The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel announced Wednesday that the Ivy League will implement an experimental new rule that will have kickoffs starting at the 40-yard line for the 2016 season. The rule will only be implemented for conference games.
— SN College Football (@sn_ncaaf) July 20, 2016
The issue of kickoffs has been a hot-button topic of late and the Ivy League is the first such league to experiment with a non-conventional rule change. Some are clamoring for the kickoff to be outright eliminated.
More on the issue from Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports:
Both the American Football Coaches Association’s board of trustees and the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee have at least had informal talks about the possibility.
The reason: player safety.
“I don’t think there is any doubt it is the most dangerous play in the game,” said Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, chairman of that oversight committee. “How much that’s the case and how we can fix it is unknown.”
In a NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel conference call, the Ivy League said they will also experiment with the touchback spot being moved to the 20-yard line. According to NCAA.com, kickoffs are currently conducted from the 35-yard line and the ball is placed at the 25-yard line after a touchback.
Again safety is a major reason for this trial run. The Ivy League wants to see if the move of having kickoffs begin at the 40-yard line will lead to less injuries and an uptick in the amount of touchbacks.
The conference will reportedly collect data and report the findings to the NCAA Football Rules Committee in February.