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NCAA approves new roughing the passer penalty for hits below knees

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Hitting a quarterback below the knees in passing situations will result in a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer according to a new rule approved by the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel. The new rule will go into effect this fall around the country.

One of the first questions that may come to mind is just what qualifies as a passing situation in a game where passing has become more and more frequent? Will every pass play by considered a passing situation, or just plays that come on third and long or perhaps even second and long? Fortunately the NCAA laid out the basics for when this penalty will come into play.

According to the NCAA, “the rule specifically covers a scenario in which a quarterback is in a passing posture with one or both feet on the ground.” When in this situation, no defensive player rushing unabated can hit the quarterback at the knees or below the knees. In addition, a defensive player may not roll or lunge and forcibly hit the quarterback in the knee or below. So a defender already on the ground may not roll into the quarterback.

There are exceptions to the rule though. A quarterback who takes off to run, no matter where located on the field, is no longer considered in a passing situation so he would be vulnerable. If a defender is already engaging in wrapping up the quarterback for a tackle, the passing situation is considered over. Any defender blocked into a passer is also in the clear as far as a penalty is concerned, but this means officials will have to keep a close eye on the entire play to determine if a player hitting below the knee was pushed into the passer or if the dive or lunge was initiated by the defender.

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16 Responses to “NCAA approves new roughing the passer penalty for hits below knees”
  1. cometkazie says: Apr 16, 2014 5:07 PM

    Good!

  2. igeorgiaboy says: Apr 16, 2014 5:11 PM

    so how does work during play action?

  3. dmvtransplant says: Apr 16, 2014 5:32 PM

    Still 100 times better than the NFL’s touch the QB and get a penalty & fine policy also called the “Drew Brees rule”.

    College football where sacks still exist

  4. mogogo1 says: Apr 16, 2014 5:51 PM

    Will it be reviewable? Seems like the part about guys being blocked into the QB would need to be. Guys can be pushed off balance and travel a couple yards before falling down.

  5. donovandancy says: Apr 16, 2014 6:59 PM

    Cant hit up high, cant hit down low, just fire the ncaa so we can get back to playing football.

  6. justanobserver says: Apr 16, 2014 11:46 PM

    Incredible — as in incredibly stupid!!!!!

    Here’s a better idea. Maybe somebody should come up with a belt the QB can wear around his (or her) waist. The belt would have a piece of cloth snapped-on to either side — yeah, call them flags. The defender grabs one of those flags, ripping it from the QB’s belt and he/she is considered tackled, play over, no one gets hurt.

    God, will “participation” trophies soon be replacing championship trophies in this once great game?

  7. dcroz says: Apr 17, 2014 5:57 AM

    Rules proposed for 2015…meaning they will be passed without any thought to just how they will work in action:

    1) Defensive players must audibly count “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, etc.” up to five before crossing the line of scrimmage after the snap; otherwise a 5-yard offsides penalty shall be enforced.

    2) Defensive players can only tackle the quarterback with one hand tied behind their backs, and a kid glove on the other. Any contact otherwise will result in a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty.

    3) Defensive players shall not exhale on a quarterback. A violation will result in a 15-yard unsportsman-like conduct penalty.

    4) Defensive players shall not look at the quarterback in any manner that will make the quarterback think they have any intention of violating the above rules. This will result in a 15-yard unsportsman-like conduct penalty, disqualification from ever playing college football again, expulsion from school, and the sanctions shall be inheritable for three generations.

  8. huskerzfan says: Apr 17, 2014 7:19 AM

    And as always, people on this board take a logical rule, get their panties all in a wad, and take things to excessive extremes.

    But what should we expect when the article presents this rule in such a cynical nature?

    Nothing wrong with this rule, and if you’ve ever played football it actually makes sense because it is a hidden rule within the game that players and coaches know that players shouldn’t be doing. They have now made it an actual rule that should and will be penalized.

  9. dcroz says: Apr 17, 2014 7:30 AM

    huskerzfan:

    Yeah, just as that targeting rule that was implemented last year was “logical,” too, right? Fifteen-yard penalty and an ejection for targeting, fine; if the review showed that no targeting happened, then the player was not ejected, but the penalty was still enforced even though no foul had actually occurred? Let’s see how “logical” this penalty is next season when a QB who is running a play-action is and is currently not in a throwing motion gets hit and a flag gets thrown that decides the outcome of a game. The NCAA is good on ideas, but often short on execution.

  10. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: Apr 17, 2014 9:12 AM

    This is undoubtedly going to lead to confusion and undeserved penalties. Typical NCAA, they do not learn from past mistakes. If you really want to help player’s, push through a rule that forces the universities to keep players who are injured in game play or game practice on scholarship. This would help the kids more then some stupid mostly interpreted rule. Too many players get hurt helping the team they committed to and then are unceremoniously shown the door.Not to mention these kids helped their schools turn a nice profit in most cases!

  11. huskerzfan says: Apr 17, 2014 7:44 PM

    iwishwvuwouldbeatbama, the NCAA does have scholarships for players that get hurt.

    They are called Medical Hardships. Ask any Alabama fan, I’m sure they know all about ‘em.

  12. huskerzfan says: Apr 17, 2014 7:50 PM

    @ dcroz says:Apr 17, 2014 7:30 AM

    huskerzfan:

    Let’s see how “logical” this penalty is next season when a QB who is running a play-action is and is currently not in a throwing motion gets hit and a flag gets thrown that decides the outcome of a game.

    I honestly don’t know if this is a serious question, or not?

  13. dcroz says: Apr 17, 2014 9:34 PM

    I didn’t write it well, if that’s what you are saying. So since apparently you are unable to get the gist of what I am saying:

    Let’s see how “logical” this penalty is next season when a QB who is running a play-action is tackled at or below the knees when it is not obvious that he is intending to throw the ball, and the referees throw the flag for violating this new rule despite said ambiguity, and it costs the defensive team the game.

  14. huskerzfan says: Apr 17, 2014 10:04 PM

    Not sure how this doesn’t answer your question:

    The rule specifically covers a scenario in which a quarterback is in a passing posture with one or both feet on the ground. In that situation, no defensive player rushing unabated can hit him forcibly at or below the knee. The defensive player also may not initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the quarterback in the knee area or below.

    Exceptions for these types of hits occur when:
    •the passer becomes a runner, either inside or outside the tackle box;
    •the defender grabs or wraps the passer in an attempt to make a conventional tackle;
    •the defender is not rushing unabated or is blocked or fouled into the passer.

  15. tngilmer says: Apr 18, 2014 5:10 PM

    The NCAA nannies are about as good at screwing up the game of football as the France family is at screwing up NASCAR.

  16. dcroz says: Apr 18, 2014 9:42 PM

    huskerfan:

    Yeah, and the targeting rule was supposedly written to be unambiguous, too, but targeting calls (at least in televised games) were overturned on review more often than not. Rules may be clearly written in the book, but that does not mean their application is nearly so simple in real-time out on the field.

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