The NCAA Rules Committee has made some new recommendations for changes to the NCAA football rulebook. (More here)
Most controversial is that "targeting" would result in a 15 yard penalty and the ejection of the offending player. This would be added to the existing rules, which are:
- Rule 9, Article 3: "No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul."
- Rule 9, Article 4: "No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul."
The proposed rule will mirror the penalty for fighting. If the foul occurs in the first half of a game, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game. If the foul occurs in the second half or overtime of a game, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next contest.
Video replay would be allowed to overturn the ejection.
Less controversial, probably, are the other recommendations:
- To make blocks below the waist from the side and back illegal, but legal if the blocked player is facing the player blocking below the waist.
- To add a 10-second runoff with less than a minute remaining in either half when the sole reason for the clock to stop is an injury.
- To establish three seconds as the minimum amount of time required to be on the game clock in order to spike the ball to stop the clock. If one or two seconds remain on the clock, there is only time for the offense to run one more play.
- To require a player that changes numbers during the game to report this to the referee, who will announce this.
- To only allow one player number to be worn by the same team and participate at the same position (e.g., two quarterbacks on the same team are not allowed to have the same number).
- To require teams to have either their jersey or pants contrast in color to the playing field.
- To allow the use of electronic communication by the on-field officiating crew after successful experimentation by the Southeastern Conference. This is not a required piece of equipment but will allow officiating crews to use this tool.
- To allow the Big 12 Conference to experiment with using an eighth official on the field in conference games. This official would be placed in the backfield opposite the referee.
- To allow instant replay to adjust the clock at the end of each quarter. Previously this provision was only in place for the end of each half.
At the moment these are just proposals; they will be voted on in under a month (March 6).
Ejection seems extreme to me; I would prefer to warn a first-time offender and then perhaps eject him if he continues to target in a way that is dangerous. It will be difficult in some cases for referees to determine intent (which it seems to me is part of the rule as currently stated: "target and initiate contact").