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APNewsBreak: Kickoff fair catches not catching on

By The News · 19 of October 2018 21:51:24
FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2018, file photo, Northwestern State's Ryan Reed (8) waves for a fair catch on the opening kickoff against Texas A&M during an NCAA college football game, in College Station, Texas. About 1 of every 10 kickoffs in the Football Bowl Subdivision have resulted in a fair catch giving the return team possession at its 25-yard line under a rule that went into effect this year. The purpose of the rule was to minimize kick returns, which have a higher injury rate compared with other types of plays. If a fair catch is made anywhere between the goal line and 25, it's a touchback and it's marked at the 25. (AP Photo/Sam Craft, File), No available, FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2018, file photo, Northwestern State's Ryan Reed (8) waves for a fair catch on the opening kickoff against Texas A&M during an NCAA college football game, in College Station, Texas. About 1 of every 10 kickoffs in the Football Bowl Subdivision have resulted in a fair catch giving the return team possession at its 25-yard line under a rule that went into effect this year. The purpose of the rule was to minimize kick returns, which have a higher injury rate compared with other types of plays. If a fair catch is made anywhere between the goal line and 25, it's a touchback and it's marked at the 25. (AP Photo/Sam Craft, File)

The new college football rule rewarding teams for making fair catches on kickoffs has not caught on like officiating supervisors expected.

If a fair catch is made on a kickoff anywhere between the goal line and 25 this season, it is ruled a touchback. The ball is marked at the 25.

Fair catches have been made on 11 percent of kickoffs in the Bowl Subdivision through seven weeks, according to NCAA data released Friday. Officials expected a higher rate.

More changes could be made in 2019 to further reduce kick returns or make them safer.