Tag Archives: targeting
Targeting Rule on Football Rules Committee’s Agenda; Medical Spotters Experimental Rule also to be Discussed
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.
Steve Shaw, the SEC’s coordinator of officials, says the league’s new targeting rule has produced desirable results.
Shaw noted at SEC Media Days that he sees “evidence of players lowering the target and sometimes pulling up on an unnecessary hit so they’re not at risk for a targeting disqualification. The rule has done what we wanted to do and we need to stay with it.”
Shaw also noted that the league is making it a point of emphasis to penalize defensive players, who hit quarterback in the knee area. This was a fear when the targeting rule was implemented that defensive players would lower their target area too far.
Shaw said the SEC now has a defacto strike zone: “You hit them above the knee and below the neck.”
The NCAA has announced that its 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.
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.
All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will discuss the football rules changes March 6. The proposed changes are being circulated for membership comment.
“Overall, the targeting rule was successful and has had the intended impact of making play safer,” said Troy Calhoun, head coach at the Air Force Academy and chair of the committee, which met Monday through Thursday in Indianapolis. “This alteration keeps the intent of the rule, but allows replay to correct all of the consequences from a rare missed call.”