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Officially speaking: substitution and too many men

We are back with another edition of “Officially Speaking.” Our guy in the trenches, WhiteHat, answers reader questions about CIS football rules. If you have a question, post in the comments below or email us at

Calvin from Calgary asks: When the Huskies played in Calgary, it looked like the Dinos sent a player in late one time on defense. What is the rule about illegal substitution? When does the bench know they can not substitute?
When two or more players break the huddle, the two side officials on the line of scrimmage raise their ‘gates’, or arms, which tells the teams that no further substitutions may be made. The referee may allow the substitution if it was close, but only if the other team is not forced to change their tactics because of the change.

Roger from Saskatoon asks: Which officials are responsible for calling too many men on the field? Do they count every play?
Each official is responsible to count players before every play. The head linesman counts the home team, while the line judge counts the visitors. The referee and umpire count the offence, and the three deep officials count the defence.

Once again, if you have any questions, please post or email.

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