As football players get bigger and faster at every level and the game becomes more violent, the sport will have to make some concessions to protect player safety.
The most obvious one is probably getting rid of kickoffs. Sending players running all the way downfield for a high-speed collision is not conducive to avoiding concussions.
Tennessee Butch Jones sees the sport headed towards eliminating kickoffs in the near future. That would be a radical change for the sport, but it does seem like the easiest way to eliminate injuries without changing the very essence of (most) of the game.
Speaking at the Big Orange TipOff Club, via CoachingSearch.com, Jones said he thinks getting rid of kickoffs will happen.
"I do believe, at some point down the road, that the kickoff will be eliminated," he said, according to CoachingSearch.com. "I can see it happening. They've done a five-year study, and most injuries have occurred on the kickoff. Injuries have gone down because they moved the ball up to eliminate the kickoff. But the percentage of kickoffs to injures have stayed the same.
"So I could see in the next five years, I could possibly see that being a reality."
Nobody wants to see kickoffs go away – the biggest play in the Ravens-49ers Super Bowl was probably a Baltimore kickoff return – but eventually some changes are going to have to be made.
Jones also talked about some of the proposed rules that will open up recruiting in a significant way, deregulating many things such as which staff members can be involved in recruiting and how often coaches could contact prospects. He isn't in favor of deregulation of recruiting, and thinks that with more open rules the college game will grow closer to being like the NFL.
"Jim Tressel called me last year, and he said something to me, and it hit home," Jones said, according to CoachingSearch.com. "He said, 'Butch, we have to protect the integrity of our game. It's not professional football. We must make sure we don't solely turn it into an entertainment business. That it's still part of the educational value of going to college.' He's so right."