NCAA Proposes new kickoff Rules

Submitted by carolina blue on March 2nd, 2018 at 7:38 PM

This article from talks about a couple of new proposals for kickoff and timing rules changes. The timing rule changes include a 40-second play clock after touchdowns and kickoffs. If this speeds up the game, then I'm all for it. They also propose a ten second runoff if, inside one minute of the half ending, a play is overruled and that the correct ruling would not have stopped the game.  The first scenario that comes to mind is if a pass is completed a yard short of a first down but the initial ruling is a first down, but then instant replay correctly rules short of a first down, then you'd see a ten second runoff.  I'm very suspicious of this rule change and feel it may be an unwarranted disadvantage to the team with the ball. 

The kickoff rule change allows a team to call a fair catch anywhere between the goal line and the 25 and have it count as a touchback, placing the ball at the 25.  This simply increases the number of touchbacks and it takes out a HUGE advantage by the teams with good kickers and sound strategy.  Pinning kicks inside the five near the sideline could then be fair caught.  I hate this rule for that reason, and really hope they don't implement it.  But, because they're so concerned with head injuries (or at least good PR of looking concerned) this rule will probably be implemented.



March 2nd, 2018 at 7:49 PM ^

Nightmare scenario for the first proposal: Team is down 2, driving at the end of the 4th quarter, no timeouts remaining. They throw a pass that would put them in field goal range, but not get them a first down. The receiver catches the ball in bounds with 9 seconds left, but it's ruled incomplete. The play is reviewed by the officials and it is determined that the receiver did catch the ball. While 9 seconds would have been plenty of time for that team to get back to the line to spike the ball and stop the clock, the run off takes the clock to 0 and the game is over. 


This could only happen to one team: the Detroit Lions. Now, I know what you're thinking: "The Lions are an NFL team, and this is an NCAA rule, so that's impossible". Sure. However, have you considered these two words?


Detroit. Lions.


March 2nd, 2018 at 8:31 PM ^

it does work both ways though.  what if there is 3 sec on the clock in your situation when the guy is tackled a yard short? now, they review, you get your team ready to spike. then you kick a FG that you otherwise had no chance at.  the clock would have run out.

not sure which is worse, but i would say it's the current rule.  would hate to lose in either scenario.


March 2nd, 2018 at 8:51 PM ^

is that there were some teams that lost because of this.  that is what usually triggers rule changes like this.  although not perfect, i think this runoff gets the situation closer to what would have happened.


March 2nd, 2018 at 7:50 PM ^

If they're so concerned with head injuries, then why don't they just move the line of scrimmage on kickoffs up to like the kickoff team's 45 yard line. That way you increase the number of touchbacks without completely taking special teams strategy out of the game.

I Like Burgers

March 2nd, 2018 at 8:59 PM ^

Because then teams would still do what they do now: figure out how to kick it so it lands around the 2 yard line.

Or do what they are going to do as a result of this proposal: go for onside kicks more often.  Because if this rule passes, and the opposing team is going to get it at the 25 yard line guaranteed, then why not take a gamble more often on the 25 yards of field position you'd lose on an on-side kick?

I Like Burgers

March 3rd, 2018 at 9:44 AM ^

I get that, but I'm just saying that how these rule changes typically work.  They put in a rule to try and stop one thing, and then coaches adapt to find an advantage.  Happened with the current kickoff rule that was made to try and force more touchbacks.  Coaches opted to kick it short to try and pin people. 

So if you're going to force their hand and automatically give the other team the ball at the 25 for a traditional kick, you'll probably see a rise in things like squib kicks and some creative onside kicks.  Especially if other teams are constantly expecting you to blast it deep for a fair catch.  I think it would ultimately wind up introducing a lot more strategy into kickoffs.


March 2nd, 2018 at 7:49 PM ^

Runoff is a terrible idea. Refs should either get it right or bear the brunt of the consequences, not the team that had the ball. Also, 10s is an arbitrary number and, as we saw with the Lions this year against Atlanta, can cost a team the chance to win the game.


March 2nd, 2018 at 7:50 PM ^

Can we just do away with kickoffs already? They are pointless now anyway and eliminating them would speed up the game and also allow fans to not have to sit through td, commercial, kickoff, commercial.

Indy Pete - Go Blue

March 2nd, 2018 at 7:55 PM ^

Makes sense, but I despise it.  They tried to reward teams for taking touchbacks in the name of safety, but smart teams and coaches found an obvious loophole (a.k.a. Foug factor).  This new rule actually removes a neat weapon and strategy that has added substantial enjoyment, particularly to Michigan fans.  However, in the name of safety, and the commonly held belief that kickoff returns are arguably the highest risk play for injuries, this new rule would effectively decrease the number of returns.  However, I have already found the next level loop hole:  strategic high-bouncing deep squib kicks...  Foug is already practicing/mastering them. 


