The NCAA is changing a rule on kickoffs ahead of the 2018 season. Kick returners will now be able to make a fair catch anywhere inside the 25-yard line, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel announced Friday.
The NCAA had been discussing this rule earlier in the offseason, but initial discussions were about allowing kick returners to make fair catches inside the 10-yard line.
NCAA approves new rule allowing kick returners to make fair catches inside the 25-yard line
— NCAA Football (@NCAAFootball) April 13, 2018
From the NCAA’s announcement:
The new rule is the latest in a series of changes the committee has made in recent years in hopes of making the play safer. Before the 2012 season, kickoffs were moved from the 30-yard line to the 35 The committee also changed the starting position on touchbacks that year so that the receiving team started its drive on the 25-yard line instead of the 20.
The NCAA also announced some new rules on blocks below the waist and pace of play. Here they are:
Blocks below the waist
The panel approved a package of rules with the goal of making it easier for players, coaches and officials to understand, execute and coach blocking below the waist.
The most noticeable change pertains to offensive blocks: The offense will not be allowed to block below the waist when the block occurs more than 5 yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Additionally, other than the interior linemen, all blocks below the waist must be from the front.
Pace of play
The panel approved two proposals that further its efforts to keep the game moving. After a touchdown, the play clock will be set at 40 seconds to expedite the extra point or two-point conversion attempt. Additionally, following a kickoff, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds to restart play more quickly.