College football: NCAA approves rule aimed at decreasing kickoff returns

Published 1:36 am Sunday, April 15, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A fair catch on a kickoff received inside the 25-yard line will result in a touchback next season after a proposed rule change was approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

The NCAA announced Friday the adoption of several rule changes , including changes aimed at moving games along.

The most notable involved kickoffs, which both college and professional football rule-makers acknowledge produce an inordinate number of injuries. In the hopes of creating fewer returns and more touchbacks, kickoffs were moved from the 30-yard line to the 35 in 2012 and the starting position after a touchback was moved up from the 20 to the 25.

Since then a popular strategy has developed where teams instruct kickers to kickoff high and often toward the sideline, short of the end zone, in an effort to pin the returner inside the 25. Now those kicks can be fair caught and instead of the ball being placed at the spot of the catch, it will be placed at the 25.

Other changes approved include a package of rules regarding blocking below the waist.

Regarding pace of play the panel approved two proposals:

— After a touchdown, the play clock will be set at 40 seconds to expedite the extra point or 2-point conversion attempt.

— Following a kickoff, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds to restart play more quickly.

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SHAZIER STANDS TO CHEERS AT OHIO STATE SPRING GAME

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio State fan favorite Ryan Shazier visited the spring game Saturday and stood without assistance to cheers from the crowd at his alma mater.

The Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker is recovering from a devastating spinal injury suffered in a Dec. 4 game with the Bengals.

Shazier, an honorary captain of one of the squads, drove a golf cart to midfield and climbed out to stand briefly to fire up the crowd . He then embraced the other honorary captain, former Ohio State cornerback and current Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer.

He also spoke to the team before the game . He told reporters that “I am feeling a lot better than I was.”

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More AP college football at www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25.

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Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy

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