AR 9-3-1 / Substitutions
I. The ball is ready for play and the offense is in a legal formation when the player usually
playing quarterback comes towards the side line, apparently to confer with their coach, but
stops in the field of play facing their side line. The snapper then touches the ball and snaps the
ball to a player usually playing running back who throws a legal forward pass to the player at
the side line who has gone downfield after the snap for a touchdown.
RULING: Ball remains dead, penalty for unfair tactics associated with the substitution process.
Penalize 5 yards or 10 yards from the SL and replay the down. Once the player heads towards
the side line it is legitimate for the defense to expect that the substitution process has started
and the snap is not imminent.
NOTE: Should the player clearly demonstrate that the substitution process has stopped (by taking
a position as receiver being set for one second) there would be no foul. Neither would it be a
foul if the action happens after the snapper has touched the ball, because there are no
substitutions allowed after the snapper has touched the ball (R 7-1-3-a) and the defense
should not expect a substitution.
II. The ball is ready for play and the offense is in a legal formation when one player leaves the
field into the team area. After a while another player sneaks onto the field while appearing to
be talking to a coach, such that the defense do not recognize the substitution. The snapper
then touches the ball and snap it quickly. The quarterback throws a deep pass to the
RULING: Penalty for unfair tactics. 10 yards from the SL and replay the down. The offense may not
use the substitution process to “hide” a player, that legitimate the Referee to see it as unfair