Player safety has been the name of the game over the past few years, what with increasing understanding of the effects of concussions and lawsuits against the NCAA and NFL over player injuries.

Now the kings of collegiate thought have gotten together and allowed the Ivy League to experiment with moving the kickoff up to the 40-yard line for the 2016 season. The tee will be placed 5 yards forward in the hopes of exploring player safety related to fewer kickoff returns.

Kickoffs from the 40 will only take place in conference games this season, but could be expanded further because this experiment will also give the NCAA and the Ivy League plenty of stats and research on injuries and the effects of the experiment.

Since the move to the 35-yard line back in 2012, touchbacks have increased in the game of college football at a very noticeable rate. What isn’t really known is if it has had any real impact on the injuries suffered by players.

That is exactly what this study and experiment will be all about according to the NCAA release:

The Ivy League will collect data and report the findings to the NCAA Football Rules Committee in February. This data is expected to include the following:

  • Number of games

  • Weather conditions

  • Total number of kickoffs

  • Number of kickoffs into the end zone

  • Number of kickoffs resulting in touchbacks

  • Number of kickoffs, fielded or out of bounds, between the goal line and the 10-yard line

Injury data will be taken for both teams in each game, including the following:

  • The total number of injuries on kickoffs

  • The total number of concussions on all play

  • The total number of concussions on kickoff

  • The total number of concussions on kickoffs that result in touchback

  • The total number of concussions on kickoffs returned from the end zon

  • The total number of concussions on kickoffs returned from outside the end zone

It seems to be another step in the direction of eliminating the kickoff from the game all together, which has been discussed by coaches and officials within the college football world this year.


About Andrew Coppens

Andy is a contributor to The Comeback as well as Publisher of Big Ten site talking10. He also is a member of the FWAA and has been covering college sports since 2011. Andy is an avid soccer fan and runs the Celtic FC site The Celtic Bhoys. If he's not writing about sports, you can find him enjoying them in front of the TV with a good beer!