In most cases, it is not illegal to fail in the attempt to do something. Fighting is an exception.
Even if a punch fails to hit the mark (PlayPic A) or an attempted kick misses (PlayPic B), the player attempting to contact the opponent is guilty of fighting (NFHS 2-11; NCAA 2-32-1a). Fighting is a personal foul, as opposed to an unsportsmanlike act.
The penalty is 15 yards.
In NCAA, the player is ejected. Team B fouls include an automatic first down. Depending on when the act occurs, discipline may carry over to the next game. The player is disqualified in NFHS. League or state discipline may follow.
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