Rule 5- Series of Downs, Number of Down, and Team Possession after Penalty
Section 2- Down and Possession after a Penalty
- Art. 1- When a penalty is declined, the number of the next down is the same as if the foul had not occurred. If a double foul occurs during a down, the number of the next down is the same as that of the down in which the foul occurred. After a distance penalty, the ball belongs to the team in possession at the time of the foul. Team possession may then change if a new series is awarded.
- Art. 2- When a foul occurs during a scrimmage down and before any change of team possession, and before a receiver is first to touch a scrimmage kick while it is beyond the neutral zone, the ball belongs to A after enforcement. The number of the next down is the same as that of the down during which the foul occurred unless penalty acceptance includes a first down or loss of down, or the enforcement of the advance results in a first down. The loss of down aspect of a penalty has no significance following a change of possession of if the line to gain is reached after enforcement.
- Art. 3- When a foul occurs prior to a scrimmage down, or has simultaneously with the snap, the number of the next down after enforcement is the same as the number established before the foul occurred, unless enforcement for a foul by B results in a first down.
- Art. 4- When a foul occurs prior to or during a free kick down and before any change in team possession, the down which follows enforcement is a free kick down, unless following a fair catch or an awarded fair catch , a scrimmage kick down is chosen for the replay.
- Art. 5- Following a foul, a series of down ends when:
o The acceptance of a penalty includes the award of a first down
o Acceptance or declination of any penalty leaves A in possession beyond the line to gain.
o Declination of any penalty leaves A in possession beyond the line to gain after fourth down.
o Declination of any penalty leaves B in possession
o There is acceptance or declination of the penalty for any foul which occurs after team possession changes during the down or after R is first to touch a scrimmage kick while it is beyond the neutral zone, unless the foul occurs before the kick ends and the penalty is accepted.
o Acceptance of a penalty on fourth down which carries a loss of down leaves A in possession behind the line to gain.
- Art. 6- After a series of downs ends, a new series with first and ten yards to gain is awarded unless one of the following is involved: a try, a field goal, or a free kick after a safety, fair or awarded fair catch. The first down is awarded to the team in possession when the foul occurs unless , declining the penalty leaves the other team in possession or as in 5-2-5C and 5-2-5F accepting or declining the penalty leaves the other team in possession after fourth down.