The NCAA keeps muddling on.

The NCAA’s Football Rules Committee got together this week and, as is its wont, decided on some more rules tinkering.  One thing comes as no surprise to many.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed an alteration involving the instant-replay review on targeting fouls during its Feb. 11-12 meeting in Indianapolis, which includes the ejection of the player committing the foul along with a 15-yard penalty.

Last season, the targeting rule was implemented and any player committing the penalty would be ejected and his team assessed a 15-yard penalty.

The committee recommended that if the instant replay official rules that a disqualification should not have occurred, and if the targeting foul is not accompanied by another personal foul, the 15-yard penalty for targeting should not be enforced.

Now this, while widely anticipated, still begs the question.  We were told when the original targeting rule was enacted that the permanence of the fifteen yard-penalty was important, because officials wanted to know somebody had their backs as they were being encouraged to call the penalty even in the gray areas. So how are officials going to react if that cover is taken away?  To some extent, you can see a fig leaf proposed in the very next paragraph:

However, if the targeting foul is committed in conjunction with another personal foul, the 15-yard penalty for that personal foul remains.  For example, if a player is called for roughing the passer and targeting the head and neck area, but the instant replay official rules that targeting did not occur,  the player flagged would remain in the game, but the roughing the passer penalty would still be enforced.

In other words, if an official suspects targeting, he can always throw two flags on the play.  That’ll teach everybody what matters, which is protecting the delicate fee fees of football officials.

It’s the second proposed rule change that’s going to get a lot more hackles up, I suspect.

The committee also recommended a rules change that will allow defensive units to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock, with the exception of the final two minutes of each half, starting with the 2014 season.

“This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute,” said Calhoun. “As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes.”

Under this rule proposal, the offense will not be allowed to snap the ball until the play clock reaches 29 seconds or less. If the offense snaps the ball before the play clock reaches 29 seconds, a 5-yard, delay-of-game penalty will be assessed. Under current rules, defensive players are not guaranteed an opportunity to substitute unless the offense substitutes first. This part of the rule will remain in place in scenarios where the play clock starts at 25 seconds.

We’re seriously supposed to believe this is being pitched as a student-athlete safety measure?  Who did the study, Dr. Nick Saban?

That’s not to say the committee didn’t look at any studies.

The committee discussed the issue thoroughly before coming to the conclusion that defensive teams should be allowed some period of time to substitute. The committee believes that 10 seconds provides sufficient time for defensive player substitutions without inhibiting the ability of an offense to play at a fast pace. Research indicated that teams with fast-paced, no-huddle offenses rarely snap the ball with 30 seconds or more on the play clock.

So one proposal waters down a rule that was enacted to provide for greater player safety, while the other is being pitched ostensibly in the name of greater player safety.  Ladies and gentlemen, this is your NCAA.

Each of these proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will discuss the football rules changes March 6.  I’ll bet there’s some major push back coming.


UPDATE:  The bitching commences.


 UPDATE #2:  And…


Filed under The NCAA

18 responses to “The NCAA keeps muddling on.

  1. Always Someone Else's Fault

    “Research indicated that teams with fast-paced, no-huddle offenses rarely snap the ball with 30 seconds or more on the play clock.”

    Yeah, because the offenses were lined up and ready to go, giving the QB time to survey the defense but preventing the defense from subbing. On the flip side, I wonder how coordinated a defense can be trying to sub and get lined up in 10 seconds. When guys did sub, I remember a lot of players out of position and looking at each other while the ball was being snapped.


  2. hey to goober

    “Who did the study, Dr. Nick Saban?”

    If not, perhaps Dr. Nick? Dr. Specimen? Dr. Fishman?


  3. sUGArdaddy

    The ejection penalty drives me bananas. Look, these kids aren’t trying to kill themselves or each other. The ejection is too severe. Let the league offices review film on Sunday afternoon to truly find malicious intent and deal with it accordingly.

    We’re asking an old dude in the box to figure this out in the heat of the moment in about 90 seconds.


