Be the Referee: Personal Fouls

November 5, 2015

This week, MHSAA assistant director Mark Uyl explains how personal fouls are penalized at the high school level. 

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 - Make the Call: Personal Fouls - Listen



Late in a key game that’s tied, it’s third down and goal from the 12-yard line after a sack has pushed the offense back. On the third-down play, the quarterback has scrambled and is pulled down again for an apparent sack, but he is pulled to the ground by his facemask. 

The officials throw the flag and correctly rule it’s a personal foul facemask. What’s the next down? Under high school rules, personal fouls are NOT an automatic first down. On this play, the officials would walk off the yardage penalty of half-the-distance (to the goal line) and we would replay third down. The only fouls that give the offense an automatic first down are the roughing fouls … roughing the kicker, passer, holder and long snapper.

Past editions:
Oct. 29: Officials Demographics - Listen
Oct. 15: Make the Call: Intentional Grounding - Listen
Oct. 8: Playoff Selection - Listen
Oct. 1: Kick Returns - Listen
Sept. 24: Concussions - Listen
Sept. 17: Automatic First Downs - Listen
Sept. 10: Correcting a Down - Listen
Sept 3:
Spearing - Listen
Aug. 27: Missed Field Goal - 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