NCAA modifies kickoff rules on fair catches

Getty Images

Getty Images

North Dakota State head coach Chris Klieman and University of North Dakota head coach Bubba Schweigert have yet to delve into the new rule and what the interpretation will be by officials but both immediately said it will likely have an effect on how they handle kickoffs in the future.

However, this year will be a little different when it comes to the college football scene as the NCAA introduced some changes for this upcoming season.

All other kickoff rules - including kicking off from the 35-yard line and starting at the 25 after a touchback - would remain the same.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved a proposal whereby players who fair catch a kickoff inside their 25-yard line would be awarded a touchback.

If any player on the receiving team signals for a fair catch inside his own 25-yard line, it results in an automatic touchback - the same as if the a player kneeled in the end zone on a kickoff.

The NCAA announced Friday the adoption of several rule changes, including changes aimed at moving games along.

"The offense will not be allowed to block below the waist when the block occurs more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage".

The panel approved the continuation of an experimental collaborative decision-making model for instant replay that is not limited to the press box in the stadium. Additionally, following a kickoff, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds to restart play more quickly.

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. "These changes will not take plays out of the game, but will positively impact the flow of the game". "It is illegal to leap over the frame of the body of an opponent".

Personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct fouls by the defense on successful field goal attempts can now be enforced on the kickoff.

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