Thursday, July 24, 2014

8.3.1 The consensus of the referees will be the final decision on any disputed point that is not clearly spelled out in these rules. The referee may increase the severity of a penalty at their discretion. Similarly, the referee may decrease the severity of a penalty to a warning as the referee sees fit.

Today’s rule comes from “Referee Discretion” under rule 8, “Officials”

Today’s rule begins a small discussion of situations where the referee has to make a decision when there is no specific rule that will govern the decision. In today’s rule, the referee has the discretion to upgrade a penalty, or downgrade a penalty as they deem necessary.

The main situation this rule applies to is when issuing a Gross Misconduct or an Expulsion. Most times a referee will not downgrade a major to a warning unless there was official error. In that case it’s not a warning; it is a simple removal of the penalty all together.

Generally, when a player commits an egregious act, the referee will issue the immediate major penalty. Once the jam is over, the officials will meet to have a decision to determine if the action warrants an expulsion. If the action, in the eyes of the officials, warrants an expulsion, then the penalty is upgraded from a major to an expulsion. If the action did not warrant an expulsion, in most cases, the “warning” is the major penalty followed by a discussion with the captain about the penalty.

It is important to remember that occasionally, if an action is deemed obviously egregious or violent, the discussion of an expulsion is not needed and an expulsion is awarded immediately. This can only take place from the head referee, since only the head referee is allowed to issue an expulsion. (

Overall, this rule allows the referees to discuss any situation and make the appropriate adjustments to penalties as needed.