Rulebook 7 FAQ

Rulebook FAQ last updated 3/26/14 with questions 35 and 36.

The following are some frequently asked questions concerning the seventh edition of USQ rulebook. Most of these can be discerned from a close reading of the rules, but in all cases, these interpretations have the same force as the rules in the rulebook.

1. (2.5.7.) Issue: If a seeker’s headband is removed by a snitch, does he have to go back to hoops?

Answer: No. If a player’s headband comes off mid-play, he may complete the play before replacing the headband (2.5.7.). If a snitch takes off a seeker’s headband, that seeker does not have to go back to hoops. However, the headband must be replaced once the play is over.

2. (3.4.1.1.) Issue: If a player still has penalty box time, does that carry over into OT?

Answer: Yes. The official game time stops for any complete stoppage of play (3.4.1.1.). This time includes penalty time, seeker floor time, and overtime time. The clock resumes on the referee’s signal to resume play. If a player still has penalty box time after regulation, that penalty time pauses and resumes with the start of overtime.

3. (4.2.1.) Issue: A hoop for Red Team begins to fall over. Blue Chaser releases the quaffle after the hoop begins to fall, and it passes through the falling hoop before the hoop hits the ground. Does Blue Team score a goal?

Answer: No. The hoop started falling, thus becoming dislodged, prior to Blue Chaser releasing the quaffle, so no goal is scored (4.2.1.). It is up to the referee to determine if a hoop is dislodged, but the general guideline is “A hoop is dislodged when it is falling over, is significantly moved from its starting position, or is broken in a way that influences its height or scoring area.”

4.  (4.4.1.) Issue: Red team has just scored a goal. Red Chaser Randall is in his opponents’ keeper zone, Red Chaser Rachel is at midfield, and Red Beater is in his opponents’ keeper zone. Who must go where?

Answer: Randall must retreat out of the opponents’ keeper zone, and may not reenter until play is restarted (4.4.1.). Rachel DOES NOT need to go to any keeper zone line, but she must wait until play is restarted before she may enter the opponents’ keeper zone. Beaters are uninfluenced by the goal.

5. (5.1.3.) Issue: Can a beater make a bludger live by heading it? Kneeing it? Hip-thrusting it?

Answer: Yes, yes, and yes. A bludger becomes live after being intentionally propelled by a beater in any way (5.1.3.).

6. (5.1.5.) Issue: Red Beater throws a bludger at Blue Beater. Blue Beater smacks the bludger out of the air right back at Red Beater. The bludger hits Red Beater, then the ground. Who is knocked out?

Answer: Blue Beater is knocked out. Red beater cannot be knocked out by Blue Beater’s smack, because she made the bludger live (5.1.5.). A bludger remains live for the team that initially made it live until it is caught or hits the ground (5.1.3.). That is, Blue Beater does not make the ball live by smacking it, because it is already live for the red team. Only a dead bludger may be made live. You may think of this as the “Phoenix Rule” – a bludger must die before it can be reborn.

7. (5.2.1.D.) Issue: Red Chaser is knocked out. He attempts to tag back in by touching a hoop that is dislodged. Is Red Chaser then allowed to participate in play?

Answer: No. A dislodged hoop does not count for the purpose of tagging back in play (5.2.1.D.). The head referee must warn Red Chaser and send him back to a hoop that is not dislodged.

8. (6.3.1.6.) Issue: Blue Chaser is running with the quaffle down the pitch. Red Chaser is running behind, attempting to catch up with Blue Chaser. Blue Chaser looks back and sees Red Chaser, but looks forward again and continues running. Red Chaser then tackles Blue Chaser from behind. Is this a yellow card offense for initiating illegal contact from behind?

Answer: Yes. Red Chaser must receive a yellow card. While Blue Chaser (after turning his head around) may be aware that Red Chaser is behind, it is up to Red Chaser to reposition himself in a manner to make a tackle that is not from behind (6.3.1.6.).

9. (6.3.1.6.) Issue: Blue Chaser has the quaffle. Red Chaser runs at Blue Chaser to attempt a tackle. At the last second, Blue Chaser turns his back, and Red Chaser tackles Blue Chaser from behind. What is the call?

