HADLEY, Mass. – As part of the NESCAC's continuing efforts to promote the safety and welfare of its student-athletes, the league will implement an experimental kickoff rule for the 2018 season. This is in addition to a rules change announced by the NCAA last spring.
Based on a recommendation from the NESCAC football coaches, and approved by the NESCAC Presidents and the NCAA Football Playing Rules Committee, the kickoff will be moved from the 35-yard line to the 40-yard line for all conference games this season. The goal of moving the kickoff is to increase the rate of touchbacks and reduce injuries, including concussions.
Earlier this season, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new kickoff rule for all divisions of college football. With the start of the 2018 season, fair catches made anywhere inside the 25-yard line will be treated as a touchback and the football will be placed at the 25-yard line.
"The NESCAC Presidents unanimously support the recommendation put forth by the football coaches. NESCAC member institutions continue to emphasize the safety and well-being of our student-athletes and this change contributes to the Conference's ongoing efforts," said Bates College President Clayton Spencer.
"The well-being of student-athletes remains a primary focus among our institutions. This is another measure to reduce injuries and improve player safety", stated NESCAC Executive Director Andrea Savage.