Kickoffs are inherently a dangerous play. No other play in the sport of football features positions like "gunner" and "spear." Dangerous or not, it's all part of the game.
But does it have to be?
That's the question two of the biggest decision making bodies in college football are asking. According to CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd, the American Football Coaches Association's board of trustees and the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee have had informal talks discussing the possibility of taking eliminating the play from the college game.
"It looks like the data is skewed where we have more injuries on that play, " AFCA execuctive director Todd Berry told Dodd. "If that's the case, we have to look at eliminating the play, modifying the play, change blocking schemes."
The two parties discussing the change don't actually enact rules, but they don't make suggestions. The NCAA Rules Committee is the entity that would eventually place a vote on the topic, but they have yet to have any discussion on the matter. Even if they like the idea, a rule change couldn't come until after the 2017 season.
It wouldn't be the first change to special teams made in recent memory. In 2011 and 2012, the NFL and NCAA (respectively) moved kickoffs back to 35 yard line and data in Dodd's piece says touchbacks increased by 50%. While in May, Pop Warner eliminated kickoffs for players under 10.
As for what to do in place, Greg Schiano has an idea. The former Rutgers coach saw a player, Eric LeGrand, get paralyzed while covering a kick in 2011 and called for an end to kickoffs. Instead, again, according to Dodd's article, he wanted to see the team that just scored to have the choice to either punt it or go for the "onside" option of trying to convert on a 4th-and-15 scenario.
Both the NCAA and NFL have made tweaks to rules to make players safer recently, but this would be the first one to fundamentally change the way the game is played. What do you think? Is the change worth it to help limit concussions or should they look into other ways to just make the play safer?
Discussions about eliminating kickoffs in college football have begun - CBSSports.com
The kickoff is one of the most exciting -- and dangerous -- plays in football, which is why it may disappear from college gridirons sometime soon
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