Any college football player who targets a defenseless player on the field could be ejected if the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approves a proposed rule change next month. The NCAA Football Rules Committee recommended the proposal along with a number of other potential rule changes on Wednesday.
“Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns,” said Troy Calhoun, chair of the committee and head coach at the United States Air Force Academy. “We all have a role to embrace when making a positive impact on our game. Taking measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, will improve our great sport.”
Targeting was first introduced as a rule in 2008. The rule has led to a number of questionable calls across the nation in each conference. If the rules committee has their latest amendment approved a player could be ejected for the remainder of the game if called for the penalty in the first half of a game. The ejection would carry over until the next game on the schedule if a player is ejected in the second half or overtime of a game.
With the severity of the rule change being proposed it is also necessary to ensure the call is warranted. After so many concerns over the officiating of this call, the rules committee also endorses the use of video review to be allowed when determining if an ejection is a suitable penalty. The review would be conducted, as any other instant replay would be done, with the video review official needing conclusive video evidence to overturn the penalty.
“The general consensus is that the officials on the field make this call properly the vast majority of the time and know what the committee is looking for with this foul,” said Rogers Redding, secretary-editor of the rules committee and national coordinator of officials for College Football Officiating, LLC. “This move is being made to directly change player behavior and impact player safety.”
Conferences may still be able to add on to the proposed NCAA penalty of an ejection, if the conference feels it is necessary.
Blocking Below the Waist
Another recently new rule change will get a tweak if a proposal is approved. The rules committee is recommending the foggy blocking below the waist foul be more defined. The proposal calls for an emphasis on the block itself and allows blocks in typical line play.
“What we’re trying to do is write the rule to protect the player that will need to take on this block,” said Calhoun. “So, the blocks from the front of this type in your typical line play are legal and anything that is from the side or back are not.”
What essentially is happening here is the rules committee is acknowledging the rule is too hard for the officials to grasp with any uniformity from conference to conference and officiating crew to officiating crew. Hopefully with more clarity the rule will carry out the effect it was intended to have in the first place.
The other proposed rule changes
The following rule proposals have also been passed on to the oversight panel along with a quick take on the proposal:
- 10-second runoff with less than a minute remaining in a half when sole reason for clock to stop is an injury (good news for Oregon)
- To require teams to wear contrasting jerseys and pants (bad news for Boise State)
- Three seconds on the clock must remain in order for a team on offense to spike the football (not sure why this even matters)
- To require a player who changes uniform numbers during a game due to a need for a different jersey to report change to official (seems pretty simple to accept)
- No players on the same team may wear the same uniform number if playing the same position (again, no problem with this one)
- To allow instant replay to adjust the clock at the end of each quarter (instead of just at end of half, no real issues with this one as every second does count)
- To allow the Big 12 to experiment with an eighth official on the field in conference games (would be placed in the backfield, but are more eyes a positive or negative to the game?)