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NCAA Approves 2018 Kickoff Rule Change; Impacts Fair Catches Within 25-Yard Line

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A drastic change is coming to college football in 2018 as player safety continues to be a top priority.

According to Greg Johnson of NCAA.com, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule for kickoffs, with fair catches anywhere inside the 25-yard line resulting in touchbacks and the football being placed at the 25-yard line.

Previously, touchbacks only occurred when the kickoff was fielded in the end zone.

The new rule could help prevent teams from trying to pin opponents deep in their own territory by skying the kickoff and not giving them much of a chance at a return. In the past, any fair catch in the field of play resulted in the ball being placed at the spot where it was fielded.


Rules have been tweaked in recent years to try to encourage touchbacks. And it's not just college football that's been affected—the NFL eliminated kickoffs from the Pro Bowl.

The new fair catch rule is the most drastic change that will go into effect next season, but it's not the only one. Offensive players will not be allowed to block below the waist more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, all blocks below the waist except by interior linemen must be head-on, and a 10-second runoff will occur when instant replay overturns a call inside the final minute of a half on a play in which the clock would not have been stopped.

The full list of rule changes can be viewed on the NCAA's official website.

So, how long before kickoffs are removed from the game entirely?


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