NCAA Football Rules Changes

                In February, the NCAA approved rules changes for the upcoming football season. These rules apply to all levels of NCAA-sponsored college football. Rules changed this year focus mainly on player safety in response to changes made in the NFL.

  1. Teams will kick off from the 35-yard line instead of the 20-yard line. If the play results in a touchback, the ball will be placed at the 25-yard line, up from the 20-yard line. Note: This rules change ONLY applies to kickoffs; touchbacks into the end zone and fumbles out of the end zone will result in ball placement at the 20-yard line.
  2. 10 players on the kicking team must have one foot on or inside the 30-yardline.
  3. During onside kicks any player on the receiving team is given the same protection if the ball is kicked off the tee or driven into the ground and bounces in the air.
  4. When players lose their helmet during a play that is not the result of a foul by an opponent (i.e. facemask) it will be treated like an injury. The player must leave the game for one play. If the player is not the ball carrier he must not stop playing. He cannot tackle, block, or run routes as an example. Continued play will result in a 15-yard penalty. Officials have great latitude in determining what will and won’t be a foul.
    1. A forgotten scenario of this rule is the 10-second runoff rule. Explained by ESPN:

“With less than 1 minute remaining in either half, if the ball carrier's helmet comes off, and that is the only reason the play is being whistled dead, there is also a 10-second runoff. If a team has a timeout remaining, the coach can elect to use the timeout instead of running 10 seconds off the clock. But the player must still leave the field for one play, unless his helmet comes off as the result of a foul. Here is your ultimate nightmare hypothetical: Let's say 9 seconds are left in a game, and your team is driving. The ball carrier's helmet comes off, and the play is whistled dead. Your team has no timeouts left. Officials must announce the game is over by rule.”

Who makes up these rules changes? The Football Rules Committee, which consists of thirteen coaches, athletic administrators, and conference commissioners from each of the three NCAA divisions. Fifty percent of the coach on the committee are coaches. Who from Division I/FBS? Brett Bielema (Wisconsin) and Troy Calhoun (Air Force).


NCAA Release


NCAA Football Rules Committee

NCAA 2011/12 Football Rule Book (free)

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