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:

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.

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