The NCAA has taken another step in discouraging kickoffs in college football.
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a rule that will allow the receiving team to call a fair catch inside the 25-yard line and have it result in a touchback. The Football Rules Committee proposed the rule to “continue efforts to increase the number of touchbacks during kickoffs” to reduce injuries.
There have been a series of kickoff rule changes over the past several years. In 2012, kickoffs were moved from the 30-yard line to the 35. That same year, the starting position after touchbacks was changed from the 20-yard line to the 25.
The panel also approved rules regarding blocks below the waist and pace of play.
The offense will not be able to block below the waist five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Interior offensive lineman are the only players allowed to block below the waist from behind.
Pace of play changes include the play clock being set at 40 seconds after a touchdown to expedite the extra point or two-point conversion attempt. Additionally, following a kickoff, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds to restart play more quickly.