CLEMSON - The NCAA Football Rules Committee convened this week in Indianapolis, proposing two significant rules changes announced Wednesday evening.
The first one was expected, and will satisfy football fans and officials everywhere. The NCAA initiated new targeting consequences (including automatic ejections) for the 2013 season; but in circumstances when video review overturned ejections, the 15-yard personal foul would still be enforced.
Under the NCAA's latest proposal, the personal foul would also be wiped out if video review overturned the call - provided there were no other personal fouls on the play (i.e. roughing the passer.)
In games without the use of on-field instant replay - mainly at the FCS, Division II and III levels - the committee is suggesting an option to allow referees to review targeting calls at halftime. Overturned calls would permit ejected players to return to action for the second half.
The other major rule change proposal addresses the new wave of hurry-up offenses. The committee is recommending allowing defensive substitutions within the first 10 seconds of a 40-second play clock, unless it's in the final two minutes of either half.
"This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute," Air Force coach and committee chair Troy Calhoun said in the NCAA's statement. "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 it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes."
Under the suggested rule, if the offense snaps the ball with 30 or more seconds left on the play clock, it would be penalized five yards for delay-of-game. Currently, the defense is only assured a chance to substitute when at least one offensive player does so.
The NCAA's statement read on: "The committee believes 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."
The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel must approve any proposals. That committee will meet March 6.