard to tell from the angles of the clips I have seen (nothing down the line).  

In a normal kick (kicking deep), the officials typically only rule offside if a player has a foot down beyond the line prior to the kick.  On an onside kick, the line is a hard plane (like the goal line).  If any part of a player's body crosses that line prior to the kick (head, hand, foot, etc.), he is offside.

From the angles I've seen, doesn't appear clear that any player was offside.  That said, without a shot directly down the line, it is hard to tell if the second player from the sideline has his hand over the line.  All that said, it appears to have been an incorrect call, in my opinion.  

I hope that helps.  No restrictions on how close to the kicker a player may be.  Only that the team must have at least four players on each side of the kicker.  They did.

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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