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The NCAA is doubling down on the targeting rule


The targeting rule isn't going anywhere. In fact, the NCAA is doubling down on it.

Following four days of meetings in Orlando in conjunction with the NCAA Sports Science Institute football summit, the NCAA Football Rules Committee emerged with recommendations to strengthen the targeting foul.

Cue NCAA-ese:

After reviewing numerous video examples and receiving strong feedback on its annual rules survey, the committee voted to expand the authority of the instant replay official, requiring them to review all aspects of targeting fouls. Additionally, the instant replay official will be able to stop the game and create a targeting foul in situations where an egregious action has occurred.

The biggest change there, obviously, is that replay officials will be able to stop games on their own to call targeting fouls they believe officials on the field missed.

“The targeting rule is serving the game well, and has enhanced player safety,” said committee chair and South Dakota head coach Bob Nielson. “Because this is such a severe penalty, we are instructing replay officials to review plays to ensure that the required elements of targeting exist. We are also adding the ability for the replay official to stop the game when a potential targeting foul is not detected on the field.”

This being the NCAA, nothing is ever final. The rules committee's proposals will now be forwarded for membership comment, and then move before the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 8. If and when approved, the new rules will go into effect for this season.

Other items recommended by the Football Rules Committee:

  • Technology such as tablets and laptops will be permitted for use in the press box and in the locker room, but not on the sideline.
  • The committee will not change the 3-yard limit for ineligible receivers downfield, instead asking officials to enforce the rule more strictly.
  • Players who leave the tackle box will be prohibited from blocking below the waist "toward the initial position of the ball."
  • Ball carriers who give themselves up by sliding feet first will now be afforded defenseless player protections.
  • Deliberate tripping of a ball carrier is now considered a foul.

Also worth noting: