Can't this penalty be changed?

This is a couple of times that we've been penalized when one of our punts deflects off one of the opposing players and someone happens to be within 5 yards. I don't kow if this rule has been changed recently but I don't recall seeing it before this year.The worst part is that it is a 15 yard penalty if it was in the air. I can understand a 15 yard penalty for encroaching on the punt returner because it can cause injuries but there is no intent to injure in this case.

The "no yard" rule was created to protect punt returners and also to penalize teams that purposely encroach upon the 5 yard zone to prevent runbacks. There is no intent in these cases, the guys are usually blocking each other. A smart blocker could see that the punt is coming down close to him and knowing that the guy he is blocking is within 5 yards of him, he could intentionally try to touch the ball to incur a 15 yard penalty.

Has this rule been changed recently?

No
15 yard no yards calls are called when one of the following happens

  1. The ball is caught, or touched on the fly.
  2. The kicking team makes no attempt to give 5 yards.

I agree, an accidental touch by someone who isnt intending to pick it up should be a 5 yard penalty, but they have not changed the No Yards rule lately.

Backpedalling players are no danger to a player picking up a ball.

There should definitely not be a penalty when the punt has hit the ground

and the downfield tacklers are retreating from the restricted area.

Secondly, when the punt returner is catching the ball.

Backpedalling players just inside the 5 yd. restraining area
don't endanger returners who are catching the ball in the air.

I don't think that there should be any penalty for this either.

The players got on top of the returner too soon because
of a flubbed short punt or a punt pushed back by the wind.

They usually don't know when these things happen
because they are busy running down the field

They show that the returner is not in danger by retreating.

I would like to volunteer to come out to one of our practices to teach our punt coverage team what five yards is. Five yards is not three yards. Five yards is not even four yards. It is 15 feet. It is also the distance between each of the long horizontal stripes that are painted across every football field.

On those occasions where the returner is looking to pick up a ball from the ground, if our team does not wish to incur a penalty, they must remain five yards away from the ball. And if, by chance, they do decide to encroach on the returner, well, in that case, they should do so in a way that allows them to make the tackle as opposed to letting the guy get away.

I'm not sure if they have ever been told these things. I'm happy to come explain it to them.

If setta did his job we wouldn't have to worry about this stupid rule

in university ball, a kicked ball landing in a group of players belonging to both teams , which could produce injury type tackles, is whistled dead and the receiving team fields the ball at that point. This should be looked at.
Twice last night the penalty should have been 5yd not 15. As usual of late, the referees are determining the game's outcome.