Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Kickoff Rules Notable Changes Seek to Curtail Injuries

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New Kickoff Rules Notable Changes Seek to Curtail Injuries

Article excerpt

With the major college football season kicking off this week, those kickoffs will be 5 yards closer to midfield.

The most notable and noticeable of several rules changes made by the NCAA rules committee for this season moved the spot of kickoffs up from the 30 to the 35-yard line. Also, the kicking teams can line up no more than 5 yards from the 35 when the ball is kicked. And when a touchback does occur on a kickoff, the offense will start at the 25-yard line instead of the 20.

The reasoning is simple: More touchbacks should equal fewer injuries.

"NCAA data indicates injuries during kickoffs occur more often than in other phases of the game," the NCAA said on its website.

In addition, the receiving team will be able to call for a fair catch on those high-bouncing, one-hop onside kicks that often result in players taking hard hits with no way to defend themselves.

Not everybody was thrilled with the change.

"No, I'm not in favor," Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said. "I'm in favor of the safety in the game, and that was the intent. I can appreciate the intent. No problem with that. Don't really like from a strategic standpoint the rule itself. You know, it doesn't completely dissolve what the issues were, depending on the strength of the leg of your kicker."

Generally, though, the changes have received a thumbs up.

"I think anything that can help with the injuries is a positive," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "Heck, the NFL is doing it. We ought to do it. Some of the big blows and the big injuries do come with those big collisions on kickoffs and to limit some of those, I think is a good thing."

The NFL made a similar move last season, moving the spot of kickoffs up 5 yards to the 35, though touchbacks still came out to the 20, and cutting down the running starts for the coverage teams. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.