There was a nice discussion on some other thread about whether there should have been a penalty called when Roundtree was pushed out of bounds just prior to an interception by some Alabama defender. I bring it up here as I am just curious if there are any "real" referees out there who know the rules well enough to judge the play.
Let us assume (for the sake of argument) that the ball was NOT in the air, and therefore rule out pass interference.
It is pretty clear from the rulebook that other contact IS legal, i.e., there is no NFL-like non-contact rule after five yards. Thus, a defender can often block (above the waist) a receiver who is running out there.
However, I contend that there still should have been a penalty on the play. This is from my read of what I think is a relevant rule (Rule 9, Section 3, Article 4, Part c):
"Defensive players may ward off or legally block an eligible pass receiver until that player occupies the same yard line as the defender or until the opponent could not possibly block him. Continuous contact is illegal."
I believe the key passage is that you can ward off or legally block a pass receiver "until that player occupies the same yard line as the defender". Roundtree was clearly even with or slightly beyond the defender.
But, I don't really know the rules very well. So, refs out there, should a penatly have been called?
(as an attempt to ward off certain comments which may arise, yes, Michigan still would have lost by a lot to a much better team regardless of this call)