The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel met via teleconference on Tuesday and approved a number of new measures making their way through the organization's bureaucratic slush factory.
Chief among them: electronic devices will now be allowed for use during games, but only in the coaches' box and in the locker room. Computers and tablets will still be banned from the sidelines and the field. The NCAA notes that the home team is responsible for "ensuring identical television capability and identical video and Internet connectivity in the coaches’ booths of both teams."
The committee will model electronic usage during the 2016 season. The guess here is that sideline usage is approved by 2018.
The panel also permitted replay officials to stop games if they believe a targeting foul was missed by the on-field officials. "The NCAA Football Rules Committee believes players were incorrectly disqualified from games in a small number of cases last season," the NCAA added. "The elements of targeting that replay officials will watch for include launching and forcible contact to the head, among other factors."
- The panel tasked officials with more stringently enforcing the 3-yard ineligible receiver downfield rule. A push existed inside the NCAA to pull the threshold back to one yard, but the panel elected instead to enforce the current rule as written.
- Deliberate tripping of a ball-carrier is now a foul.
- Rules covering defenseless players include ball-carriers who have clearly given themselves up by sliding feet first.
- Rules regarding low blocks now bar players who leave the tackle box from blocking below the waist "toward the initial position of the ball."
- A proposal to allow teams to extend one timeout per half by 30 seconds was tabled for consideration by the Division I Football Oversight Panel.