OPINION: Increasing touchbacks mean ruining one facet of collegiate football


Matthew Nobert

Sacramento State freshman running back and kick returner Elijah Dotson attempts to avoid a defender during Sep.9 game against Incarnate Word at Hornet Stdium. The kick return is one of the most exciting plays in football, but might go extinct due to concerns for player safety.

Nick Koeneke

Protecting players has become a recurring theme in collegiate football. With the tightening of the targeting rule being implemented back in 2013, the NCAA has decided on yet another rule change to protect its student athletes.

Kick returners will now have the option to take a knee anywhere inside their 25-yard line, rather than only in the endzone. If a returner does this, the ball will be placed on the 25-yard line for the ensuing drive.

In all honesty this rule’s purpose is to make the game shorter, meaning having fewer plays on the football field. With returners ability to apply a fair catch, this in turn results in no play at all.

While I am all for protecting players in an age where concussions have been a major factor in the drop of participation in football across the board, I am not in favor of implementing rules in which directly affect a facet of the game.

One of the most exciting plays in the game of football is the kickoff. As a fan, you think of the possibility of your team running an 80-100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

The kickoff is also one of the most dangerous plays on the football field. Men running at a high rate of speed crashing into blockers or returners at half that speed can cause and has caused numerous injuries at every level.

Even with the dangers of this play, it is wrong for the NCAA to impact the special teams part of football. There is offense, defense, and special teams. Giving the returner the option to “fair catch” and reward them for it takes away the excitement of the play.

Supporters of the rule change do not realize the impact it will have at the next level. Special teamers will lack the experience of returning footballs and consequently will result in the demise of their position and job as a returner.

I see this rule having ample effects on the NFL and resulting in an aspect of the game being completely dissolved.