In an interview with ESPN's Mike & Mike on Monday, Clemson Tigers football coach Dabo Swinney said kickoffs should remain in college football. Last week, Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said kickoffs could be removed because of how dangerous they can be.
"We've made great strides based on things that we've learned through the game to make this game better and safer," Swinney said. "And I think we always have to do that. But at the end of the day, it's football."
Swinney compared improvements in football player safety to improvements in auto safety brought about by seat belts and airbags. For example, college football has implemented the targeting penalty, which is called when a player hits a defenseless opponent above the shoulders. The infraction results in an automatic ejection.
This season, the NCAA is allowing the Ivy League to experiment with kicking off from the 40-yard line instead of the 35-yard line. The Ivy League will collect and report data to see if fewer concussions and other injuries occur.
Swinney argued that kickoffs should stay because they can be game-changing plays. He referenced a kickoff return made in 2009 by former Tigers running back C.J. Spiller to defeat No. 10 Miami.
Though preliminary data indicate that more injuries happen on kickoffs, Swinney said most of Clemson's major injuries have been non-contact.
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