Blog Entry

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 12:39 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson

The NCAA announced on Friday the approval of rules changes in college football, including moving the kick off from the 30-yard line to the 35.

While the ball will be kicked from the 35, players on the kicking team can't line up for the play behind the 30-yard line. According to the NCAA, this is intended to limit the running start kicking teams used to have during the play.

Also, touchbacks on free kicks (kickoffs and punts after a safety) will be moved to the 25-yard line instead of the 20. Touchbacks on all other plays will remain at the 20-yard line. According to the Football Rules Committee, this change is meant to encourage more touchbacks from the receiving team.

These changes are a result from examining NCAA data that showed injuries occur more often on kickoffs than in any other phase of the game. By encouraging touchbacks they will limit the amount of times the play is used, especially as higher scoring (see: Big 12) has resulted in more kickoffs.

Another rule change announced Friday could end up affecting games, possibly even more so than the kickoff rules. According to the NCAA, if a player loses his helmet on the play - facemasks and fouls don't count - he must sit out the next play.

Here is the wording from the NCAA release:

Another new rule that goes into effect next season is if a player loses his helmet (other than as the result of a foul by the opponent, such as a facemask), it will be treated like an injury. The player must leave the game and is not allowed to participate for the next play.

Current injury timeout rules guard against using this rule to gain an advantage from stopping the clock. Additionally, if a player loses his helmet, he must not continue to participate in the play, in order to protect him from injury.

If a quarterback or running back loses his helmet late in the fourth quarter of a close game, you can bet coaches will be screaming for flags. Sometimes helmets just pop off, and there could be cases where there is no threat of injury. Regardless, that player must sit out the next play.

Two more adjustments announced on Friday:

The rules panel also approved new wording in the football rules book regarding blocking below the waist. Offensive players in the tackle box at the snap who are not in motion are allowed to block below the waist legally without restriction. All other players are restricted from blocking below the waist with a few exceptions (for example, straight-ahead blocks).

There will also be a new rule prohibiting players from leaping over blockers in an attempt to block a punt. Receiving-team players trying to jump over a shield-blocking scheme has become popular for teams in punt formation. Receiving-team players try to defeat this scheme by rushing into the backfield to block a punt. In some cases, these players are contacted and end up flipping in the air and landing on their head or shoulders.
At the core, all of these changes are meant with the intent of improving player safety. As more medical research reveals dangerous aspects of the sport, changes such as these will be necessary to keep football thriving.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Get College Football updates on Facebook   

Since: Mar 3, 2009
Posted on: February 27, 2012 8:18 am

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

The only change I have a problem with is the kick from the 25 after a safety. How is this gonna change the return?. Nobody can kick it into the end zone from the 20 or the 25 so why change it?

Matter of fact, the whole point of the kick from the 20 after a safety is to futher penalize the team that gave up the safety. Now you are reducing that penalty kick for them.

Doesn't make sense to me.


Since: Oct 2, 2006
Posted on: February 27, 2012 12:39 am

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

If they could figure out a way to handle the on-side kick, they would.  On-side kicks are the only thing keeping the kickoff in football.

Since: Oct 13, 2011
Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:36 pm

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

Weak...I agree, just put the ball on the 30 if its kicked out of endzone and start it on the 20 if not.

Since: Feb 19, 2007
Posted on: February 26, 2012 11:57 am

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

Same as the NFL, the apparent goal is to reduce or eliminate kickoff returns...Then why go halfway - why not just place the ball on the 25 yard line?

Since: Feb 26, 2012
Posted on: February 26, 2012 8:52 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: February 26, 2012 6:10 am

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

So much commentary from so few people who actually play the game, or dare I say, any of the emergency/medical personnel who deal with the immediate injuries or their aftermath.  If this report proves anything, it is that the real sissiness is in the rules which govern defense in the En-Ef-El.  Since 1978, when Pete Rozelle instituted the rules such as no contact five yards beyond the scrimmage line, the NFL has played shadow defense designed to pump up offensive (read passing numbers), while college football has continued with real defense.  This report shows that the real culprit for injuries is kickoff returns, not normal defensive play from the scrimmage line.  Therefore I can live with that.

Since: Mar 10, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:35 am

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes


you summed it all up.any sport has injuries. yes protect the players but at a point it goes overboard and destroys the game. They already had the fairy chatch ie fair catch rule on kicks .now with that and or booting the kick through the endzone. kickoffs dont have any gamechanging ablity anymore. its got to the point whhere you need a better kicker than qb to win games. can you say boring as all h.........

Since: Mar 10, 2008
Posted on: February 26, 2012 12:30 am

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

omg first nlf now ncaa. Bad enough they have bored catch ie fairy ops fair catch rule but now they kick it through the endzone on kickoffs. taking out any excitment of kick returns... o well extra time to get snacks, beer ,nature breakor whatever.kickoffs had the chances to change games. now not so much.

Since: Apr 22, 2007
Posted on: February 25, 2012 11:05 pm

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

As a Wisconsin fan, I love this new rule. Anything that can help the Badgers' awful kickoff coverage is more than welcome. Now they just need to find a guy who won't kick the ball out of bounds once per game.

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: February 25, 2012 10:10 pm

NCAA approves new kickoff rules, other changes

I saw a person do a future news clipping and I wanted to show some of my future headlines.

College and Pro Football to remove tackling from game and change to touch.

Hockey to ban people from fighting, and also increase pad thickness to insure puck can't touch them.

Baseball to remove wood bats with wiffle bats because wood bats break and go flying.

Soccer to, wait soccer is already pretty pathetic.

UFC to add steel plates at the end of gloves to insure maxinum punishment.

UFc is now the most popular sport in America.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or