Rules changes

Major changes

The list below shows rule number, description of the change, and page number in this book. Major changes are marked by a box like this. New or modified text is marked in blue (grey when printed in monochrome).

1-2-1-a-3 Minimum length of field to increase 45
1-2-5-e Goal post padding requirements varied 49
1-4-5 Penalty Illegal jersey penalty postponed to 2024 57
1-4-6-b-1 Fingerless gloves allowed 57
1-4-6-c Mirrored eyewear prohibited 58
3-2-4-c-8 25-second clock on Team B touchdown 89
3-2-5 Minimum time for a play after spiking 89
3-5-3-c Substitution foul against Team B if Team A forced to call a timeout 103
4-1-3-r Ball dead on simulated/faked slide 107
6-5-4 Penalty Illegal block after fair catch signal now 10-yard penalty 129
7-3-11 Penalty Illegal touching penalty adds loss of down 145
7-3-12 Enhanced penalty for Team B unsportsmanlike conduct during pass play 146
9-1-6 Blocking below the waist restricted to the tackle box 160
9-2-1 Penalty Enhanced penalty for Team B unsportsmanlike conduct during pass play 167
9-3-4 Penalty All defensive holding includes automatic first down 176
13-1-2-a Minimum medical requirement provisions extended to 2025 195
13-1-4 Penalty Concussed player returning to play is unsportsmanlike conduct 197
13-5-5-e Competition defines time for game management to arrange officials 203
13-5-9-b Competition may revise forfeit score 205
13-8-6-c Minimum number of squad members 207
13-8-6-d Minimum number of coaches 207
13-8-7 Coaches and other personnel must be on roster 208

New/Revised Approved Rulings

A.R. 2-4-3:IV A.R. 3-3-2:VII A.R. 3-3-5:XI A.R. 3-3-5:XII A.R. 3-3-5:XIII
A.R. 4-1-3:IV A.R. 5-1-3:I A.R. 5-1-3:II A.R. 7-3-12:II A.R. 9-1-6:I
A.R. 9-1-6:II A.R. 9-1-6:IV A.R. 9-2-2:VIII A.R. 9-3-4:II A.R. 12-2-1:I
A.R. 12-2-2:II A.R. 12-2-3:I

Editorial changes

The following list shows those rules that have been subject to editorial change, i.e. deletions, corrected errors, clarifications due to interpretation and items rewritten for readability. The list also includes those Approved Rulings altered to conform with rule changes. New or modified text is marked in blue (grey when printed in monochrome). A symbol denotes where text has been deleted.

1-1-4 1-2-5-f-2-a 1-2-5-f-2-b
1-2-7-a 1-2-8-e A.R. 1-4-5:I
1-4-6-d-1 1-4-8-a 1-4-11-b
1-4-11-g 2-19-2-c 2-27-14-a
3-1-1-f A.R. 3-1-3:XIII 3-2-3-a
3-2-4-a 3-2-4-c-4 3-2-4-c-6
3-3-5-e 3-3-9-b-1 3-3-9-b-2
3-4-3 3-5-3-b 6-1-2 Penalty
A.R. 6-1-2:VIII 6-3-2-d A.R. 6-3-11:III
6-3-13 6-5-1-b A.R. 6-5-4:I
A.R. 6-5-4:II A.R. 7-3-2:III A.R. 7-3-4:II
A.R. 7-3-11:II 8-2-1-c A.R. 8-2-1:X
A.R. 8-3-1:II 8-3-2-a A.R. 8-3-4:I
A.R. 8-3-4:II 9-1-3 9-1-3 Penalty
9-1-4 Penalty A.R. 9-1-4:II A.R. 9-1-4:VI
9-1-6-c 9-1-6-d A.R. 9-1-6:V
A.R. 9-1-6:VI A.R. 9-1-6:VII A.R. 9-1-6:VIII
A.R. 9-1-6:IX 9-1-15 9-1-16-a-4-b
9-1-16 Penalty A.R. 9-1-16:VI 9-1-18 Exception 2-Note
9-2-2-d A.R. 9-3-4:I 10-2-2-e
A.R. 10-2-3:VII 10-2-4 12-1-1
12-1-2-a 12-2-1-b-5 12-2-1-b-6
12-2-2-a-2 12-2-3-h 12-3-4-c-4
12-3-4-c-5 A.R. 13-1-2:II 13-1-4-a
13-5-9 13-6-1-a 13-8-2-a
13-8-3 13-8-6 13-8-6-a
13-8-6-b 13-8-6-e

In addition, there have been multiple changes throughout the rulebook to remove gender-specific language. These are not marked unless other aspects of the rule have been edited.

Summary of differences between NCAA and IFAF rules

NCAA Rule IFAF difference
1-2-5-f Procedure for dealing with missing goals.
1-4-11 Drones prohibited.
2-11-3 Definition of batting includes the head.
2-16-10-a Punter needs only be 7 yards deep; kicker/holder need only be 5 yards deep to count as a scrimmage kick formation.
2-27-12 Whether a disqualified player is suspended for the next game is matter for the disciplinary authority. There is no distinction between disqualified and ejected - all such players must leave the playing enclosure.
2-34-1-a The tackle box is centred on the middle lineman, not the snapper.
3-1-1 During coin toss, teams must remain in the team area.
3-2-3 Period can be extended for foul on field goal or illegal touching violation.
3-2-4 Play clock reset only if it drops below 20 seconds before ball ready.
3-2-5 (difference eliminated in minimum time for a play)
3-3-2 Running clock.
3-3-7 No short timeouts.
3-3-8 Two-minute warning cannot happen before 2'00.
4-1-2-b Ball may belong to recovering team after inadvertent whistle. Ball may belong to Team B after inadvertent whistle on scrimmage kick. Ignore inadvertent whistle if ball would have become dead anyway in the immediate continuing action.
4-1-3 Ball is dead if players in vicinity believe it is.
6-1-7-b/ 8-6-2 All touchbacks are from the 20-yard line.
7-2-5 Both fumbles and backward passes at rest awarded according to forward fumble principles. NCAA rule only applies to fumbles.
9-1-3&4/ 9-5-1 No half-game suspensions.
9-1-6-a (difference eliminated in area for unrestricted blocking)
9-1-7-c Spot of foul for blocking out of bounds is spot on nearest sideline.
9-2-2 Additional unfair tactics.
9-2-2-e No disqualification for illegal cleats.
9-2-2-f No more than ONE player allowed to be assigned the same number in a competitive game.
9-2-7 Referee may require persons to be removed from the playing enclosure.
9-6 Flagrant unsportsmanlike conduct fouls can be reviewed for additional sanctions.
10-2-7-a Non-flagrant personal foul enforcement can carry forward.
12 Video judge rule.

This list ignores differences that address field limitations, NCAA competition structures (e.g. conferences) or equipment restrictions. It also ignores minor wording changes that do not have significant effect on the way the game is played.


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Editor: Jim Briggs, BAFA/BAFRA Rules Committee
rules@britishamericanfootball.org