Major rule changes are coming to college football beginning immediately with the 2018 season. On Friday, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel voted to approve a drastic rule change on kickoffs that will change what happens if a player decides to call a fair catch.
If a player is inside of their own 25-yard line, a fair catch will result in the ball being placed at the 25-yard line like a touchback instead of the spot of the fair catch. Fair catches outside of the 25-yard line will still follow the old rules.
The rule change is a step towards improving player safety.
Other rule changes that were approved can be seen below, via the NCAA’s official release:
- The addition of a 10-second runoff was approved when instant replay overturns the ruling on the field inside of one minute in either half, and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock.
- 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 were adjusted to mirror similar rules regarding leaping the shield on punting plays. It is illegal to leap over the frame of the body of an opponent.
- On successful field goals, penalty enforcement will be the same as on made extra points. Namely, all personal fouls and unsportsmanlike conduct fouls by the defending team will have the option to be enforced on the ensuing kickoff.
You can read a full breakdown of the rule changes here.