A major rule change is coming to college football in 2018

The 2018 college football season kicks off in four months, and after a number of rule changes approved this offseason, the sport could look a little different. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a number of rules ahead of the coming campaign – and the most drastic change comes on one of the game’s most exciting plays.

The kickoff, which is under fire at both the collegiate and professional level, will feature a new rule. Players will be able to fair catch the kick inside the 25-yard-line and have it count as a touchback. So basically, any kickoff that lands between the 25-yard-line and the back of the end zone could be a touchback.

Obviously, this will result in fewer plays where the returner attempts to return the kick. That will decrease injuries – which is the whole point of the rule change.

The Football Rules Committee made the proposal to continue efforts to increase the number of touchbacks during kickoffs since fewer injuries occur during kickoffs that result in touchbacks than on kickoffs that are returned. All other aspects of the kickoff play will remain the same.

The panel also approved a few other rule changes – new rules that address blocks below the waist, the pace of play and instant replay. You can read more about all of the rule changes over at the NCAA.

Related: Look back at last season's title game: 

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Alabama tops Georgia in college football national title game
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: A general view of Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs on January 8, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Andy Pappanastos #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide misses a field goal during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws a pass during the first quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jalen Hurts #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide stiff arms Aaron Davis #35 of the Georgia Bulldogs on a run during the first quarter in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jake Fromm #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs pitches the ball during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Sony Michel #1 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs the ball during the first quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: David Marshall #51 of the Georgia Bulldogs is helped by team doctors after an injury during the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Rodrigo Blankenship #98 of the Georgia Bulldogs kicks a field goal during the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt talk to their team during the second quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: The Crimson Tide defense wrap up Georgia Bulldogs running back Nick Chubb (27) during the College Football Playoff National Championship Game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Georgia Bulldogs on January 8, 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. (Photo by David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide fails to pull in a catch against Malkom Parrish #14 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the third quarter in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide throws a pass as he is hit by Jonathan Ledbetter #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the third quarter in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates a six yard touchdown pass during the third quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Andy Pappanastos #12 of the Alabama Crimson Tide kicks a field goal during the third quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jake Fromm #11 of the Georgia Bulldogs is sacked by Raekwon Davis #99 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the second half in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Jerry Jeudy #4 of the Alabama Crimson Tide fails to make a catch for a touchdown against Aaron Davis #35 and Dominick Sanders #24 of the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide makes a catch for a seven yard touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Georgia Bulldogs in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: Tua Tagovailoa #13 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime to win the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 08: The Alabama Crimson Tide celebrate beating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime and winning the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on January 8, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Alabama won 26-23. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
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It’ll be interesting to see if the NFL follows suit in the coming years. The league has acknowledged the fact that kickoff returns lead to more injuries.

In fact, it’s very possible that kickoffs are eventually removed from the game of football. It wouldn’t be a popular decision, but it may be necessary to keep making the game safer.

The post A Major Rule Change Is Coming To College Football In 2018 appeared first on The Spun.

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