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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Intentional Grounding?

Now it's time for another pop quiz about the rules of high school football.  This time it is intentional grounding that we are going to be quizzing you on.

True or False - A quarterback is under pressure and quickly scambles outside of the tackle box and throws the ball away to avoid the sack.  This action is not considered intentional grounding.

The answer may or may not shock you.  It is False.  This would be intentional grounding on the high school level.  In high school football there is no such thing as the tackle box.  Just because the quarterback runs outside of it to throw it away does not mean it is legal.  I was watching a few games this past weekend and a few times I heard the announcers mention the tackle box on a couple of throw aways.  One was called an intentional grounding and was actually really obvious because there were only linemen around and he was still inside the tackles.  But the announcer mentioned that he was not outside of the tackel box.  Again this has no bearing on the rule.  There is no such thing as the tackle box in high school football.  There also is not a "receiver within 10 yards" rule either.  If in the referee's judgment the quarterback is throwing the ball away to avoid an obvious sack, it is intentional grounding.  A receiver can even be in the area the ball is thrown and it still be considered intentional grounding.  Now that being said we do use our judgment on that.  If the receiver was at least around the ball or there was a legitimate attempt to throw near the receiver we will allow it.  But the rule is put in place so that the quarterback can not just throw the ball away to avoid a sack.  A lot of coaches, especially in the lower levels, do not know this and will yell at an official about the call.  Even the CYO, Jr High and middle school levels use high school rules.  We will try to convey this to the coach that there is no such thing as the tackle box or "receiver within 10 yards".  Sometimes we will say, "That is just on Sunday's" (yes college uses the tackle box but you get the idea).  And I know CYO plays on Sunday's too.

This was your pop quiz on high school football.

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