The NCAA Wednesday released tougher rules proposals for players flagged for targeting defenseless players. Under the new statutes, the penalty will be marked off as a 15-yard personal foul and the player flagged will be ejected.
The action by the committee continues a progression to address dangerous contact through its rules. Targeting, which was initially approved by the committee as a separate foul in 2008, has been generally successful in terms of officiating application, which made the committee feel comfortable in adding to the penalty.
“The general consensus is that the officials on the field make this call properly the vast majority of the time and know what the committee is looking for with this foul,” said Rogers Redding, secretary-editor of the rules committee and national coordinator of officials for College Football Officiating, LLC. “This move is being made to directly change player behavior and impact player safety.”
The rule must first be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will meet on March 6 to discuss this and other rule changes. The amendment makes the penalty for targeting similar to that for fighting. If a player is ejected in the first half of a game, he must sit for the remainder of that game. For any player disqualified in the second half or overtime, he will miss the remainder of that game and the first half of the next game.
Another proposed rule change centers on blocks below the waist. In the past, the application of the rule differed depending on the position of the player at the snap. However, the new rule will focus more on the blocks themselves. The change was made because officials had a difficult time interpreting the rule.
“This rule was hard to teach to officials, hard to teach to coaches and really difficult to understand overall,” said Redding. “That obviously wasn’t the intent and we believe our new proposal will clear up a lot of confusion and keep the positive safety elements of the rule in place.”
– Marcas Grant, contributing editor