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NCAA Football Rules Committee proposes kickoff change for touchbacks on fair catches

The NCAA Football Rules Committee announced it has proposed a new rule that would allow players to call for a fair catch inside their own 25-yard line on kickoffs and have it result in a touchback, giving their team the ball at the 25.

"The committee discussed the kickoff play at great length, and we will continue to work to find ways to improve the play," said North Carolina coach Larry Fedora, the chair of the committee. "We believe making one change will allow us to study the effect of this change in terms of player safety."

The potential change, which was made with player safety in mind, will be sent to coaches and conferences for feedback in the coming weeks. It still needs to be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss it -- and other proposed rule changes -- April 13.

Among the other proposals is a tweak to speed up the pace of play. After touchdowns and kickoffs, a 40-second play clock would go into effect, designed to eliminate what has been considered dead time.

"In discussions with the college football community, the committee's goal is to identify ways to keep the game moving and reducing as much as possible the down time in the stadium," Steve Shaw, the secretary-rules editor, said in a statement. "These changes will not take plays out of the game, but will positively impact the flow of the game."

Another timing change approved by the committee would implement a 10-second runoff when 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.

Additionally, the committee has proposed eliminating blocks below the waist more than five yards from the line of scrimmage and requiring that all blocks below the waist, with the exception of those from interior linemen, must be from the front.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.