Answer: This is a no-call. A player who finds himself making illegal physical contact due to the direct actions of an opposing player and acts immediately to correct this is not penalized (6.3.1.8.). Due to the momentum of Red Chaser, he cannot stop in time when Blue Chaser turns his back at the last moment. However, note that if Red Chaser has enough time to react and stop his momentum, he must establish legal contact, including initial point of contact in the periphery, in order to tackle. Otherwise, Red Chaser must receive a yellow card for contact from behind (6.3.1.6.).

10. (6.3.8.4.) Issue: Red Chaser is standing still on the ground, in the process of catching a quaffle out of the air. Blue Chaser tackles Red Chaser as Red Chaser is still in the process of the catch. Is Blue Chaser guilty of tackling a helpless receiver?

Answer: Yes, Blue Chaser must receive a red card for tackling a helpless receiver (6.3.8.4.). It is illegal to tackle a helpless receiver, including one who never leaves his feet, before he has the ability to defend himself (1. Helpless Receiver).

11. (6.4.1.3.) Issue: Blue Chaser intentionally fouls Red Chaser, and due to that action, Red Chaser accidentally trips Blue Beater. Who is penalized?

Answer: Play is stopped, and Blue Chaser receives a yellow card (6.4.1.3.). Red Chaser’s foul occurs due to Blue Chaser’s illegal action, and therefore is not penalized. However, if Red Chaser intentionally makes illegal contact, he must receive a yellow card as well.

12. (6.4.7.2.) Issue: A referee issues two yellow cards to two different players (who are on the same team) and sends them to the penalty box for illegally tackling an opposing player at the same time. In the event of a score, which player leaves the penalty box first?

Answer: Referee’s discretion. The referee must indicate which player committed a foul first prior to penalty time starting. The referee should indicate this to the scorekeeper, who will release the appropriate player after a score (6.4.7.2.).

13. (6.4.7.4.) Issue: Aaron is sent to the penalty box with a yellow card. This player is then substituted out for Alex on the bench during the penalty time. What is the proper call?

Answer: Aaron illegally interacted with play while in the penalty box, and must receive a red card (6.4.7.4.). Because Alex entered play, this created a situation where there was an illegal set of players. Thus in addition, Alex is sent back to the bench, quaffle possession is forfeited, and his team captain must receive a yellow card (7.1.3.).

14. (7.2.3.) Issue: Are chasers allowed to “take a bludger hit” for their ball-carrying teammate? Are they allowed to stick out their arm to take a hit?

Answer: Yes. A chaser, keeper, or seeker may get in the way of a bludger, but may not swat it or otherwise propel it (7.2.3.).

15. (7.2.5.) Issue: Red and Blue Chaser attempt to retrieve the quaffle. In an effort to prevent Blue Chaser from getting the quaffle, Red Chaser kicks it ahead. Does Red Chaser receive a yellow card if they kick it off the pitch?

Answer: Yes. A player may not intentionally propel a ball off the pitch without attempting to score, complete a pass to a player on the pitch, or knock out an opponent (7.2.5.).

16. (7.2.5.) Issue: Is there a difference between illegally carrying a ball off of the pitch and illegally throwing it off of the pitch?

Answer: Yes. Illegally carrying a ball off of the pitch is a back to hoops offense, while illegally throwing a ball off of the pitch is a yellow card offense (7.2.5.).

17. (7.2.6.) Issue: Blue Beater throws a bludger at Red Chaser. Red Chaser fully blocks the bludger with the quaffle, and the bludger bounces out of the player area into the spectator area. Which team’s beater does the referee allow to retrieve the bludger?

Answer: Blue team’s beater. Although the blue team was the last one that technically “touched” the bludger, because the red chaser caused the bludger to go out of play, the blue team is the one the referee allows to retrieve the bludger (7.2.6.).

18. (7.2.7.) Issue: Do physical contact rules apply even if players are off the pitch?

Answer: Yes. All physical contact rules remain in place. However, play must be stopped whenever players are at risk of contacting spectators or if the terrain is dangerous, within approximately five feet (7.2.7.). It is up to the referee to determine if players are endangering spectators.

