Every player fits into one of the above three categories. Over time, players can mover from one status to another.
At 16U and above, the league is open competitive. That is to say, there is no restriction (territory or otherwise) on where a player new to the league can play.
ROSTER PROTECTION RULE
No team can sign players from the current or previous year's ENYTB roster of another member's team without a release. The latter are referred to as Protected Players. Recruiting another team's protected player is tampering. Tampering is a serious league offense.
Roster protection is applicable at all age divisions with one exception. RULE 89A - 13 YEAR OLD EXEMPTION (passed Spring, 2005) states that ANY 13 year old player who played in ENYTB in the prior year is eligible for a non-discretionary release provided:(a) he is electing to play for a franchise or co-franchise member; (b) did not play for a franchise or co-franchise member in the previous year; and,(c) he follows league protocol for obtaining a non-discretionary release i.e., same as a restricted free agent.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENT
At ages 15U and under, full franchise members onlyenjoy a special territorial based right of refusal in connection with "original" players that reside in their franchise area. An original player is defined as a player who has not participated in ENYTB play previously. Full franchise members are assigned a specific geographic area, based on school districts, known as a franchise area.
Original players usually, but not always, prefer to play for their home area franchise (if there is one). When this is not the case, regardless of the reason, the league does NOT require the player to play for member in his home area, other than to ensure that the player is fully aware of the opportunities available with his or her home area franchise. What this means is that original players are bound to follow a procedure that grants the home franchise a full opportunity to persuade him or her to sign with them. The league Constitution classifies such players as restricted free agents and contains explicit rules governing this procedure, including a timetable. If time expires and the restricted free agent has not been persuaded to sign with his home franchise, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent, free to sign with the league franchise of his or her choice. This is also referred to as a non-discretionary release in that the player's home area club has no choice but to grant the release, provided the player and his family made themselves available to the home area club for its presentation of its own program.
Thus, every new league player coming into the league, age 15 and younger, is free to begin play with any team in the league, provided he follows the league's protocol for a non-discretionary release. Once started in the league, a player becomes protected. For a protected player to change teams, he needs to obtain a release from the club he last played for in this league. Clubs are not required to release their protected players i.e., releases of protected players are discretionary. However, if a protected player is refused a release, he can become a free agent by sitting out of league play for a complete season. He may also qualify for a non-discretionary release under any of the exemptions listed in Section 16.7.
For a more detailed discussion of ENYTB's player rules and tampering rules, see Articles XVI and XVII of the League Constitution.