Be the Referee

Football, Officials

Be the Referee: Intentional Grounding

By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor

September 9, 2021

This week, MHSAA assistant director Brent Rice explains football intentional grounding at the high school level. 

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 – Intentional Grounding – Listen 

A quarterback is under heavy pressure and immediately throws the ball away. International grounding, right? Maybe. And maybe not.

What goes into an official deciding if grounding has occurred?

First, there is no such thing as a “tackle box” in high school football as it pertains to grounding. A quarterback scrambling outside of the tackle box who throws the ball away could still be penalized for grounding – even if it reaches the line of scrimmage.

Any pass can be penalized for grounding if there is no receiver in the immediate area. Behind the line, inside the tackle box – none of that matters – it only matters if there’s a potential receiver nearby. If there is – no grounding. If there’s not – there will be a flag on the field.

Previous editions

Sept. 2: Pass Interference – Listen 
Aug. 26: Protocols and Mechanics  Listen