ARLINGTON, Texas – Several noteworthy rule changes have been introduced ahead of the new season for college football.
Big 12 Officials Coordinator Greg Burks shared an insight into several of these changes Thursday morning to kick off the second day of Big 12 Football Media Days. Beginning this fall, the NCAA will provide more protection for quarterbacks, and will continue to crack down on targeting, changing the defensive holding penalty and cracking down on fake slides by ball carriers.
Here is a breakdown of these rule changes:
passersby are unarmed players
Perhaps the most significant change identified by Birx is that bystanders are now considered defenseless players, a critical condition in determining targeting errors.
NCAA Rule 2-27-14-a defines an unarmed player as “a person who is particularly vulnerable to injury by reason of his physical condition and concentration. When asked, a player is unarmed.”
This rule was applied most often to wide receivers who were catching the ball, the quarterback in the middle of a throwing move or shortly after the ball had been released. But now, the rule has been updated to include an additional requirement: any offensive player in “Pitch Passing Mode” is considered defenseless.
“The discussion was, ‘If you don’t pass the ball, are you defenseless? Until you become a sprinter, you are now, according to the rule, considered a defenseless player, and you will be treated as such,'” Burks said.
Automatically down first for defensive catch
This is a new rule of thumb that will likely affect the outcome of at least two games this fall.
Even Burks admitted this fact during his press conference about the rule changes. In the past, it was only defensive sticking on a qualified receiver It resulted in a 10-yard penalty and an auto hit first. Now, any defensive hold, no matter where or when it occurs, will result in 10 yards and a new set of touchdowns to attack.
“It seems like it’s not a huge change, but what if you have the hold on a penalty kick, a hidden throw, and the fourth and 40, you have a gunner, you can have a scenario where you get the first hit and it changes the outcome of the game pretty much,” Borks said. “It’s going to be something that most people don’t look at, but I’m sure that once or twice during the season, this will show a role and it will matter.”
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Advance to the end zone
This slight base tweak may also come to the fore in a few key moments this season.
In the past, a receiver who catches a ball in the end zone in flight and then is pushed back into the field of play before landing may suffer one of two outcomes: if the player lands on his knees, he is awarded a landing, but if he falls to his feet, he will not be judged, and he will have to Cross the goal line again to score six points.
Now, that rule has been simplified, according to Burkes.
“If you’re in the end zone, and you have possession of the football, and you get kicked out of the end zone by the opponent, you are now relegated,” said Burks. ”
However, there is still a key distinction here: if an airborne receiver catches a ball in the end zone, but his own momentum moves it outside the end zone and back into the field of play before landing, he still has to cross the goal line (again) to score.
(If that sounds confusing now, just wait for it to happen in a fast-paced game to potentially tie the score. There’s no way to provoke any controversy!)
Kenny Beckett base
Last season in the ACC Championship game, former quarterback Pete scored a long-range goal after rigging a slip. According to Burkes, this type of action is no longer allowed.
“The rules are now with targeting you have to pull the sliding quarterback,” Burks said. “This rule wasn’t in the book, technically, and it has been added that if someone starts slipping or falsifying, the play is dead, the ball is in that place where that player’s backside initially goes down, and we’ll stop the play in that stage.”
The judgment on the fake chip must be made by a referee on the court. It is not a reviewable procedure. However, Birx noted that the fake slide could be reviewed to locate the dead ball after the play.
More discretion in targeting
If a player is sent off for targeting in the second half of a match, teams can now appeal the referee after the match and have the procedure reviewed by a committee. This rule has affected lower levels of college football, and will finally make its way to the first level in 2022.
But Birx doesn’t anticipate many scenarios where this affects the targeting hold in Big 12, because the conference already uses a “cooperative restart”. This rule change will likely apply to a smaller conference, which may not have access to collaborative replays or TV broadcasts that can produce several different replay angles used to review targeting errors, Burkes said.
In addition, the “crown” of the helmet is more clearly defined. Manipulators who lead with the helmet front will no longer be punished for targeting.
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Additional rule changes
- In previous years, non-sporting penalties until the end of the long pass or sprint were not treated like personal fouls. The rule has changed this year: Non-sports fouls will be treated as personal fouls, and they will be added to the end of any pass or run.
- Illegal blocks will now be penalized by the player who previously indicated a fair capture during the 10-yard kick. Previously, this action resulted in a 15-yard penalty. Banning is not a personal fault.
- The ‘Feel at rest’ rule will now reverse the ‘Feel off at rest’ rule. If a player drops the ball in one yard before crossing the goal line, and the ball rolls to the end zone and no one recovers it, the ball will be marked dead at the one yard line and spotted there.
- Players who appear injured must be given full protection under NCAA rules, but sometimes, athletes fake injuries to stop the clock late in the game — and may be encouraged by the coach to do so. Should doubts be raised about the game, institutions or conferences now have the option to consult the national coordinator of football officials, who can then facilitate a video review. The coordinator can then report the results to the conference desk for necessary action.
- Governors have also been advised to keep a close eye on police uniforms. Specifically, the trouser lengths should be to the knee or just below. Players cannot be penalized for wearing an out-of-range uniform, but they can be forced to leave the field of play until the equipment is legal. Officials will work with coaching staff and equipment managers before the games begin to try to correct outliers.