What is 'delay of game for sideline interference,' anyway?

Obscure, seldom-called violation replaced 'sideline warning' in 2008

Clemson's Dabo Swinney reacts to referees during the fourth quarter at the Discover Orange Bowl in Sun Life Stadium Miami, Florida.

Photo by Ken Ruinard

Clemson's Dabo Swinney reacts to referees during the fourth quarter at the Discover Orange Bowl in Sun Life Stadium Miami, Florida.

"Minding my business riding on the bus back to Clemson and got flagged for a sideline infraction."

Chandler Catanzaro's humorous day-after tweet raises the question: what is a 'sideline infraction' anyway?

The Clemson bench was flagged twice for the violation Friday night by the Orange Bowl's crew of officials from the American (former Big East) Conference, costing the Tigers 10 hard-earned yards and evoking widespread bewilderment.

The answer is found in the NCAA college football rulebook, Rule 9-1-6, which, in 2008, changed the 'sideline warning' into a 'sideline interference' foul.

The rule says:

"While the ball is in play, coaches, substitutes and authorized attendants in the team area may not be between the sideline and coaching line or on the field of play."

The penalty - basically a ban on coaches and non-participating players coming onto the field of play - is administered as a dead-ball foul. The first and second infractions draw a penalty of 'delay of game for sideline interference, five yards from the succeeding spot.'

Subsequent violations draw a 15-yard penalty for 'unsportsmanlike conduct for sideline interference.'

Prior to the implementation of the rule, coaches got two free sideline warnings.

The rule went into effect as part of a set of revisions that also included the horsecollar tackle rule, the elimination of the five-yard unintentional facemask foul, the redefinition of chop blocks, and the so-called Belichick Rule prohibiting the audio or video recording of an opponent's signals.

So now you know.

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Comments » 12

TigerFan95 writes:

I think most folks understand the rule, but it would have been nice to have a replay as to why they were called as well as many of the other flags that were thrown. We never really saw a replay of Beasley's "throat slash". From the snip we did see it looked like he was doing the Cam Newton Superman thing.

greersc writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

I think most folks understand the rule, but it would have been nice to have a replay as to why they were called as well as many of the other flags that were thrown. We never really saw a replay of Beasley's "throat slash". From the snip we did see it looked like he was doing the Cam Newton Superman thing.

Superman, throat slash, it doesn't matter. Act like you've been there before. That ended up costing a touchdown and could have lost the game.

DavidRBurns86 writes:

Clearly a poorly officiated game. Aside from the sideline violation calls, there were other horrendous calls as well. The worst was the 15 yarder on #3. I had a very good good at it and there was definitely not anything close to a throat slash. Officials from conference used to officiating big stage games would have been a better choice.

clmtgr92 writes:

So why weren't Ohio State's coaches called for delay? Especially when Urban Meyer was 10 yds onto the field during the play that ended up in a safety. The Old Big East officials seemed to be holding a grudge against the ACC for stealing all of their teams.

Werewolf writes:

I was also wondering why no one even mentioned Meyer on the field during the safety.

lwb1946 writes:

It was "selective" enforcement! No way Clemson should have had that many penalties compared to OS. I thought I saw a obvious "holding" no call when the running back for OS was running near the goal line but a no call. I wanted to see a replay to verify it but they didn't show one. You and I all know that penalties could be called on just about every play especially holding calls. Clemson got called for some inference penalties and there were several "questionable" no calls for interference on OS. No doubt the penalties really hurt Clemson but luckily we got the win anyway but without some of those penalties we probably would have won with a larger margin.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

It's a rule that can help a team like a SEC team win a game they shouldn't win. Just like Friday night. A lot of people couldn't believe how we basically ran roughshod over them and the refs had to try to slow us down by whatever means they had at their discretion. That's what the penalty really is all about.

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

in response to TigerFan95:

I think most folks understand the rule, but it would have been nice to have a replay as to why they were called as well as many of the other flags that were thrown. We never really saw a replay of Beasley's "throat slash". From the snip we did see it looked like he was doing the Cam Newton Superman thing.

All they showed on TV was Beasley crossing his arms. If he had done the throat slash it seems as though they would have shown it. The refs clearly wanted Ohio St to win. How could they have not seen the late hit on our guy on the 3rd down play right in the middle of the field where everybody at the game saw it and everybody watching on TV saw it. How come the ref didn't see it? And the delay of game on the sideline. Come on. Don't make it so obvious who you want to win.

TRUETIGER1 writes:

I think they called every possible thing they could on Clemson. My hat is off to the coaching staff and players for not crumbling. My question is this, isn't it the A/D's job to insure your team gets a fair shot in officiating. Why do we seem to be on the short end of this more often than not ?

JDub16 writes:

Those refs were terrible. The second 'sideline infraction' was called with 30 seconds left in the game, while the team was in victory formation. Was that really necessary, or was it just the AAC refs thumping their chest?

tigerrob44#291802 writes:

To change sports but not the subject matter, back when Rick Barnes was still here we went up to Chapel Hole to play basketball and the refs fouled out our entire team, almost. We finished the game with 4 players on the court. Swofford really had his hand in that one! As long as John Swofford is the commissioner it is doubtful we beat UNC in Chapel Hole no matter how good we are or how bad they are.

kellytown writes:

My question is osu went for it on fourth down and didn't make it and the officials called the unsportsman or late hit whatever it was a gave the ball back to osu. the play was over why didn't clemson get the ball and then mark off the penalty.

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