BFOA: Welcome

The Birmingham Football Officials Association

Welcome to the web site for the Birmingham Football Officials Association.

We will be meeting each Tuesday at 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM at UAB Highlands (previously known as HealthSouth) starting June 6, 2017 at 6:00 PM for first year officials. Non-regular member meetings will start on June 13, 2017 at 6:00 PM and continue throughout the season. Regular member meetings will start on July 11, 2017 at 7:00 PM. There will be no meetings on July 4, 2017.  You can go to the locations page and click the map icon next to UAB Highlands (BFOA Meetings) for directions.

 Prospective members may contact the membership committee at or (205) 566-8341. 

Go to Online scheduling.

BFOA Membership
Have you ever thought of becoming a football official. Join BFOA and become part of a team of officials dedicated to providing excellence in football officiating in Alabama.

What does it mean to be a member of BFOA?

* Great exercise and learning experiences

* Camaraderie with other officials

* Learn football at a deeper level

* Be a positive role model for the youth of Alabama


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Thursday, April 23
2015 Football Rule Changes

SPEARING DEFINITION REVISED (2-20-1c):  Continuing the focus of risk minimization, the definition for the illegal helmet contact act of spearing was revised. Spearing is an act by any player who initiates contact against an opponent at the shoulders or below with the crown (top portion) of his/her helmet.

CORRECTING A DOWN NUMBER ADDED (5-1-1b NEW):  The referee is granted authorization to correct the number of the next down before a new series of downs is awarded.

FREE-KICK FORMATIONS REVISED (6-1-3; 6-1-4 NEW; 6-1 PENALTY):  In a revision of the 2014 rule change regarding free-kick formations, the timing of the foul for not having at least four players on each side of the kicker now occurs when the ball is kicked.  

EXCESSIVE CONTACT ADDED TO UNNECESSARY ROUGHNESS (9-4-3g):  With an emphasis on risk minimization, the unnecessary roughness provisions were expanded.  No player or nonplayer shall make any other contact with an opponent, including a defenseless player, which is deemed unnecessary or excessive and which incites roughness. 

ROUGHING THE PASSER PENALTY CLARIFIED (9-4 PENALTY): An automatic first down is not awarded for a 5-yard incidental face mask penalty against the passer.

DEAD-BALL PENALTY ENFORCEMENT MODIFIED (10-2-5):  The distance penalty for unsportsmanlike, nonplayer or dead-ball personal fouls committed by teams can offset.  Equal numbers of 15-yard penalties by both teams will cancel and remaining penalties may be enforced.

Sunday, June 22
2014 Rule Changes

1-1-7 State associations can require game officials to assume authority earlier prior to a game.
2-20-2 (NEW) Definition of targeting added.
2-24-9 Status of the ball following illegal kick clarified.
2-32-16 (NEW); Definition of defenseless player added.
3-3-3, 4 End-of-period procedure changed.
6-1-3b (NEW) Free-kick formation provisions added.
6-1-3c (NEW) Free-kick run-up provisions added.
8-5-1b (NEW) Provision to clarify force added.
9-4-3m (NEW) Targeting an opponent is clarified as a separate personal foul.
9-4-4 Roughing-the-passer fouls revised.
Field Diagrams; 1-1-8; 1-2-3l; 1-3-5b; 1-5 NOTE; 1-5-1d(5); 1-5-3c(4) NOTE (NEW); Table 1-7 (2.); 2-1 Heading; 2-8; 2-20 Heading; 2-24-3, 4; 3-4-4j (NEW); 3-5-10b; 3-6-2b, g (NEW); 5-3-2; 6-1-8; 6-1 PENALTY; 6-5 PENALTY; 7-2-4; 8-3-6b; 8-5-1a; 9-4 PENALTY; 9-8-1m; 9-8 PENALTY; 10-1-6, 7; FOOTBALL FUNDAMENTALS – II-5; RESOLVING TIED GAMES – 3-1; 5-2-1; 3.1.1 SITUATION B, L P;
1. High School Football – State of the Game
2. Risk Minimization


