Onside kick attempt blocking

I’m trying to understand when players on the kicking team can make contact with players on the receiving team?

I’m specifically looking for TAPPS application. I don’t see wording in their rules that speaks to this aspect but I believe they follow NCAA rules which states “A kicking player may NOT block until the kicking team is eligible to touch the ball.” I interpret that to mean a kicking team player can’t block of physically “box out” a receiving team player until the ball has travelled 15 yards OR a receiving team player has touched it.

Thanks for any confirmation or correction.


Active member
There is no change to that rule for six-man football in general or TAPPS specifically. Your interpretation is also correct.
Unless the receiving player crosses the restraining line, at which point he gives ups his protection.
That’s a key point of confusion for me. I can’t find any rule that speaks to this. Everything I see in both TAPPS and NCAA rules indicate that a receiving player crossing the retraining line doesn’t matter. That act (crossing the restraining line) doesn’t make the ball live and blocking initiated by the kicking team isn’t allowed until the ball is live.

If you have a specific citation or rule that clarifies this, I’d love to see it. Not arguing, just trying to understand.
Here's the relevant rules:

Rule 6-1-2-c-7: (When the ball is kicked), All Team B players must be behind their restraining line. (pretty straightforward.)

Rule 6-1-12: No Team A player may block an opponent until Team A is eligible to touch a free kicked ball. (also pretty straightforward.)

So when is Team A eligible to touch a free kicked ball?

Rule 6-1-3-a1, a2, and a3: No Team A player may touch a free-kicked ball until after: a1) it touches a team B player, a2) breaks the plane and remains beyond B's restraining line, or a3) touches any player, the ground, an official or anything else beyond B's restraining line.

So, essentially, no blocks on B until the ball goes 15, or is touched by B. The only requirement for B, is that they are behind their restraining line when the ball is kicked. They can certainly come up to attempt to field an onside kick that has not gone 15, and must be given the unimpeded opportunity to do so. Once they touch the ball, or the ball goes 15, however, they may be blocked. So if the kick only goes 12 yards, and B comes up to cover it, he cannot be blocked from recovering the ball.


Active member
If B crosses the restraining line he surrenders his protection. By my understanding having had this discussion in 2019 at the state championship game. It's the same thing as if a punter starts to run his or a place holder stands up their protection is no longer in effect.


Active member
Cavman1, I'll respectfully disagree with you. A member of Team B does not lose his protection by crossing the restraining line after the ball has been kicked. If the ball has only travelled 11 yards so far and a member of Team B advances to try to recover it and is blocked from doing so by a member of Team A, that is a foul on the Team A blocker.

Nothing in the rule states that the Team B player loses his protection from being blocked. In your example of a punter leaving the tackle box, there is a specific rule which states that the protection terminates when he leaves the tackle box. That doesn't exist for this rule.

There is a much grayer area regarding if Team B advances beyond the line but isn't making any effort to recover the kick. Is Team A really blocking those players (and committing a foul) or are they just meeting the contact/block that's being thrown at them? If the Team B player isn't making a genuine attempt to recover the ball or get in position to do so, Team A's actions could rightfully be said not to meet the definition of blocking if they are just answering an imminent block coming at them. It's, sadly, another one of those judgment calls where intent plays a major factor.
Agreed with Bobby and Zero. Team B simply crossing the restraining line does not absolve Team A of a foul here. If Team B initiates the contact, then Team A can defend themselves and ward off that contact. But if Team A initiates the contact, the location of the block is irrelevant.


Active member
That is what I had always believed and understood. Brought this up with the league and the officials prior to the game. and was told that if we came forward we surrendered our protection. Granted the officiating group being used was not very good.