Be the Referee: Blocking Below the Waist

November 13, 2014

This week, MHSAA assistant director Mark Uyl explains the differences between high school and the college and professional games when it comes to blocking below the waist.  

"Be the Referee" is designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating and to recruit officials. The segment can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays during the school year on The Drive With Jack Ebling on WVFN-AM, East Lansing.

Below is this week's segment - Blocking Below the Waist - Listen

Many times the key rules differences between high school football and those rules used at the college and profession levels deal with player safety. One of the best examples of this deals with the rules that cover blocking below the waist.

All of us have watched that game played on Saturday or Sunday; we’ve seen that wide out or the wide receiver blocking downfield, and they block the defender below the waist in springing that runner for a big gain.

At the high school level, the only offensive players that can block below the waist are those on the offensive line, generally positioned from tackle to tackle, and those blocks below the waist must be immediate – at the snap – and within that free blocking zone at the line of scrimmage.

Past editions
Nov. 5 - Tournament Selection - Listen
Oct. 29 - Uncatchable Pass - Listen
Oct. 22 - Preparation for Officials - Listen
Oct. 15 - Automatic First Downs - Listen
Oct. 8 - Officials & Injuries - Listen
Oct. 1 - Overtime - Listen
Sept. 25 - Field Goals - Listen
Sept. 18 - Tackle Box - Listen
Sept. 11 - Pass Interference - Listen
Aug. 25 - Targeting - Listen

Be the Referee: Over the Back

By Sam Davis
MHSAA Officials Coordinator

January 31, 2023

Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.

Below is this week's segment – Over the Back - Listen

Did you know there is no such thing as “over the back” in basketball? If two players are going for a rebound and the player behind another player is able to grab it over the top of the player in front – that’s not necessarily a foul. He or she did not go over the back.

The player behind another player may have committed a foul such as bumping the player in front, or pushing that player – gaining an advantage to grab the rebound – but that would be whistled for a push or grab. Not over the back.

A taller player or player who can jump higher grabbing a rebound is not a foul. It’s only a foul if they create an advantage by pushing, bumping, or any other kind of illegal contact while in the process of going for a rebound. Fans yell over the back all the time, but an official will never call a foul for going over the back.

Previous Editions:

Jan. 24: Competitive Cheer Judges - Listen
Jan. 17: More Lines - Listen
Jan. 10: On the Line - Listen
Jan. 3: Basketball Measurements - Listen
Dec. 13: Pregame Dunks - Listen
Dec. 6: Gymnastics Judges - Listen
Nov. 22: Football Finals Replay - Listen
Nov. 15: Back Row Illegal Blocker - Listen
Nov. 8: Swim Turn Judges - Listen
Nov. 1: Soccer Referee Jersey Colors - Listen
Oct. 25: Cross Country Tie-Breaker - Listen
Oct. 18: Soccer Shootouts - Listen
Oct. 11: Safety in End ZoneListen
Oct. 4: Football Overtime Penalty - Listen
Sept. 27: Kickoff Goal - Listen
Sept. 20: Soccer Timing - Listen
Sept. 13: Volleyball Replays - Listen
Sept. 6: Switching Sides - Listen
Aug. 30: Play Clock - Listen
Aug. 23: Intentional Grounding Change
- Listen