Greg Johnson, NCAA.org
Health and safety in football will lead the agenda when the NCAA Football Rules Committee meets this week.
The committee will discuss possible modifications to the instant replay/targeting rule and will review the experimental rule that allowed medical spotters in the press box during the 2015 season – to consider approving it permanently – during its meeting Feb. 9-11 in Orlando, Florida.
In 2014, the targeting rule was altered to allow the instant-replay official to confirm or overturn a targeting call made by an on-field official. If the replay official found that the targeting penalty should not have been called, the call was overturned, the 15-yard penalty removed and the player allowed to stay in the game.
Committee members plan to talk about whether instant-replay officials should have even more flexibility when it comes to judging whether a targeting foul occurred. Additionally, the committee will consider allowing the instant-replay official to stop the game and enforce a targeting foul that was not detected by the on-field officials.
Last season, conferences were allowed to have a medical observer in the press box monitor the game and alert team personnel when a player might have an injury that is not noticed by the on-field officials or team medical personnel. In the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences’ experiment, the medical observer sat in close proximity to the instant-replay official and was authorized to contact the referee to stop the game so a player could be checked for a possible injury. Other conferences also experimented with using a medical observer and team medical personnel on the sideline in this role.
Other items on the Football Rules Committee agenda will include:
- Reviewing rules regarding ineligible receivers downfield, focusing on the balance between offense and defense. Part of this effort will be to find ways to help officials call this rule more consistently. Currently, linemen are allowed to be 3 yards past the line of scrimmage.
- Discussing whether a player who is running the football and gives himself up (e.g., slide) should be granted defenseless player protections.
- Discussing whether computers/tablets may be used on the sidelines for coaching purposes. Currently, electronic equipment is banned from the sidelines with the exception of devices that are allowed for health and safety purposes.