March 2nd, 2018 at 7:56 PM ^

I just don’t understand how runoffs are fair. You’re essentially penalizing the offense for something that should honestly be the ref’s responsibility to manage. There are a number of circumstances where this would result in unintended consequences (see: Lions 2017).

Kickoffs - idk...seems like a dying part of the sport; however, it’s one of my faves. I can appreciate those plays are brutally dangerous but they can also be an electric charge for a team. I think they probably need to change somehow, and I don’t have a good solution. Instead I’ll just be that guy that complains about other people’s ideas without offering one of my own!


March 2nd, 2018 at 8:37 PM ^

How about if they start actually calling Kickoff Offsides? You know, that rule that's already on the books that says that nobody can cross the yard line that the ball is being kicked from until after the ball is kicked?

The 40 second play clock after a kickoff won't do anything, because there'll still be a media timeout after the change of possession ... so still 3 minutes, plus the 40 second play clock.


March 2nd, 2018 at 8:53 PM ^

I checked the 5 1st half kickoffs in last year's U-M/PSU game ......... I chose that one because that's a game more prone to delay with it being an ABC game and them trying to always fit in their spots.

Anyway: 1 time the play was run within 40 seconds of the kickoff being dead.  The other 4 it took over 45 seconds - up to a max of a 61 second delay.

If there are 12 kickoffs in a game and this move saves 10 seconds after each kickoff - that's 2 minutes.

KC Wolve

March 2nd, 2018 at 8:42 PM ^

I get why they are doing this with kickoffs but it has really hurt some teams. Bill Snyder has always stressed special teams and have always had excellent kickoff return teams. Moving the kicker up has already affected them since there are rarely any returns anyway.


March 2nd, 2018 at 8:54 PM ^

why don't they just place the ball at the 25 and skip the kickoff? even if the kicker is able to place it at the 20 to tempt the return man to bring it out, the return team will be all over him at the catch.

We are basically going to see a ton of fair catches and the occasional drop that results in a TO


March 2nd, 2018 at 9:21 PM ^

I get that kickoffs need work because the setup means a much higher risk of significant injury. But I think the answer is to eliminate the kickoff entirely.

If that makes it a noticeably safer game, then it's worth the change. And I can't think of a more dangerous play than the onside kick itself.

Obviously, that means less last-minute excitement in games where there's a two-score lead. If we're serious about the injury issue - and I think we need to be if we want football to be around long-term - it's a price we have to pay.


March 3rd, 2018 at 9:02 AM ^

Are there actual stats that back this up, or have we simply been told for so long that it seems intuitive?  Serious question - I don't recall any more injuries on kickoffs than I do on the 200 hundred other plays in a typical game.  I mean, it seems more dangerous, but I've never seen any stat that definitively lays it out.


March 2nd, 2018 at 10:21 PM ^

Why don't they go the Australian Rules Football route and throw the ball in from the sidelines while players from both teams get thrown up in the air trying to catch it. I'm all for watching Gary launch DPJ 10 feet in the air.


March 2nd, 2018 at 10:37 PM ^

I am the Special Teams Coodinator for a high school in Michigan, so I LOVE  to nerd out on Special Teams talk. I honestly think the proposed kickoff rule is good. Kickoffs are one of the most high impact plays in football. Since I love football, I am in favor of rules that protect kids' brains, even if it makes my job harder. The 25 yard line is still not an overly favorable position for the offense. My goal as ST coordinator is to make the opposing offense drive 70 yards or more to score. The odds are much more in my favor if they're average startiong positon their 25 yard line or better. 


March 3rd, 2018 at 1:12 AM ^

Why do we let the kicking team move before the bakl is kicked?

Its stupid and its the only time the team in possession of the ball can approach the line of scrimmage before the play begins. If these guys on the coverage team don’t have a full blast running start, they should be easier to block for the upfront return team.

If we are going to have these additional touchbacks, let’s advance the ball say 15 yards after a touchback caught outside the end zone, instead of going all the way to the 25. This still advantages teams with skilled kickers.

Rochester Blue

March 3rd, 2018 at 8:21 AM ^

Next they’ll start changing the rules for punts and punt receptions. Not sure what the point of kickoffs will be anymore other than to fit in more commercials between a score and the offense taking possession.