    • jollyrogerjay

      Player safety..right..then the NCAA ought to just shorten the game to 10 minute quarters, 8 game seasons, stop kick offs and start on the 20, no punts, just move the ball down the field 40 yards, and have a weight & speed limit on defensive ends and linebackers to really protect the quarterbacks…or maybe go to 5 Mississippi. Jeesh…..This is all about coaches like the midget over in west alabama and the big 10 lardass now at Arkansas not wanting to deal with these fast paced offenses.


  4. South FL Dawg

    I don’t have a problem with the personal foul penalty assuming the personal foul call is also subject to review and is confirmed by replay. The substitution rule is just a testament to the power of Saban.


  5. Hogbody Spradlin

    So, if Barney Fife throws his flag and calls targeting and (to cover his ass) roughing at the same time, and the targeting call is upheld, does the player get ejected AND his team incur a 30 yard penalty?


  6. The targeting rule change isn’t going to change anything. We’ll see two fouls called every time, unnecessary roughness as the 15 yard penalty and targeting only for the ejection. The penalty on Wilson would be upheld because it’s not reviewable and the ejection overturned. The targeting call should have to stand on its own with the penalty and ejection attached to it. No other foul called on the player, period. If the replay official overturns the call, the ejection and the penalty are wiped out.

    I understand both sides of the substitution argument. If the offense doesn’t sub, the defense shouldn’t be given time to sub. The problem with the HUNH is that the officials don’t control it consistently. I think this rule gives an official benchmark for when the ball may be snapped outside the last 2 minutes. The offense subs a WR that the official doesn’t see while the ball is placed and then snaps the ball quickly, and the defense gets no time to adjust their personnel package. Since the 40 second clock starts as soon as the ball is whistled dead, this isn’t as big of a deal as it may appear. It doesn’t affect the game at all when the play clock starts at 25. By the time the teams unpile and line up, the play clock is probably already under 35 seconds, so what difference does 6-8 seconds make? This rule is actually a good balance between offense and defense just change the call to illegal procedure (similar to an illegal snap) as opposed to delay of game.


    • 81Dog

      thanks for the analysis, Coach Saban. 🙂


      • I just don’t see the big deal with the 10 second requirement. 40 second clock starts when the play is whistled dead. On a normal running play that gains 2-6 yards, it’s going to take 3-5 seconds to get everyone off the pile and then another 3-5 seconds for the offense to get set. In most cases, it’s going to take 3-5 seconds to get a call in from the sideline and communicate the play. I think it’s garbage to say this is about player safety, but something to at least give the defense an opportunity to organize does make sense. The rules are so tilted toward the offense now that it’s ridiculous.


  7. Go Dawgs!

    Oh, but the “delay of game by quickness” penalty goes out the window in a two-minute drill situation? Why is that, it is it because that’s the part of the game where Saban, Bielema, and the Big Ten actually want to use the hurry up? Or is it because there are studies that show the phantom “we’re playing too fast” injuries aren’t possible during the last two minutes of a half? This is BS. If this rule passes, it is going to severely impact my enthusiasm for college football. This is a rule change that has NOTHING to do with safety and EVERYTHING to do with dinosaurs refusing to get with the times. I really hate to quote Gus Malzahn’s HUNH people, but you get three timeouts. Use them. It’s not hard.


  8. I’d rather see the NCAA and conferences enforce blocking downfield. The play where the option teams runs the QB rollout option, but then decides to throw the flare after the defense reads option is BS. You see guys 3+ yards down the field blocking a la run, but then it turns out to be a pass.


  9. Cojones

    Enough of these unthoughtout “rules” that are amended on the fly during games. They should have been stopped before implementation of the sorry lunkhead 15-yd penalty “jut-in-case” rule of last year. By not raising hell and making a quick death of these boneheaded ideas, we, as fans, share some of the responsibility for implementation.

    OK. Another year and a double chance to raise hell about frustrating numbnuts thinking that is injected by a silly consortium of noncompetitives who amazingly can’t come up with a good idea without challenging the competitiveness inherent in CFB.

    We should all raise hell until we are heard and it all goes awry (I mean “away”).