With Yale, Harvard and Princeton among its members, the Ivy League has always led the nation in scholar-athletes. Now, the league is leading the way on the issue of safety on the football field.
Ivy League coaches made headlines in March when they banned tackling during regular-season practices. A 2015 study published in JAMA Pediatrics said 58 percent of concussions happen for college players during practice versus 42 percent during games.
Now, the league is taking the additional step of moving all kickoffs up to the 40-yard line during regular-season games in the 2016 season. The thinking is that the move will lead to more touchbacks and fewer violent collisions. Kickoffs during college games cause 23.4 percent of concussions, despite consisting of only 5.8 percent of the overall plays.
The league will evaluate concussion and kickoff data after the season and forward it to the NCAA Football Rules Committee, which is considering eliminating kickoffs, possibly after the 2017 season.
Even a single concussion has proved to have long-term health implications. Repeated concussions change the functioning of the brain and can affect memory and cognitive ability. The Ivy League is trying to make football safer. The other conferences should take note.