Be the Referee: Automatic 1st Downs
Be the Referee: Automatic 1st Downs
Football, Officials
Posted Thursday, October 24, 2019

This week, MHSAA officials coordinator Sam Davis explains differences in high school football rules regarding automatic first downs from similar rules at the college and pro levels. 

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 - Automatic 1st Downs - Listen

Today we are going to talk about one of the biggest rule difference areas in high school football from those rules used in college and pro games – automatic first downs. 

When watching that college game on Saturday or the pro game on Sunday, all of us know there are several defensive fouls that give the offense an automatic first down. However, under high school rules, the opposite is true most of the time. 

The only high school fouls that result in an automatic first down for the offense are the roughing fouls – roughing the passer, the kicker, the holder and the long snapper. Fouls such as defensive pass interference or any other personal foul do not bring an automatic first down under high school rules.

Past editions

Oct. 17: Catch Momentum - Listen
Oct. 10: Golf Rules Changes - Listen
Oct. 3: No Tackle Box - Listen
Sept. 26: You Make the Overtime Call - Listen
Sept. 19: Swimming Finishing Touch - Listen
Sept. 12: Curbing Gamesmanship By Substitution - Listen
Sept. 5: Football Safety Rules Changes - Listen
Aug. 29: 40-Second Play Clock - Listen

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