NCAA approves new football kickoff rule

A football before a kickoff. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Expect to see more touchbacks in college football this season.

Friday, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a rule change allowing the receiving team to fair catch a kickoff inside the 25-yard line and have it result in a touchback. According to the NCAA release, this is a move made in the interest of player safety.

The Football Rules Committee made the proposal to continue efforts to increase the number of touchbacks during kickoffs since fewer injuries occur during kickoffs that result in touchbacks than on kickoffs that are returned. All other aspects of the kickoff play will remain the same.
The new rule is the latest in a series of changes the committee has made in recent years in hopes of making the play safer. Before the 2012 season, kickoffs were moved from the 30-yard line to the 35. The committee also changed the starting position on touchbacks that year so that the receiving team started its drive on the 25-yard line instead of the 20.