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NCAA approves two important adjustments to targeting for 2019, and a few other rule changes

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved a number of changes, among them are two changes that relate to targeting fouls, where inconsistencies have been a source of frustration for coaches and fans alike the past several years.

According to the NCAA release:

"Beginning in the fall in games using video review, instant replay officials will be directed to examine all aspects of the play and confirm the targeting foul when all elements of targeting are present. If any element of targeting cannot be confirmed, the replay official will overturn the targeting foul. There will not be an option for letting the call on the field “stand” during a targeting review — it must either be confirmed or overturned. Games using the halftime video review procedure will continue to use the current process."

The Oversight Panel also decided to move forward with a progressive penalty for targeting, meaning that players who commit three targeting penalties in the season will be subject to a suspension of one game.

Other notable changes include:

  • Kickoffs - No more two-man wedge formations to be used on kickoffs.
  • Overtime - Teams that go into a fifth overtime will now run alternating two-point plays, as opposed to the previous format where teams would continue drives starting at the opponents 25-yard line. The thought behind this change was to limit the number of plays from scrimmage late in games when players are exhausted in an effort to bring the game to a quicker conclusion. Two-minute rest periods are also being added after the second and fourth overtimes and the rules for the first four stanzas of overtimes are unchanged at this time.
  • Blind-side blocks - Players that deliver a blind-side block by attacking "an opponent with forcible contact" will result in a 15-yard personal foul penalty AND if the block includes elements consistent with targeting, then targeting can be enforced as well.

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