Rule 6 - Kicks
SECTION 3. Scrimmage Kicks
Article 1 - Behind the Neutral Zone
a. A scrimmage kick that fails to cross the neutral zone continues in play. All players may catch or recover the ball behind the neutral zone and advance it. (A.R.6-3-1:I-III)
b. The blocking of a scrimmage kick by an opponent of the kicking team who is not more than three yards beyond the neutral zone is considered to have occurred within or behind that zone (Rule 2-11-5).
Article 2 - Beyond the Neutral Zone
a. No inbounds player of the kicking team shall touch a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone before it touches an opponent. This is illegal touching, a violation that, when the ball becomes dead, gives the receiving team the privilege of taking the ball at the spot of the violation (Exception: Rule 6-3-4)(A.R. 2-12-2:I) (A.R. 6-3-2:I).
b. This privilege is cancelled if there is an accepted penalty for a live-ball foul by either team (A.R. 6-3-2:I-IV)(A.R. 6-3-11:I-III).
c. The privilege is cancelled if there are offsetting fouls.
d. Illegal touching in Team A’s end zone is ignored. Illegal touching on a try results in no score. Illegal touching in an extra period results in team possession ending.
Article 3 - All Become Eligible
Article 4 - Forced Touching Disregarded
a. A player blocked by an opponent into a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone shall not, while inbounds, be deemed to have touched the kick. (A.R. 6-3-4:I-V)(A.R. 2-11-4:I)
b. An inbounds player touched by a ball either batted or illegally kicked by an opponent is not deemed to have touched the ball. (Rule 2-11-4-c)(A.R. 6-3-4:II).
Article 5 - Catch or Recovery by Receiving Team
Article 6 - Catch or Recovery by Kicking Team
a. If a player of the kicking team catches or recovers a scrimmage kick that has crossed the neutral zone, the ball becomes dead. (A.R. 6-3-1:IV) The ball belongs to the receiving team at the dead-ball spot, unless the kicking team is in legal possession when the ball is declared dead. In the latter case, the ball belongs to the kicking team (Exception: Rule 8-4-2-b).
b. If opposing players who are each eligible to touch the ball simultaneously catch or recover a scrimmage kick, the simultaneous possession makes the ball dead. A kick declared dead in joint possession of opposing players is awarded to the receiving team (Rules 2-4-4 and 4-1-3-l).
Article 7 - Out of Bounds Between Goal Lines or at Rest Inbounds
Article 8 - Out of Bounds Behind Goal Line
Article 9 - Touching Ground On or Behind Goal Line
Article 10 - Legal and Illegal Kicks
a. A legal scrimmage kick is a punt, drop kick or place kick made according to rule.
b. A return kick is an illegal kick, a live-ball foul that causes the ball to become dead (Rule 2-16-8).
PENALTY − For a return kick (live-ball foul): five yards from the spot of the foul [S31: KIK].
c. A scrimmage kick made when the kicker’s entire body is beyond the neutral zone is an illegal kick, a live-ball foul that causes the ball to become dead.
PENALTY − For an illegal kick beyond the neutral zone (live-ball foul): Five yards from the previous spot and loss of down [S31 and S9: KIK].
d. No device or material may be used to mark the spot of a scrimmage place kick or elevate the ball. This is a live-ball foul at the snap.
PENALTY − Five yards from the previous spot [S19: KIK].
Article 11 - Loose Behind the Goal Line
Article 12 - Out of Bounds Player
No Team A player who goes out of bounds during a scrimmage kick play may return inbounds during the down (Exception: This does not apply to a Team A player who is blocked out of bounds and attempts to return inbounds immediately).
PENALTY − Live-ball foul. Five yards from the previous spot or if the scrimmage kick crosses the neutral zone, five yards from the spot where the subsequent dead ball belongs to Team B. [S19: OBK].
Article 13 - Fouls By Kicking Team
Article 14 - Defensive Linemen on Scrimmage Kick Plays
ARTICLE 14. a. If Team A is in a scrimmage kick formation at the snap, any Team B player within one yard of the line of scrimmage must be aligned completely outside the frame of the body of the snapper at the snap (A.R. 6-3-14:I-II). b. If Team A is in a formation to attempt a place kick (field goal or try), it is illegal for three Team B players on their line of scrimmage inside the free-blocking zone to align shoulder-to-shoulder and move forward together after the snap with primary contact against a single Team A player (A.R. 6-3-14:III-IV). PENALTY − Live-ball foul. Five yards, previous spot [S19: IFD].