19. (7.4.1.3.D.) Issue: A player intentionally kicks a ball off of the pitch. A referee stops play and issues a yellow card for propelling a ball off the pitch without attempting to score, complete a pass, or knock-out an opponent (7.2.5.B.). Does that ball stay off the pitch? Or is it given to the other team?

Answer: The ball must be retrieved and given to the opposing team before play is resumed. Balls possessed by a player at the time of a yellow card are given to the closest eligible player on the other team (7.4.1.3.D.).

Bludger immunity rule of thumb: Beaters who attempt to game the system and control the third bludger are guilty of bludger guarding if they do not allow the opponents to retrieve abludger. The guarding rules, however, never restrain a beater from throwing a bludger at an opponent who is eligible to be knocked out.

20. (7.4.2.6.) Issue: Blue Team has bludger control. Red Beater raises her fist to signal knockout immunity and proceeds to retrieve the third bludger. Blue Beater sees this, drops her bludger, and moves a few steps away. Blue Beater then picks up the bludger that was the third bludger and beats Red Beater. Is Blue Beater guilty of guarding the third bludger?

Answer: Yes. An act of juggling or dropping-and-picking-up bludgers in an attempt to control all three, such as that described above, constitutes guarding. Blue Beater must be sent back to hoops (or receive a yellow card, for repeat offenders) for guarding the third bludger (7.4.2.6.). Keep in mind, if Red Beater takes any action other than attempting to obtain the third bludger while her fist is raised, she must receive a yellow card (7.4.3.)

21. (7.4.2.6.) Issue: Blue team has bludger control. Red Beater raises her fist and goes to retrieve the third bludger. Blue Beater throws the bludger she is holding towards her own hoops and picks up the third bludger that Red Beater was originally retrieving. Is Blue Beater guilty of guarding the third bludger?

Answer: Yes. Blue Beater must be sent back to hoops for guarding the third bludger (or receive a yellow card, for repeat offenders) (7.4.2.6.). Keep in mind, if Red Beater takes any action other than attempting to obtain the third bludger before it is moved, she must receive a yellow card (7.4.3.).

22. (7.4.2.6.) Issue: Blue team has bludger control. Red Beater raises her fist and goes to retrieve the third bludger. Blue Beater throws the bludger she is holding towards the other team’s hoops and picks up the third bludger that Red Beater was originally retrieving. Is Blue Beater guilty of guarding the third bludger?

Answer: No. Throwing a bludger to an opponent, including towards the other team’s hoops, does not constitute guarding. However, if the blue beaters continue to pursue and control the third bludger rather than allowing an opponent to retrieve it, they may still be guilty of guarding the third bludger (7.4.2.6.).

23. (7.4.2.6.) Issue: Blue team has bludger control. Red Beater raises her fist and goes to retrieve the third bludger. Blue Beater throws the bludger she is holding towards Red Chaser, attempting to beat him. After the bludger has left her hand, Blue Beater picks up the third bludger that Red Beater was originally retrieving. Is Blue Beater guilty of guarding the third bludger?

Answer: No. Unlike the situation above, Blue Beater is not guilty of guarding the third bludger because she is attempting to beat a player on Red team. Keep in mind, if Blue Beater attempted to beat the Red Beater that was retrieving the third bludger, that would be considered guarding (7.4.2.6.).

24. (7.4.3.) Issue: Blue team has bludger control. Red Beater has a bludger and throws it at Blue Beater, but misses, and the bludger hits the ground and becomes dead. Red Beater puts his fist up to signify immunity before Blue Beater releases and throws her bludger and hits Red Beater. Is Red Beater knocked out?

Answer: Red beater is not knocked out. Immunity occurs when the beater’s thrown ball becomes dead and after said beater’s fist is raised. To gain immunity, the fist must be raised before the opposing beater’s bludger is released (7.4.3.).

25. (7.4.3.) Issue: Blue team has bludger control. Red Beater releases her bludger at an opponent, and claims immunity before it hits the ground. Blue Beater hits Red Beater with a bludger. Who should be penalized?

