Aug 31, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Northwestern Wildcats cornerback Daniel Jones (15) is called for pass interference against California Golden Bears wide receiver Bryce Treggs (1) and goes down after the play during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

NCAA College Football Week 2: Rules Committee Needs to Add Illegal Contact to the Game

This is a hot topic button for me and I’m sure it’s been discussed at length year in and year out, but illegal contact needs to be added to college football, period.

Let’s take a look at two plays that I guess were debatable from last Saturday’s Washington State loss at Auburn. Thanks to CougCenter for these Gifs. (for even more analysis on this Click  HERE) that make you sick if you’re a Cougar fan. The first is a clear and obvious pass interference call that BOTH officials are clearly looking at but just simply decide not to call. In the case of Mr. Linesman official here, he actually reaches for the flag, but seems to look down the field just to make sure he won’t be the only one calling it… and he would be, so he pockets it.



It’s also obvious that the Auburn sidelines expect a flag to be coming, isn’t it? Here’s the deal though, PI or not (and it is, no question), this HAS to be a penalty of some sort. Illegal contact would be irrefutable here, even and ESPECIALLY if the refs decide somehow that the ball wasn’t in the air at the point of contact.

The NFL has a 5 yard bumper. If you still wanted more of a cushion in college, you could make it 10 or whatever. Still, down the field, there really NEEDS to be a penalty on a play like this.

Here’s the other play that I cannot believe doesn’t draw a flag, and incidentally, not only is this a non-call by the same two officials on the right sidelines (and on the same drive no less), but it’s the second play in a row that Cracraft is tackled before the ball arrives. That means there are three PI’s on the same drive that don’t get called. Add Illegal contact downfield and these are absolutely irrefutable one way or the other.


Simply put, contact down the field before the ball arrives is illegal in the NFL game and should be illegal in our college game as well. I understand that this makes defense even harder to play or whatever, but these “judgement calls” based on whether or not the ball was “in flight” when the contact happens 15-20 yards downfield cost teams games every weekend and it’s ridiculous.

This obviously can’t be reviewed til the end of the season, again, but it’s something to consider as you watch your college football throughout the season.


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Tags: College Football Rules Committee Football Washington State Cougars

  • Ruletool

    Nice article, but in my opinion there are 2 things you are trying to cover at once:
    topic 1) should the officials have flagged the contact by rule and interpretation?
    topic 2) if this contact is legal, your statement is that this should not be.

    Both clips are too short to actually say something about topic 1 (without having seen the game, and without commenting on the officials). This is the rule: For DPI to be called, the (forward) pass must be legal, across the neutral zone, untouched, catchable. The contact must be clear and the ‘intention to impede’ evident.

    First clip:
    1)pass was most likely forward
    2)unknown if pass was legal
    3)unknown if pass crossed neutral zone, but seems to do so
    4)the ball spiral seems clean (so probably untouched)
    5)hard to rule on catchability from this angle
    6)contact to impede is clear.

    Second clip
    1)pass was probably forward
    2)unknown if pass was legal
    3)unknown if pass crossed neutral zone
    4)the ball spiral seems clean (so probably untouched)
    5)pass was catchable

    6)contact to impede is clear.

    On your statement 2, this contact is already illegal if the other aspects related to DPI are met. Hope this helps!