MISSION, Kan. — Moving the spot of kickoffs from the 40-to the 35-yard line as a response to the declining number of kickoff returns in the last five years was among rules changes approved Wednesday by the NCAA.
Other significant rules changes approved during the committee's annual meeting were instituting a 10-yard restraining line from the spot of kickoffs for kicking teams and adopting additional safety measures for passers.
The new kickoff provision requires members of the kicking team -- except the kicker -- to line up no farther than 10 yards behind the spot of the kickoff. The NCAA said the rule is intended to reduce high-speed collisions among players, particularly on onside kickoffs.
Passers will receive additional protection by making it illegal for defensive players to throw them to the ground after the pass is thrown. The rule previously prohibited defensive players from charging into a passer when it was obvious the ball had been thrown.