Ask the Official: Kickers and offside penalties

By Adam Wire | Posted 1/8/2018

Welcome to Ask the Official, a weekly blog series from USA Football. We’ve teamed up with Bill LeMonnier, USA Football rules editor, who’s served as a college football referee and also works with ESPN as a rules analyst. Look for LeMonnier’s blog every week during football season, as we take reader-submitted questions or revisit a controversial play that took place the previous weekend. See below for information on how to submit your questions. Here’s today’s topic:

RELATED CONTENT: Ask the Official: What football rules would you change?

Q: How much of a kicker’s body can be over the line on a kickoff before the kicker is called for offside? For example, can a kicker who's attempting an onside kick step past the 40-yard line with his plant leg, then sweep the other leg across the ball?

A: "There's no restriction on the the kicker being over the line before a kick. This applies to National Federation of State High School Associations and the NCAA.

"We're seeing teams 'show' one player as the potential kicker, but another player actually kicks the ball ... the 'no restriction' on offside, at least four players on each side of the ball at the kick, and the 5-yard restraining area apply to everyone except the player who actually kicks the ball."

RELATED CONTENT: Ask the Official: Controversial call in James Madison vs. Weber State playoff game

USA Football Rules Editor Bill LeMonnier is a former college football referee who currently serves as an ESPN NCAA rules analyst. Click here to ask Bill a question. Make sure to put “Ask the Official” in the subject line.