The NCAA Football Rules Committee has recommended several rules proposals aimed at enhancing player safety for the upcoming season following a meeting this week.
The proposed changes are:
- Moving the kickoff to the 35-yard line (currently set at the 30-yard line), and requiring kicking team players to be no further than five yards from the 35 at the kick. That's intended to limit the running start kicking teams have, thereby limiting injuries.
- Moving the touchback distance on free kicks to the 25-yard line (instead of the 20-yard line) to encourage more touchbacks.
- If a player loses his helmet for reasons other than a foul by an opponent, it will be treated like an injury and the player will have to leave the game for at least one play. Also, if a player loses his helmet, he must not participate in any play.
- In an attempt to clarify blocking below the waist rules, offensive players in the tackle box at the snap would be allowed to block below the waist legally without restriction. All other players are restricted from blocking below the waist, with a few exceptions.
- To cut down on the injury possibilities that come from players leaping over shield blocking formations on kicks, so they're simply making jumping over blockers illegal, unless the player jumps straight up or between opponents.
- Finally, the committee approved a recommendation to provide a kick returner additional protection to complete a catch before allowing contact by the kicking team, which will be up to official interpretation.
In other words, here's your list of things you'll be complaining about come September. All rules change recommendations must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which meets via conference call Feb. 21.