Catching up on 2018 college football rule changes

Finally, there’s hope that still another long hot summer may be nearing an end. Summer camp for University of Louisville football getting underway next week.  Time to get familiar with the new rule changes in effect during the 2018 season.

Kickoff: Players will able to fair catch the football for a fair catch anywhere between the 25-yard line and the back of the end zone. The ball will be placed on the 25-yard line. The change will detract from one of the more exciting parts of the game. It is intended to reduce the number of injuries on kickoff returns. Punt returns can’t be far behind.

— Blocking: The offense will not be allowed to block below the waist more than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage. Other than the interior linemen, all blocks below the waist must be from the front. The change introduces the potential for more judgemental and controversial calls.

Play Clock:  After touchdowns, the play clock will be set at 40 seconds to expedite the extra point or two-point conversion attempt. Following a kickoff, the play clock will also be set to 40 seconds to restart play more quickly.

— Leaping Over Players: Defenders will not be able to leap over opposing players on field goals or extra points. The rule applied only to punts last season. Presumably because defensive players have an edge over offensive blockers in crouching positions.

— Replay Reviews:  Reviews of controversial or challenged calls may be conducted by officials at locations other than the stadium in which the game is played. Such as at conference office in another location. Expect this change to result in more delays in the game in many instances.

–Last Minute of the Half: A 10-second runoff when  an instant replay overturns the ruling on the field inside of one minute in either half, and the correct ruling would not have stopped the game clock. A critical period during the game, requiring quick thinking for officials.

— Field Goal Penalties:  On successful field goals, penalty enforcement will be the same as on made extra points, with penalties implemented on the ensuing kickoff.  Long overdue.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

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