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NCAA Announces Major Rule Change To College Football

Western Michigan fields a kickoff during game at USC.

A significant rule change is coming to college football, and fans of kickoffs won't be happy with the NCAA's ruling. The traditional kickoff is no more. In the past, a kickoff that was either downed in the end zone or booted through the back of the end zone would result in a touchback.

Earlier this month, the NCAA proposed adding another way for a kickoff to result in a touchback. On Friday afternoon, that proposition passed. So what does the new rule stipulate? The new rule means that players who fair catch the ball between their 25-yard-line and the end zone will be awarded a touchback.

It's a significant shift for the college game with a clear emphasis on removing violent hits during kickoffs from the game of football at the collegiate level.

The NCAA made the announcement Friday afternoon:

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved altering football’s kickoff rules to allow the receiving team to fair catch the kick inside the 25-yard line and have it result in a touchback.

The Football Rules Committee made the proposal to continue efforts to increase the number of touchbacks during kickoffs since fewer injuries occur during kickoffs that result in touchbacks than on kickoffs that are returned. All other aspects of the kickoff play will remain the same.

The NCAA announced this new rule - and a handful of others you can find on its website - were approved by the Oversight Panel this afternoon. It's clear the new rule is in the interest of player safety, but it will be interesting to see how teams adjust.

Is this good for the game?