Be the Referee: Uncatchable Pass

November 10, 2016

This week, MHSAA assistant director Mark Uyl explains how the "uncatchable pass" is not a consideration when it comes to high school football interference penalties. 

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 – Uncatchable Pass - Listen

Today we’re going to talk about one of the most misunderstood rules at the high school level, and that deals with the uncatchable pass.

All of us have sat in front of our televisions on Saturday or Sunday and seen the long pass get thrown, followed immediately by the throwing of the flag. As the officials discuss what happened, the referee invariably clicks on the microphone and announces that there is no foul for pass interference because the pass was uncatchable.

At the high school level, that is not a factor in deciding whether or not pass interference has occurred. The ball does not have to be catchable, and if the contact is ruled as pass interference, that foul stands, regardless of the quality of the pass.

Past editions
Nov. 3: The Goal Line - Listen
Oct. 27: Help Us Retain Officials - Listen
Oct. 20: Point After Touchdown - Listen
Oct. 13: Untimed Down - Listen
Oct. 6: Soccer Penalty Kick Change - Listen
Sept. 29: Preparation for Officials - Listen
Sept 22: You Make the Call: Returning Kickoffs - Listen
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