ATHENS - The NCAA has adopted several rule changes for college football with an eye on player safety.
Starting next season, kickoffs will come from the 35-yard line, and touchbacks will be taken out to the 25.
The move for kickoffs comes a year after the NFL made the same change, in an effort to decrease the amount of kickoffs that are returned. There have been several catastrophic injuries to players during kickoffs. The NCAA said its own study has shown that injuries occur on kickoffs"more often than in other phases of the game."
Bringing touchbacks out to the 25 are also meant to encourage teams returning kickoffs to take a knee, rather than try to bring the ball out for a longer return.
In another rule change, players who lose their helmets on a play will now have to leave the game for at least a play. That's the same rule that exists now for players who are hurt: They must sit at least one play. (There is an exception: If a helmet is dislodged because of the actions of another player, such as a facemask penalty, the player doesn't have to leave the game.)
Should a player lose a helmet during a play, they will also be prohibited from continuing in the play.
The NCAA said data from the 2011 season indicated that a player lost his helmet about twice per game.
Georgia seemed to have this problem in several games, especially with star outside linebacker Jarvis Jones.