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College Football/NCAA rule for illegal kick


Fourth and 10 at the A-5. B77 blocks the punt. A21 kicks the loose ball from the A-2 into the endzone where it goes out of bounds at the endline.

What are the options for team B?
there is the obvious safety, but can they get the ball at A-1? (after enforcement of the penealty from the spot of the foul + loss of down?)
If you can explain the reasoning behind the right answer I'll be most grateful.


From your question i assume the original legal kick [punt] did not cross the LOS] and you are using NCAA Rules.  Team A committed a foul at the A-2 yard line  by illegally kicking the ball - this is a live ball foul behind the Line of Scrimmage (LOS) on a kick play that did not go beyond the neutral zone.  The result of the play is a safety when the ball goes in and out of the end zone becoming dead behind the goal line.   So B has two options.  By may decline the foul and accept the result of the play - a safety and 2 points for Team B; Or, Team B may choose to accept the foul and have the penalty administered.  

The rule as you know is that A player shall not kick a loose ball, a forward pass or a ball being held for a place kick by an opponent. These illegal acts do not change the status of the loose ball or forward pass; but if the player holding the ball for a place kick loses possession during a scrimmage down, it is a fumble and a loose ball; if during a free kick, the ball remains dead The Penalty is a 10 yard penalty and loss of down.  (two years ago the rule was changed and the penalty yardage was reduced from a 15 yard penalty to a 10 yard penalty for illegal batting or kicking a loose ball)Since the ball is snapped by Team A at the A-5 yard line the penalty is half the distance tot he goal not the full 10 yards .  Rule 10-2-2-d-4 provides that the enforcement spot is the Previous spot, on legal kick plays unless the foul is governed by postscrimmage kick rules.  This was a legal kick play - it was a scrimmage kick [punt play] that was blocked.  Rule 10-2-4 provides Penalties for all fouls by the kicking team other than kick-catch interference  during a free kick play or a scrimmage kick play (except field goal attempts) are enforced either at the previous spot or at the spot where the subsequent dead ball belongs to Team B, at the option of Team B.  Therefore B's options remain the safety or they may take the ball because of the loss of down penalty which makes it B's ball 1st Down since team B to use the he foul loss of down occurred on a 4th down play. The enforcement spot is the previous spot (A-5 yard line); also very important, the 3-1 principle would allow B to use the spot of the foul on this loose ball play behind the line of scrimmage when the ball had not gone "beyond" so in using the 3 in 1 principle for penalty enforcement B may forego the 10-2-2 and 10-2-4 rule and have the enforcement spot at the spot of the foul. Thus B's Ball 1st & Goal at the A-1 and the clock starts on the Ready.  Below I will take you though how Rule 10-2-2  and 10-2-4 work.

Administer the penalty from the previous spot (the A-5 yard line).  This is half the distance so the succeeding spot or the next spot where Team B will snap from is the 2 1/2 yard line.  The foul is not administer from the spot of the foul, if it were then you would be correct the next spot would be the A-1 yard line, but because of Rules 10-2-2-d-4 and 10-2-4 the enforcement spot is the previous spot.  

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Vic Winnek


Liability Issues (Legal & Insurance) arising from coaching, playing, refereeing, product liability; Football injury cases.


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