GAME OFFICIALS AUTHORITY (1-1-7): Due to teams being on the field earlier than 30 minutes prior to the game, state associations can require game officials to be on the field for pre-game responsibilities more than 30 minutes prior to game time. This change extends the game officials authority in those states.
TARGETING DEFINITION AND FOUL ADDED (2-20-2 NEW; 9-4-3m NEW): Continuing with the focus on risk minimization, the committee determined that taking aim at an opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder, to initiate contact above the shoulders with an intent that goes beyond making a legal tackle, a legal block or playing the ball is prohibited. Furthermore, the committee feels it is important to separate and draw specific attention to this illegal act.
ILLEGAL KICK CLARIFIED (2-24-9): The committee clarified the intent of an illegal kick. When an illegal kick occurs, the loose ball retains the same status that it had prior to the illegal kick.
DEFINITION OF DEFENSELESS PLAYER ADDED (2-32-16 NEW; 9-4-3i(3)): The committee added the definition of a defenseless player in an attempt to continue concentrating on risk minimization. A defenseless player is a player who, because of his physical position and focus of concentration, is especially vulnerable to injury.
END-OF-PERIOD PROCEDURE CHANGED (3-3-3, 4): This rule changes the procedure of determining when to extend a period with an untimed down. In order to extend a period with an untimed down, time must expire during the down.
PROVISIONS TO FREE-KICK FORMATIONS ADDED (6-1-3b, c NEW): Two new provisions were added to adjust the free kick. One provision balances the kicking team’s formation and the other limits the maximum distance of the run-up for the kicking team.
CLARIFICATION OF CREATING A NEW FORCE (8-5-1b NEW): This rule change clarifies that a new force is not created when a player is blocked into the ball.
ROUGHING-THE-PASSER FOULS REVISED (9-4-4): Roughing-the-passer fouls now include all illegal personal contact fouls listed in Rule 9-4-3. These fouls against the passer now result in an automatic first down in addition to a 15-yard penalty.

Thursday, August 8
2013 Rule Changes

SOLID-COLORED TOWELS NOW LEGAL (1-5-3a(5)a): The committee modified the rule regarding the authorized wearing of a moisture-absorbing towel. Towels that are one solid color may now be worn, as long as they are not the color of the football or penalty flag. The towel cannot have no more than one visible manufacturer’s logo/trademark, which cannot exceed 2 ¼ square inches in any dimension. Towels worn by teammates must be the same color. Previously, the towel could only be white and unmarked.

USE OF COMMUNICATION DEVICES EXPANDED (1-6): The committee has expanded use of communication devices to allow, coaches, players and nonplayers to use any form of available communication technology during authorized conferences outside the 9-yard marks (7-yard marks in nine-, eight- and six-player competition), on the sidelines and during the halftime intermission period. Use of communication devices by players except during conferences outside the 9-yard marks continues to be prohibited.

DEFINITION OF A CATCH CLARIFIED (2-4-1): The committee clarified the definition of a catch. An airborne player who has forward progress stopped inbounds and is carried out of bounds by an opponent before contacting the ground is awarded a catch at the spot of forward progress.

LOSS OF HELMET AFTER THE DOWN (3-5-10d): The committee clarified that if the helmet comes completely off during subsequent dead-ball action related to the down, and is not directly attributable to a foul by the opponent, the player must leave the game for at least one down (unless half-time or overtime intermission occurs). An official’s time-out shall be called.

KICK-CATCHING INTERFERENCE (6-5-6 PENALTY; 2-9-2; 5-2-1; 5-2-2; 6-5-4; 10-4-2b):
The committee added a 15-yard penalty to the existing option of accepting an awarded fair catch for kick-catch interference. The option to try a scoring free kick after an awarded fair catch remains.

PASS INTERFERENCE PENALTIES REVISED (7-5-10 PENALTY; Table 7-5): This rule change removes the automatic first down for defensive pass interference and the loss of down for offensive pass interference. The 15-yard penalty provision remains for both fouls.

CLARIFICATION ON SCORE ON A TRY (8-3-3): The committee clarified that the touchdown scoring team is the only team that can score on a try.

BLOCKING ON FREE KICKS REVISED (9-3-8c NEW): A new provision added to the existing rule stipulates the kicking team may initiate contact once the receiving team has initiated a block within the neutral zone.

INITIATING CONTACT WITH A HELMET-LESS OPPONENT (9-4-3l NEW): In the interest of minimizing risk, the committee added a new illegal personal contact foul. This foul is charged to any player who initiates contact with an opposing player whose helmet has come completely off.

ILLEGAL PARTICIPATION FOR PLAYERS CONTINUING TO PLAY WITHOUT A HELMET (9-6-4g NEW): Continuing with focus on risk minimization, the committee determined that a helmet-less player shall not block, tackle or otherwise participate beyond the immediate action in which the player is engaged when the helmet came completely off. The penalty would be a live-ball, basic-spot foul.