:: Rugby Style Kickers ::
From Enzo. . .

To all officials, but mostly referees, at some levels, and at times To all officials, but mostly
referees, at some levels, and at times interpretation rendered by State Interpreter Bill Witte
on the some of our schools, use the rugby style punt. Below is an some of our schools,
use the rugby style punt. Below is an interpretation rendered by State Interpreter Bill Witte
on the guidelines to use when judging a running/roughing a rugby style punter. Please
read it and follow it, and do not confuse it with what you may see on TV (the College
interpretation is that running/roughing does not occur outside the tackle box).

Bill Witte's Interpretation. . .
Pertinent Rules (that I suspect you have already read)…
  • 2-32-8 A kicker is anyone who legally punts, drop kicks, or place kicks. A player
    becomes a kicker when his knee, lower leg, or foot makes contact with the ball. He
    continues to be a kicker until he has had a reasonable opportunity to regain his
    balance, he has advanced 5 yards beyond a free-kick line, the ball has touched the
    ground or any other player.
  • 9-4-5-a A defensive player shall not run into or rough the kicker OTHER THAN
    WHEN…
  • a. contact is unavoidable because it is not reasonably certain that a kick will be
    made.
  • b. The defense touches the kick near the kicker and contact is unavoidable.

Pertinent Case Book Situations:
  • 9.4.5 Situation B: K1 (in scrimmage kick formation) muffs the snap but quickly
    recovers and begins to run. K1 then changes his mind and… (a) punts on the run;
    or (b) abruptly stops and punts. R1 is unable to stop his charge and forcibly
    contacts K1. Ruling: No foul in either (a) or (b) because it was not certain that K1
    was going to kick the ball.
  • Book Comment: It is always roughing the kicker if the contact could have been
    avoided regardless of whether or not it is apparent a kick would have been made.
    Only unavoidable contact is ignored if it is not reasonably certain a kick will be made.

Pertinent study videos:

  1. My thoughts: This style of punt/run requires a very athletic & talented player. Very few
    can players do this successfully (which is why it is on youtube.com). It may not
    seem fair but the casebook’s final word makes it clear that, unless contact is
    unavoidable (even if it is not reasonably certain a kick will be made) it is a foul. So
    the pertinent things to look for here are…
  2. Was it not reasonably certain a kick will be made? (the rugby style kick and run likely
    fulfills this requirement) but ADDITIONALLY…
  3. Was the defensive player’s charge “unavoidable”? Note that it does not say WHY it
    was “unavoidable”. My thought is that an attempted tackle of a runner is a fair & valid
    reason to make contact unavoidable (but that’s just me). In other words, contact
    was not made for the sole purpose of roughing.

Summary:
This is certainly a judgement call (perhaps why the casebook is so sketchy) but, as much
as some may not like it, the key (by rule) has to be whether contact (for any reason) was
unavoidable.
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