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Knee On The Ground - Down?

Workers Compensation Law Discussion

Knee On The Ground - Down?

Postby Broughton » Sat Aug 15, 2015 6:11 pm

If a player is down when he has the ball and his knee touches the ground, then how do any field goals count, since the holder has one knee down when he catches the ball.
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Knee On The Ground - Down?

Postby Donogh » Thu Aug 20, 2015 12:42 pm

Thank you for your question Why is a Holder is not deemed down when the Ball in Possession + knee down...? The reason is because of NCAA Football Rule 4-1-3(b, exception).  This rule creates the exception to the ball being declared dead when a player's knee is down touching the ground. The exception applies only to the HOLDER when an offensive player kicks or simulates kicking the ball for a place kick(Field Goal).  By rule the ball may be advanced, kicked or passed.

In college football the holder may place his knee on the ground and the ball is not declared dead.  The rationale for this exception is because the holder is a position that holds the ball for a place kick.  After receiving the snap it would be illogical to declare the ball dead because the holder's knee was on the ground.  It would defeat the purpose of a holder and the purpose of a place kick.

The old football rules declared the ball became dead in player possession when the player was down by contact(much like the current NFL rule).  Under the current NCAA football rules "down by contact" is not an element to declaring the runner down.  "By contact" is not necessary under the college rule.  I suspect the origin of this 4-1-3(b) exception dates back to the late 1800's.  

The exact rule is(Exception: "The ball remains alive when an offensive player has simulated a kick or is in position to kick the ball held by a teammate.  The ball may be kicked, passed or advanced by rule.")

Thanks again,

Victor C. Winnek

NCAA Football Official
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