Be the Referee: Returning Kickoffs

September 22, 2016

Every football game starts with a kickoff, and our "You Make The Call" series will start with the same play for 2016.

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 – You Make the Call: Returning Kickoffs - Listen

Every football game starts with a kickoff, and our 'You Make The Call' series will start with the same play for 2016.

The kicker kicks the ball high and deep off the tee, and the return man – three yards deep in his own end zone – catches the kick in the air, and now starts to head upfield to try and gain yards. Under high school rules, is the legal?

Believe it or not, the answer is no. Under high school rules, whether it’s a kickoff or a punt, once the ball breaks the plane of the goal line, the ball is dead and it becomes a touchback, with the offense taking over, first and 10, on the 20-yard line.

College and professional players can return kicks from the end zone; high school players cannot.

Past editions
Sept. 15: Concussions - Listen
Sept 8: Equipment Covering the Knees - Listen
Sept. 1: Play Clock Experiment - Listen
Aug. 25: Clipping in the Free Blocking Zone - 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