Answer: Red Beater must receive a yellow card. A beater may not claim immunity while a bludger that her team threw is still live (7.4.3.). Since this was done intentionally to deceive, Red Beater should receive a yellow card.

26. (8.3.12.) Issue: Does a snitch get a three-second head start after a stoppage in play?

Answer: No. The snitch is fair game immediately after the whistle, so long as they were not ruled as “down” before play was stopped (8.3.12.). If the snitch was ruled as down, a three-second head start must be given.

27. What is the rule for advantage calls in overtime?

Answer: If the referee makes an advantage call during overtime, the overtime clock is paused until the foul is resolved, via the referee stopping play or a goal. This way, a team may not attempt to run out the overtime clock by intentionally fouling.

28. (7.2.3.B.) If a beater is standing still when a chaser releases the quaffle, and the quaffle is headed directly for that beater, is the beater required to move out of the way?

Answer: No, the beater may stand still. Rule 7.2.3.B. states, “A beater or seeker may not intentionally position herself to block the quaffle, but if the quaffle hits her while she is otherwise fielding her position, there is no penalty.” It is a yellow card if the beater intentionally positions herself to block the quaffle, but standing still prior to the quaffle’s release does not constitute such positioning.

29. (6.3.1.3.) If a beater is standing still in a spot with the intention of forcing an opposing chaser to run into her or around her (so as to avoid running into her), is the beater penalized?

Answer: Yes, the beater must receive a yellow card. Rule 6.3.1.3. states that a player may not set a pick against or block out an opponent, defined as “A player positioning his body with the intention of causing an opponent to run into him or in any way make physical contact.” Standing still can constitute such illegal positioning. Note that the defense “I didn’t want him to run into me, I wanted him to run around me” is still a violation of this rule, and results in a yellow card as stated above.

30. (7.2.5.B. and 6.4.1.3.D.) Red Chaser throws the quaffle at a hoop. Blue Beater throws a bludger at the quaffle, hitting it so hard that it travels outside of the player area before it is touched by any player. Which team is entitled to the quaffle?

Answer: Blue team is entitled to the quaffle, as red team was the last to touch it before it left the player area. However, this is a very risky strategy: if the bludger that Blue Beater threw travels outside of the player area, she must receive a yellow card per rule 7.2.5.B: “A player may not intentionally propel a ball off the pitch without attempting to score, complete a pass to a player on the pitch, or knock out an opponent.” If the bludger misses, or hits but still travels outside of the boundary, Blue Beater must receive a yellow card, and depending on the situation, the quaffle could be returned to the Red Team per rule 6.4.1.3.D.

31. What is the call if a chaser on Team A reaches for the quaffle and a chaser on Team B attempts to kick the ball away?

Answer: Touching the quaffle with hands and kicking the quaffle are both legal plays. If a player attempts to kick the quaffle before anyone has touched it, and does not make contact with a player, there should be no card.  If a player attempts to kick a quaffle and makes contact with an opposing player, then a penalty should be called, absent extreme circumstances. The standard penalty for a kick that hits a player should be a yellow card, however, referee discretion can be used to determine the severity of the penalty (If the kick is egregiously reckless, comes extremely late, or makes contact with the abdomen or face then a red card may be warranted.) 

This interpretation also applies to beaters going for a bludger.

32. (3. 4. 1. 2.) Are seekers required to return to the scorekeeper at the end of the seeker floor? Must the seeker position always be filled?

Answer: Rule 3.4.1.2 establishes that there is a seeker floor and establishes that the seekers may wander the pitch, but they can be required to return to the scorekeeper at the end of the floor so the scorekeeper may release them. There must be a player in the position of seeker at all times during the game.

33. (3. 4.1.3.) What is the longest seeker floor that may be established?

Answer: Rule 3.4.1.3 establishes that the seeker floor must be between 0-10 minutes. Therefore games may have no floor, or may have a floor of any length between 0 and 10 minutes, but a game may not have a seeker floor longer than 10 minutes.

34. (3.4.1.4.) Is there a minimum or maximum return time for the snitch that must be established?

Answer: Rule 3.4.1.4 establishes that the TD and head referee may establish the return time for the snitch, this can be any amount of time as determined at the tournament. The snitch runner may be asked not to leave the pitch at all, to return during the seeker floor, or to return at any time after the seeker floor is over.

