As the college football world inches closer to the start of the 2012 season, a plethora of topics have kept fans busy during the off-season.
Whether the subject matter was recruiting for 2013 and beyond, positional award “watch lists” for 2012, or notorious scandals, college football fans have had several items to occupy the "live-action" hiatus.
However, one topic, and an important one at that, has seemed to fly under the radar. 2012 rule changes.
While most everyone is simply excited for college football to resume, a few of the basic rules have changed.
The new rules will not only impact the players, and quite possibly game results, the rules will also impact how you “view” college football from a simplicity standpoint.
Some of the more “common” or “traditional” rules have been changed in order to incorporate new safety measures.
2012 Rule Changes
-Teams will now kickoff from the 35-yard line, instead of the 30-yard line. Players on the kickoff team will not be allowed to line-up more than five yards behind the football. The new “touchback” rule is now the 25-yard line…rather than the 20-yard line. This rule is designed to reduce kickoff returns, thus reducing violent collisions.
-Onside kicks will now include the option of a fair catch. Upon the first bounce, the return team has the option of calling a fair catch. At this time, in the same fashion as a punt, the receiving player has exclusive rights to the football without being hit upon catching the ball. The ball will have to bounce a SECOND TIME and touch a player from the return team, before the kicking team can claim rights to the football in the form of a recovery. This rule is designed to protect a player from being “blindsided” and possibly injured on a “one bounce” tackle.
-The punt return team cannot “jump over” blockers in order to deflect, or attempt to deflect, a punt. Players are no longer allowed to use an opposing player(s) as a vault. In order to block a punt, the defender(s) must jump in the air without the manipulated aid of an opponent. This rule is designed to keep defenders from neck and/or head injuries as a result of “vaulting” over another player(s).
-The loss of a helmet during a play that is not caused by a penalty will be treated like an injury. The player(s) in question must leave the game for one play. If a player’s helmet comes off during the final two minutes of the half or the game, the player(s) in question must leave the game for one play, and a 10-second “runoff” of the game clock will be in order. This rule is an effort to prevent a “lost helmet” scheme designed to pause the game in order to “prepare” for the next play.