NCAA amends kickoff rule, allowing fair catch before 25-yard line

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It will be an interesting development to watch and learn how coaches and kickoff/return units re-adjust to this latest change early on in the season and as it progresses, especially when the return team features a dynamic and unsafe return man.

A football before a kickoff.

The NCAA announced on Friday that all kickoffs in college football will allow the receiving team to have the option to call a fair catch for the ball anywhere inside the 25-yard line and have it count as a touchback.

Essentially, kick returners now have a 25-yard grace period for what amounts to a touchback. Previously, players calling for fair catches on kickoffs inside the 25 would be setting their team back, with the ball placed wherever they made the fair catch.

The new rule, proposed last month and enacted Friday, seeks to "address player safety on the kickoff and to address tactics that attempt to pin the receiving team close to its goal line". Additionally, following a kickoff, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds to restart play more quickly.

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He'll now be sidelined against Spurs despite featuring as a substitute in Tuesday's 2-1 Champions League loss to Liverpool .

Play clocks will be set at 40 seconds after touchdowns and following kickoffs to expedite succeeding plays.

In another rule amendment, offensive players will not be allowed to block below the waist when the block occurs more than five yards past the line of scrimmage.

The panel approved the continuation of an experimental collaborative decision-making model for instant replay that is not limited to the press box in the stadium. For example, officials involved in the replay process could be located in a conference office.

Leaping rules on field goals and extra points will mirror those on punting plays. An example of the enforcement of this rule occurred in an National Football League game between the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions last season. It is illegal to leap over the frame of the body of an opponent.

Following a made field goal, the enforcement of a penalty will be the same as one on a made extra point.

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