Ivy League to move kickoffs to 40-yard line


The idea of eliminating kickoffs entirely in college football is on the table. But before that nuclear option is adopted, one conference will experiment with a middle ground alternative.

The NCAA has announced that the Ivy League will move its kickoffs up to the 40-yard line for the 2016 season and the touchback line will be moved back to the 20. Currently, kickoffs launch from the 35-yard line, with touchbacks coming out to the 25. The Ivy League has long volunteered to serve as a test tube for player safety experiments. The conference has voluntarily banned tackling in practice.

The idea behind moving touchbacks from the 20 to the 25 was to incentivize returners to take a touchback. While sound in theory, asking a return man to take a knee can be akin to placing a cupcake in front of a dog and expecting him not to eat it.

The new rule will instead incentivize kicking teams to boot the ball into the end zone instead of kicking short of the goal line and covering.

The Ivy League will collect data and report its findings to the NCAA Football Rules Oversight Committee in February.