New Rules on Kickoffs in Bid to Curtail Injuries
(AP) - When the major college football season kicks off Thursday, 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.
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.