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Ivy League moving kickoffs up to 40-yard line for 2016 season

If the move reduces injuries, could we see this rule change expand to the rest of college football?

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The Ivy League is moving forward with an experimental rule that will move kickoffs up to the 40-yard line in an effort to improve player safety. Standard kickoffs in college football come from the 35-yard line, and moving them forward five yards is an attempt to boost touchbacks and decrease the number of dangerous hits that frequently happen on return plays. As part of the rule change, touchbacks will result in the ball being placed at the 20-yard line, moving it back from the 25.

The change could serve as a pilot program of sorts, considering both the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee and the American Football Coaches Association have had discussions on the topic, according to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd. The Ivy League will be tracking kickoff and injury data this season and reporting their findings to the NCAA Football Rules Committee after the season.

We're on board with getting rid of kickoffs. People frequently describe the play as exciting, but the vast majority of kick returns are short and boring, if there's even a return at all. Football is a dangerous game and risk can't entirely be legislated out, but the risk and reward equation here makes it an easy decision to axe kickoffs.

There's so much risk and so little reward, and there's nothing to stop us from replacing kickoffs with something really fun. Our own Rodger Sherman came up with some good alternatives when he was making a similar argument about the NFL earlier in 2016. Here's just one of several good and fun ideas:

After every touchdown, the scoring team has the opportunity to go for it from 20 yards for the chance to retain possession. This would probably work around as often as onside kicks, and we'd get to see a regular football play decided by each team's offense and defense rather than the whims of a funny-shaped ball. If you miss, the opponent gets the ball from the spot.

Even after the novelty of this play would wear off, it would be an exciting, important play that's decided by offenses and defenses. You know, football.