Tuck: 10 New NCAA Football Rules

1. Targeting. The committee unanimously agreed that in addition to the existing 15-yard penalty, a player should be ejected for targeting a defenseless player above the shoulders. As with fighting, a player who is penalized for targeting in the first half would miss the remainder of the game; if he is penalized in the second half, he would miss the rest of that game and the first half of his team’s next contest.  To balance out the incidents where a player is unfairly penalized, officiating crews would be allowed to review the hit through video replay. Said the committee, the replay official “must have conclusive evidence that a player should not be ejected to overturn the call on the field.”

THOUGHTS: Sounds great on paper, but when its your star DB or LB that gets ejected in a big game you’ll think it’s taking this whole protecting players thing one step too far.  My biggest issue is when a receiver feels contact coming, it’s both taught and instinctual to “get small” to protect oneself.  That makes it very difficult for a defensive player to gauge where to hit his moving target, and in my opinion, just because the helmets touch or rub or hit, doesn’t mean the defensive player was head hunting or targetting, especially when you can see him leading with his shoulder.  This just in: the head (helmet) is attached to the shoulders.  This proposal is a bad idea made worse.


2. Blocking below the waist. The committee proposed that any block below the waist that occurs in front of a defender is legal; all other blocks below the waist are not.

THOUGHTS: Certainly the angle in which the play is viewed and even the moving target can affect whether a block is in front, or on the side.  A player can just as easily injure a knee or ankle with a low block in front, so if you are trying to eliminate the injury risk, get rid of low blocks altogether.  A vote for this just makes the referees job trickier.


3. Clock runoff. The committee proposed a 10-second clock runoff with less than a minute left in either half “when the sole reason for the clock to stop is an injury.”

THOUGHTS: NFL already has this rule, and adding this to college makes sense.


4. Spiking the football. The committee suggested that an offense be prohibited from spiking the ball and stopping the clock with less than three seconds on the clock. Instead, the team could only run an offensive play with one or two seconds remaining.

THOUGHTS:  It basically takes 2 seconds to complete a spike play, so that is what they should put in to avoid clock mismanagement and confusion; the same way the NBA doesn’t allow for a “shot” with .3 seconds or less.  3 seconds, have at it.  Spike away.  If it’s two or less, than run a play because the clock will run out otherwise.


5. Number changes. The committee proposed a rule requiring a team to announce to an official when a player switches numbers during the course of a game. The official will then announce the changed number, which would prevent a team from deceiving an opponent.

THOUGHTS: Duh.  This should pass with ease.


6. Same number at same position. The committee proposed a rule preventing teams from having players who play the same position share the same number.

THOUGHTS: Honestly, I didn’t think this was allowed right now.  Having duplicate numbers is a bad idea to begin with, but clearly if it has to happen, players should be on offense or defense, and not both competing on special teams.  Yes, I am talking about you Notre Dame.

7. The Boise State rule. The committee’s suggestion would nix the Broncos’ blue-on-blue combination. The committee proposed a rule that would “require teams to have either their jersey or pants contrast in color to the playing field.”


THOUGHTS: Yeah, I can see where this might be a problem.  I don’t think wearing blue tops and white pants is going to fix things though. Make them wear white or orange tops.


8. Electronic communication. Committee proposes “To allow the use of electronic communication by the on-field officiating crew after successful experimentation by the Southeastern Conference. This is not a required piece of equipment but will allow officiating crews to use this tool.”

THOUGHTS: Officials can talk remotely, from one end of the field to another without having to run to meet and huddle up.  Sounds okay to me, but we’ll still see huddles over big calls.


9. Eighth official. If passed, this rule would allow the Big 12 to use an eighth official during conference games. The added official would line up alongside the referee in the backfield.

THOUGHTS: I personally don’t like the idea of one conference doing something while others do something else.  I also don’t think we need another ref on the field either.


10. More instant replay. Committee proposes rule that would give officials the right to use replay to measure time at the end of each quarter.

THOUGHTS: I’ll sign up for that.  Officials need to make sure the clock is correct, so if this helps, so be it.


The next step in the process forwards these proposals from the NCAA Football Rules Committee to the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which meets on March 6.  At that date, the panel can decide to accept or decline the committee’s recommendations.

Yes to 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10.

No to 1, 2, 4, and 9.