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A Few Rule Changes for the 2012 College Football Season (and a little finance...)

I am all about player safety and as the game has evolved to a bigger, faster game, so to have the rules evolved. Here are a few of the major rule changes you will see.

It is officially that time of the year, and like so many others I can barely see straight. The college football teams are finishing up fall camp and looking to get ready to open the season in a few short days. If you are like me, you find yourself worrying way too much about injuries to star players, who will start at various positions, and ultimately what type of year it will be for the team(s) that you love.

Today I wanted to mix it up a little and talk briefly about some of the new rule changes that you will see this year in college football. As with everything, there are pros and cons to the changes in my opinion. I am all about player safety and as the game has evolved to a bigger, faster game, so to have the rules evolved.

Here are a few of the major rule changes you will see:

- Teams will kickoff from the 35-yard line as opposed to the 30-yard line. The purpose of this new rule is to limit the number of kickoff returns that take place. Studies are showing that kickoff returns are where most of the injuries, in particular concussions are occurring. The NCAA Rules Committee hopes that more kickoffs will enter the end zone and discourage kick returners from bringing the ball out.

- Touchbacks this year on kickoffs only will bring the ball out to the 25-yard line as opposed to the 20-yard line. Again, the intent here is to discourage kick returners from bringing the ball out of the end zone. All other touchbacks (punts entering the end zone, fumbles that go out of the end zone, etc.) will remain at the 20-yard line.

- If a player loses his helmet during a play (other than as a result of a foul by the opponent, such as a facemask) then the player has to come off of the field and sit out for one play. Essentially this rule treats losing your helmet as an injury. In addition to having to sit out a play, at the point during the play in which the player loses his helmet he has to stop playing immediately. If a player loses his helmet and continues to play without it, he will be penalized.

There are a few other minor changes but these are the big ones. Personally, I am not crazy about the rules limiting kickoff returns, which is one of the most exciting phases of the game. Likely, the rule changes will have a big impact on the outcomes of games this year. Kickoffs mark the beginning of games and second halves when stadiums are electric. They are fun and exciting. Kickoff returns provide momentum-changing plays throughout the course of the season, and offer teams another avenue to score with big plays. I don’t think that this is the answer to what the rules committee says is an effort to limit injuries.

Having said that, I think that part of the helmet coming off rule is good and part of it is bad. I agree with a player having to stop if his helmet comes off. A player with no helmet making a full speed tackle or throwing himself into a pile creates a huge risk for that player’s safety.

I don’t know that I necessarily agree with a player having to sit out a play if his helmet comes off. The intent behind the rule is to get players wearing helmets that fit tighter and to encourage players to actually buckle all of the straps on their chinstraps.

The point is that these changes reminded me how confusing it is to keep up with them all from year to year. The same can be said for rule changes as they relate to financial decisions. Contribution limits to retirement plans such as 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs, etc. change constantly. Tax laws and new financial products being introduced to the market continue to be moving targets as well.

As hard as it is for us to keep up with things as simple as football rule changes, it can be exponentially more difficult to keep up with important financial changes. I would encourage you to find a reliable resource, be it a Financial Planner, CPA, or someone who you can trust to talk with regularly about these important matters. Become educated, especially when the consequences are more penalizing than 15 yards.

What are your thoughts on the rule changes?

Editor's Note: Courtesy of Brian Pierce, a Financial Planner at Catalyst Wealth Management, and Cumming resident.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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