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Targeting rules enhanced for football replay officials

Use of electronic devices also approved by Playing Rules Oversight Panel

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved expanding instant replay officials’ authority regarding targeting fouls in football and authorized electronic devices for coaching purposes in some areas of stadiums.

The panel, which met Tuesday via conference call, agreed to allow the instant replay official to stop the game and create a targeting foul in situations where an egregious action occurred and was missed by on-field officials. Instant replay officials also are required to review all aspects of targeting fouls called by an on-field official.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee believes players were incorrectly disqualified from games in a small number of cases last season. The elements of targeting that replay officials will watch for include launching and forcible contact to the head, among other factors.

Panel members also approved the use of electronic devices for coaching purposes in the press box and locker room during the game. However, that equipment will still be prohibited on the sidelines, in the team areas and on the field. Additionally, the home institution is responsible for ensuring identical television capability and identical video and Internet connectivity in the coaches’ booths of both teams. 

The Football Rules Committee will continue monitoring the use of those devices in the 2016 season in addition to other potential technology enhancements it believes could improve the game.

Three additional adjustments were approved to enhance student-athlete safety:

  • The rules dealing with low blocks were adjusted to prohibit a player who leaves the tackle box from blocking below the waist toward the initial position of the ball.
  • The rules pertaining to a defenseless player will include a ball carrier who has clearly given himself up by sliding feet first.
  • The deliberate tripping of the ball carrier (with the leg) was approved as a foul.

Additionally, the Football Rules Committee will instruct officials to stringently enforce the 3-yard limit regarding ineligible receivers downfield and adjust officiating mechanics to better officiate plays.

A proposal to allow teams to extend one charged timeout by 30 seconds in each half was tabled by the panel for further discussion. The panel would like to receive comment from the Division I Football Oversight Committee before considering this proposal and will review the proposal in time for the 2016 season.