35. (7.2.6.A.) The blue team takes a shot and misses, the quaffle goes out of the back of the player area behind the red team’s hoops. No one from the red team touches the quaffle. What is the proper procedure?
 
Answer:  As written in the rulebook, under rule 7.2.6.A., at any time the quaffle enters the spectator area, the Head Referee must stop play and issue the quaffle to the player from the defending team nearest where it went out, if they did not touch it last, at the spot it left the field of play or the nearest player on the attacking team, if they did not touch it last, at a spot just inside the keeper zone line-- unless the player knocking the quaffle out of the player area was the keeper in her own keeper zone, in which case the quaffle goes to that keeper.
 
This has led to significant stoppage of play time when properly enforced and has been generally ignored or not enforced as a result. Therefore Rules Team is issuing the following CHANGES to this procedure, effective immediately and in force at World Cup VII:
  1. The quaffle still becomes dead immediately after crossing the plane of the player area boundary and possession should be turned over to the team that did not last touch the quaffle (the exception for the keeper in her own zone is still in effect); however, the head referee is not required to stop play and may instead give a signal indicating the proper possession, unless the quaffle goes out of bounds in the keeper zone and possession is to be given to the attacking team (see 5 below)
  2. This must be visual and verbal- such as shouting- “blue ball!” and pointing in the direction of the appropriate team.
  3. Once this has been established a referee may assign a player from the appropriate team to enter the spectator area and retrieve the quaffle, or a referee may retrieve the quaffle quickly either by entering the spectator zone or by being passed the quaffle by a spectator.
  4. The quaffle must reenter the player area as close as possible to the spot it went out of the boundary and the appropriate player must establish position 2 feet inside the player boundary. The player is immune from being knocked out until they receive the quaffle at this spot and then move, pass, or otherwise engage in play. 
  5. If the quaffle goes out of the keeper zone and possession is to be retained by the attacking team then play must be stopped and all procedures under 7.2.6.B. remain in force. Reminder: The player who is given the quaffle should be the closest eligible player to where the quaffle went out, this player is then moved to a spot on the keeper zone line 2 feet inside the pitch boundary. Only after the player is in position with the quaffle should play be restarted. There is no immunity.
  6. The Head Referee may still stop play when the quaffle exits the player area in any circumstances that the referee would deem such a stoppage appropriate.

36. (3.3.6.) The red team chaser carries the quaffle out of the keeper zone and stops, standing still in one place with two red team beaters with bludgers guarding her. Does this constitute delay of game?

Answer: Yes, according to rule 3.3.6. it is delay of game if a team does not attempt to advance the quaffle.
 
The exact determination of what constitutes delay of game is at the discretion of the referee, within the following guidelines:
A. The following scenarios, and any that can reasonably considered fitting in the same categories, should not be considered delay of game:
  1. After moving forward to attack, the offense passes backwards, including resetting the quaffle to the keeper zone. Though not technically “advancing” the quaffle, the play allows the offense to set up strategically and gameplay is not affected. (See B.3. below for exceptions.)
  2. The quaffle carrier is forced by the defense to stop, or is on the ground and unable to continue moving.
  3. The quaffle carrier moves slowly up the pitch with the ball, in this case as long as the quaffle is being advanced it is the responsibility of the defense to engage the offense.
B. The following scenarios, and others that reasonably fit these categories, should be considered delay of game in most circumstances:
  1. The offense moves forward with the ball and stops moving completely, without being forced to do so by the defense, including in the situation described in the original question, where the quaffle carrier stands still behind guards.
  2. It is legal for beaters to guard a quaffle that is still on the ground, but both teams must make a reasonable effort to gain possession of the quaffle and restart quaffle play. 
  3. The offense routinely or repeatedly passes back to reset the quaffle in the keeper zone. Particularly when the defense has not yet engaged the quaffle carrier in any way.

In these situations, and any other, it is necessary for the head ref to first issue a warning before issuing a yellow card for delay of game. In this way teams are assured of understanding the referee’s notion of what constitutes delay of game and should ensure a fair game for both teams.