Home » blog » New Rules in store for College Football

Posted by on February 20th, 2012 in blog, CFF Features, Jeff Siverhus | 2 Comments

The NCAA rules committee met at the beginning of February. During this annual meeting they proposed several rule changes that could become effective in 2012. Below are the proposed new rules and my personal opinion on each one. CFF wants our reader’s opinions on this. Is the NCAA on track, or are they changing our beloved game for the worse.

One very important concern I have with any rule change is the integrity of the game. By this I mean, football by nature is a very violent and viscous game, this is one of the main reasons for its popularity. I know this is one of the main reasons I loved playing. If the powers that be aren’t careful they will/can regulate the very essence of the game out.


The proposed changes include:

• Kickoff and Touchback Starting Lines Moved
The committee voted to move the kickoff to the 35-yard line (currently set at the 30-yard line), and to require that kicking team players must be no further than five yards from the 35 at the kick, which is intended to limit the running start kicking teams have during the play. The committee also voted to move the touchback distance on free kicks to the 25-yard line instead of the 20-yard line to encourage more touchbacks. NCAA data indicates injuries during kickoffs occur more often than in other phases of the game.

This rule follows the NFL’s move last year. Data has shown that touchbacks increased when the NFL implemented this. If this rule makes the game safer, without seriously changing the integrity of the game, that is a good thing. However it will be interesting to see if some coaches use this new rule to try more positional kickoffs to pin their opponents deep.

• Loss of Helmet During Play
If a player loses his helmet (other than as the result of a foul by the opponent, like a facemask), it will be treated like an injury. The player must leave the game and is not allowed to participate for the next play. Current injury timeout rules guard against using this rule to gain an advantage from stopping the clock. Additionally, if a player loses his helmet, he must not continue to participate in play to protect him from injury. Data collected during the 2011 season indicated that helmets came off of players more than two times per game.

This is a rule that makes good sense. For whatever reason, I saw more helmets flying off than ever. Personally, I think some players just want their face seen on TV.

• Blocking Below the Waist
The intent of the changes made last season were to only allow blocking below the waist when the opposing player is likely to be prepared for this contact, but the opposite impact was discovered in some cases. To clarify the intent, the committee approved wording that essentially allows offensive players in the tackle box at the snap that are not in motion to block below the waist legally without restriction. All other players are restricted from blocking below the waist with a few exceptions (e.g. straight ahead blocks). 

I personally think this rule is backwards; it should have been a penalty in the tackle box. I don’t have a problem with opened field block below the waist. This rule could have a major impact on how offensive players block in the opened field.

• Shield Blocking Scheme on Punting Plays
The committee reviewed several examples of shield blocking, which has become a popular blocking scheme for punting teams. In several cases, a receiving team player attempts to jump over this type of scheme in the backfield to block a punt. In some cases, these players are contacted and end up flipping in the air and landing on their head or shoulders. The committee is extremely concerned about this type of action and proposed a rule similar to the leaping rule on place kicks that does not allow the receiving team to jump over blockers, unless the player jumps straight up or between two players.

This seems like a good common sense rule

• Additional Protection to Kick Returner
Through officiating interpretation, the committee approved a recommendation to provide a kick returner additional protection to complete a catch before allowing contact by the kicking team.

I am not sure I totally understand this one.

All rules change recommendations must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which meets via conference call Feb. 21. The proposals will first be sent to the NCAA membership for comment.

Give us your feedback & thoughts on new rules!!!



2 Comments for this entry

  1. Jack says:

    As a current college kicker, I love the new rule proposal on kickoffs. More touchbacks for me!

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