The NCAA is becoming more and more aggressive in officiating against head injuries. In its proposed rules changes that were announced today, the NCAA Football Rules Committee is now proposing to eject any player who target and make contact with defenseless players above the shoulders.
Targeting will be handled similarly to fighting, where a first half ejection removes the player for the rest of that game, and an ejection in the second half or overtime will result in a removal from that game and a first half suspension from the following game.
Ejections will be eligible for video replay, but the burden of proof will essentially lie on the offending player, as video replay will have to provide evidence to overturn the call on the field to keep the player in the game.
“Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns,” said Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun, who chairs the committee. “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.”
Other proposed rules modifications include:
- Blocks below the waist would now be allowed in typical line play, as long as they come from the front. Below the waist blocks from the side or back would not be allowed.
- A 10-second run off would be enforced for any injury timeouts that occur with less than a minute to play in each half.
- Spiking would only be permitted with three seconds on the clock or more remaining. If the ball is snapped with two or one seconds to play, the offense must run a play.
- A player changing numbers during a game must report the change to the referee, who will then announce the change. No more USC-Colorado situations allowed.
- Players would not be allowed to have the same number if they play the same position. Teams could still have two No. 7s, for instance, but they both can't play quarterback.
- Teams would have to wear either pants or jerseys that do not match the field. So Boise State would not be able to wear its all-blue uniforms.
- Officials would be permitted to communicate through electronic headsets.
- The Big 12 would be permitted to experiment with using an eighth official on the field for conference games.
- Instant replay would be allowed to adjust the clock at the close of each quarter. Previously, instant replay was only used to adjust the clock at the end of each half.