By: Brian Rauf
The NCAA Football Rules Committee has recommended several rule changes in an effort to enhance player safety for the upcoming season. It is a non-rules change year in the two year cycle process, but the committee met Tuesday through Thursday in Charlotte, N.C. to discuss things nonetheless.
All rule changes must be sent for comment to the NCAA members and then be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel. The Panel will meet via conference call on February 21.
The proposed rules changes are as followed:
Starting Kickoff and Touchback Lines Moved: This rule would move kickoffs up from the 30-yard line to the 35 (a la the NFL) and would require kicking team players must be no farther than 5 yards behind the ball. The rule would also move touchbacks out to the 25 yard line instead of the 20. NCAA data shows that more injuries occur on kickoffs than any other aspect of the game.
Additional Protection to Kick Returner: The kick returner will be provided additional protection to complete the catch before allowing contact. This rule is open to the interpretation of the officiating crew.
Blocking Below the Waist: Offensive players whom are in the tackle box and not in motion can legally block below the waist. All other players can not block the opposition below the waist, with the exception of straight ahead blocks.
Sheild Blocking on Punting Plays: Members on the receiving team can not jump over blockers on the kicking team unless the jump is between two blockers or is straight up and down.
Loss of Helmet During Play: If a player loses his helmet, he has to leave the game and can not return on the next play (treated like an injury), as well as not being able to participate in the remainder of that play in which he lost his helmet to protect him from injury. This rule can not be exploited to gain an advantage from stopping the clock.