Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 33673

League Specific 9/24/2019

RE: College

Larry of Danville, CA USA asks...

I just watched a college game this past weekend. The NCAA rule book does not explain a dropped ball the way IFAB does in Law 8, so I am a little confused.
There was an uncontested dropped ball where the lone player took a couple of touches and the ref blew the whistle to stop play(after some yelling from the opposing coach of a double touch) and restarted with an IDFK. First, am I correct that uncontested dropped balls have not been adopted by the NCAA, so apparently this was done as a sporting restart? And second, since the ball is live when it hits the ground, isn't it ok for a player to dribble it if they choose?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Larry,
the NEWER LOTG regarding drop ball restarts in FIFA have YET to be adopted in high school NFHS or NCAA

My understanding is the ball is dropped by an official from waist level to the ground between two opposing players. Other players may be position anywhere on the field of play provided they do not interfere with the drop ball procedure. The ball is permitted to be dribbled by a player once it contacts the ground and in cases where one team is CHOOSING to return the ball the other team might not contest the drop allowing the player a free kick to put it out of play for a throw in or perhaps knock it back towards the opposing keeper. The deal is it is not MANDATORY for them do do so, it is an unwritten fair play kind of thing.

That said IF the referee is awarding an INDFK for a double touch then the restart was not a legit drop ball at all but a release of the ball for the player taking the free kick to do so. I believe the rules used to say if there was a stoppage for an injury or non foul the team with ball possession at the time of the stoppage could get an INDFK to restart, but this was changed to conform to FIFA as only a drop ball ? The confusion might be now FIFA has changed again to an uncontested drop ball but THAT change is not yet adopted by the educational systems in play?
What play/incident CREATED the restart you thought was a drop ball?
It is the only thing that makes sense as there is no INDFK for failing to honor an arbitrary fair play protocol where one team was expecting to get the ball back. If the player contacted the ball BEFORE it hit the ground it is a re-drop NOT an indfk for the opposition?

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Larry
There cannot be a double touch infringement at a dropped ball restart in any code. NFHS and NCAA has not adopted the recent FIFA changes of uncontested dropped balls.
The ball is in play when it touches the ground so uncontested or not a player can dribble or take multiple touches.
Now in this instance there could be a number of explanations
1. It was not a dropped ball yet a free kick?
2. The coach spooked the referee into the *incorrect* decision. Knew that NFHS made changes in 2019/20

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Larry,
You are correct that NCAA/NISOA rules have not as yet adopted the uncontested dropped ball as used in IFAB laws. They also do not place any 'second touch' restriction on the player receiving the dropped ball, so the player is indeed at liberty to dribble it if they wish. I'm at a loss as to explain the referee's decision-making process in this incident.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33673
Read other Q & A regarding League Specific

The following questions were asked as a follow up to the above question...

See Question: 33674

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.