INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Players ejected from football games for targeting will be allowed to remain on the sidelines, according to an Associated Press report of the NCAA statement released last week.
The Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the rules change no longer requiring players to head to the locker room after targeting is confirmed. All other aspects of the rule discouraging above-the-shoulders contact remain the same.
While it’s not a significant change and the body of the rule remains the same, this is, in my opinion, a good move by the rules panel.
Most instances where targeting is call and confirmed are not blatant attempts by a violating player to intentionally break the rule or strike a player in a manner for which to injure them. They are pure products of a fast-moving, collision-based sport.
I applaud the NCAA for taking the health and safety of players into account and attempting to remove some hits from the sport, so I have no significant objections to the targeting rule as it is written.
Enforcement, however, from time to time has come into question, and I feel there should be some broader guidelines implemented for officials involved in booth reviews to assist them in making the proper calls.
Other rules changes according to the Associated Press release include.
The panel also approved a pace-of-play guideline for instant replay officials to complete video reviews in less than two minutes. Reviews that are exceptionally complicated or involve end-of-game issues should be completed as efficiently as possible without a stated time limit.
A clock rule regarding instant replay also was approved. If the game clock expires at the end of a half and replay determines there was time remaining and the clock should start on the referee’s signal, there must be at least 3 seconds left when the ball should have been declared dead, to restore time. If less than 3 seconds remain on the game clock, the half is over.
The panel approved a rule that officials’ jurisdiction of a game begins 90 minutes before kickoff, instead of the current 60. There had been concerns about dust-ups between opponents before officials were required to be on the field.
Only two players on a team will be allowed to wear the same jersey number to limit confusion among officials and to make opponent scouting less difficult. The players must not be on the field at the same time. Also, players will be allowed to wear the number “0” this season.