Ask A Rules Question

Todd Abraham

Todd Abraham

C. Cliff McCrath

C. Cliff McCrath

If you have a question about or need an interpretation of  the NCAA Soccer Rules, you’ve come to the right place. Two NISOA Hall of Famers, long time NCAA Soccer Secretary-Rules Editor, C. Cliff McCrath and NISOA National Rules Interpreter (and current NISOA Senior Director of Instruction) Todd Abraham are active contributors here. Please follow the following guidelines before posting your question:

  • Read the current NCAA Soccer Rules book (available on the Forms page of our site).
  • Do not post questions regarding issues of referee judgement.
  • Do not post specific game details ( i.e. home team, match date, etc.) with your question, if your question happens to be about something you saw during an intercollegiate soccer game.
All questions are subject to editorial review. This is offered as a service to NISOA membership for educational purposes, with the expressed understanding that only the NCAA Soccer Secretary-Rules Editor (Ken Andres) can provide an official rule interpretation.

448 Responses to “Ask A Rules Question”

  1. brian lynch says:

    so don, just to get it straight in my mind, ncaa is not adopting the FIFA/LOG ruling

  2. Stanislaw Grabowski says:

    What is the proper course of action in the following two scenarios: (1) The referee crew allows Player A to illegally reenter the game in the first half. Player A scores a goal and prior to the ensuing kickoff the referee crew realizes the illegal substitution; (2) The referee crew allows Player A to illegally reenter the game in the first half. Player A
    scores a goal. After the match is complete with the final score of 1-0, prior to signing the scorebook, the referee crew realizes the illegal substitution.

    • Todd Abraham Todd Abraham says:

      An illegal substitution (a legal player who has entered the game illegally) is different from an illegal player (one who is not listed on the roster). An illegal player cannot score a goal, however, a legal player in the game illegally can score. If he/she does, it must be corrected before the restart. If not corrected before the kickoff, it should be reported, however, cannot be corrected.


  3. John David McGee says:

    The SFISOA Chapter is of the opinion that Question #39, in the NISOA 2017 Refresher Test, is “answered” incorrectly on the provided “answer sheet.” The question reads: “In the 30th minute and both teams playing with 11 players, substitute A12 is beckoned onto the field to replace A1. Before A1 leaves the field, he and A12 get into an argument about the substitution and commit violent conduct against each other. Team A should resume play with…;” and the “official” answer given is “C” (“9 players”).
    However, the “Rule” references given do not support this answer. OUR reasoning is that when A12 was “beckoned, he became the player of record. A1, although not having left the field, is no longer a player of record. Whereas both players should be sent off for violent conduct, only ONE of the two was a player “of record;” consequently, play should be restarted with ten (10) players; NOT nine (9).
    Please advise. Thanks.

  4. Kate says:

    Hi! I am asking a question in regards to the rules change, Rule Wondering what, specifically, is the documentation required to be presented to the official? I am a college coach who has an individual that fits this bill and myself and our sports medicine staff have been looking for a form or explanation of what documentation is required for this evidence to be presented to the official.

    Please advise…

    • Cliff McCrath2 C. Cliff McCrath says:

      Kate: Upon further review – and able assistance from one of three “Ask” responders – Dr. Abraham, the answer you are seeking is: “To be eligible for this medical re-entry exception, the team physician must confirm the medical condition, its potential for producing serious injury or death, and the need for the player to be exempt from Rule 3.6.1. If the condition is established by a duly licensed physician other than the team physician, documentation must be provided to, and approved by, the institution’s team physician. Prior to the start of any game, the primary athletics healthcare provider or designee (e.g., coach) shall present documentation to the game officials and opposing coach which establishes that the player has been granted a medical exception to the re-entry rule.” To be clear, up until the latest interpretation, medical documentation has not been required for nonconcussive injuries.

  5. Louie Tran says:

    Just want to clarify that tape on socks with different color is allowed.

    • Cliff McCrath2 C. Cliff McCrath says:

      Louie: Subject to the referee’s approval tape on socks is permitted as long as the basic color/design does not violate the Rule 4 uniform requirements.

  6. Sam says:

    Is there a difference in DOGSO applications (when to apply red card or not) OUTSIDE the penalty area between NISOA and USSF/IFAB? For example rule 12.5.6 appears to be broad and under all associations. Is there a different definition in the NISOA as to what constitutes a DOGSO outside of the penalty area? Is there a link to the NISOA considerations?

  7. John Cardoza says:

    Is the NCAA definition of “What constitutes a ball in play on a corner kick (free kick)” , exactly the same as the NFHS’ definition (18-1n).
    Specifically, (Advice to Referees Law 13), “When…the referee must ensure that the ball is indeed kicked, (touched with foot in a kicking motion), and moved….Simply tapping the top of the ball with the foot or stepping on the ball are not sufficient”?

  8. Steven says:

    I checked the uniform rules and it did not specifically say anything about this, but I have currently been approved eligibility to play soccer this fall at my college and I was wondering if wearing two completely different cleats is legal? Some players wear the same brand of cleats with different colors, but I wear two totally different brands. Just want to know before I begin training.

    • Cliff McCrath2 C. Cliff McCrath says:

      Steven: Can you clarify what you mean by two different cleats? Are you talking about different cleats on each shoe? Feel free to email if you wish.

      • Steven says:

        Yes, I wear two different cleats on each foot. I know some professionals do it, but I do not know if the NCAA requires cleats to match or not.

        • Cliff McCrath2 C. Cliff McCrath says:

          Steven: As long as the cleats are uniform subject to the approval of the referee there is nothing in the rule prohibiting different colored cleats. Rule 4.4: Shoes shall be worn by all participants in a game. Shoes with soles containing aluminum, leather, rubber, nylon or plastic cleats, studs or bars, whether molded as part of the sole or detachable, are allowed as long as the referee does not consider them dangerous.


    can a subs take a p.k.?

  10. DANIEL OKEEFE says:

    Thank you so much Ken for allowing us to ask you questions and then for your fast response. NCAA 2016- 2017 Mens and Womens Soccer Rule ( 5.6.9b ) i was told today by field manager at a Pacwest womens soccer game that the Pacwest does not allow any noisemakers i had a small 4inch brass bell with handle and 4inch cowbell with handle and a non amplified cheerleader cone about 24inches long. that these things can not be used could not be used at Pacwest soccer games.I asked you this question last year for use at a NAIA match and was told it was legal have the rules changed?are do pac west not go under current NCAA soccer rules. all i could find in 5.6.9 not allowed was Whistles,airhorns,electronic amplifiers. this makes sense as these items could cause confusion on the field for refs and players. sorry i was so long.

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