Let the uproar commence in earnest.
Last month, the the NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed that, in addition to a 15-yard penalty, any player flagged for targeting a defenseless player would be automatically ejected from the game. Today, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the rule, effective for the 2013 season.
The penalty for targeting will thus be essentially the same as the one in place for fighting and/or throwing a punch. If the penalty occurs in the first half of a game, the player will sit for the remainder of the contest. If the penalty occurs in the second half or overtime of a game, however, the player will be forced to sit out the first half of his team’s next game.
One area of concern, though, is how exactly to define the targeting of a defenseless player and how different officiating crews may interpret the NCAA’s own definition. In an attempt to alleviate some concern on that front, the oversight panel accepted the rules committee proposal that any targeting penalty be subject to immediate video review. The release states that “[t]he replay official must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field,” which of course brings additional subjectivity into the mix.
A postgame review could also negate a suspension for the first half of the next game for a targeting penalty that occurs after the end of the first half.
As has been the case in the past, conferences will maintain the power to add additional punitive measures on a player flagged for targeting.
While the targeting proposal was approved, the so-called “Boise Rule” was not. The rules committee had put forth a proposal that would have required teams to have either their jersey or pants contrast in color to the playing field — i.e., no blue uniforms on Boise State’s blue turf. The panel cited “concerns that it did not enhance the image of the game” as voting down the uniform rule.
The panel also voted down a proposal that would’ve moved the down-and-distance markers to the other side of the field after halftime, which is yet another example of the power wielded by the Chain Gang Local 1089.
A handful of other proposals were, however, approved by the panel:
— To adjust the convoluted blocking-below-the-waist rule. “In the past two years, the Football Rules Committee has adjusted rules governing these blocks in an attempt to reduce or remove potentially dangerous plays. But the changes have caused more confusion and inconsistency than intended. The new rule focuses on the block itself and will allow these blocks by stationary players in typical line play.”
— To add a 10-second runoff with less than a minute remaining in either half when the sole reason for the clock stoppage is because of injury.
— To establish three seconds as the minimum amount of time required to be on the game clock in order to spike the ball to stop the clock. If one or two seconds remain on the clock, there is only time for the offense to run one more play.
— To require a player that changes numbers during the game to report this to the referee, who will announce it.
— To preclude multiple players from the same team from wearing the same uniform number (for example, two quarterbacks on the same team are not allowed to have the same number).
— To allow the use of electronic communication by the on-field officiating crew (the practice was used successfully on an experimental basis by the Southeastern Conference). This is a permissive rule and not a requirement.
— To allow instant replay to adjust the clock at the end of each quarter. Previously, this provision was in place only for the end of each half.
— To clarify uniform rules as follows: “Jerseys must have clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals measuring at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively, and be of one solid color that itself is clearly in distinct contrast with the color of the jersey, irrespective of any border around the number.” This rule goes into effect for Football Bowl Subdivision teams in 2013. Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III teams will have until 2014 before the rule becomes effective.