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Thursday February 21, 2013 NCAA proposes 10 football rule changes to go before Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6

Updated: 4:41pm, February 21

According to a new rule proposal, South Carolina's D.J. Swearinger would have been ejected for this hit.

The NFL has implemented rule changes in recent years in the name of player safety. The NCAA Football Rules Committee is trying to do the same.

The committee recently proposed a rule to eject players who target and hit a defenseless player above the shoulders. The committee voted unanimously to increase what is now a 15-yard penalty for the type of helmet-to-helmet hits that are linked to concussions.

If the rule is approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6, a player would be automatically ejected if the referees determine the hit in question targeted a defenseless player.

“Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns,” said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun in a press release. Calhoun is chair of the committee. “We all have a role to embrace when making a positive impact on our game. Taking measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, will improve our great sport.”

According to, 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.

“The general consensus is that the officials on the field make this call properly the vast majority of the time and know what the committee is looking for with this foul,” said Rogers Redding, secretary-editor of the rules committee and national coordinator of officials for College Football Officiating, LLC. “This move is being made to directly change player behavior and impact player safety.”

The targeting penalty is one of 10 rule changes the committee proposed. The others:

--The committee proposed another tweak to the “blocking below the waist” penalty that has confused fans and coaches the past two years due to various adjustments of the rule. To help make the call clearer, the committee proposed that any block below the waist in front of a defender is legal. All other blocks below the waist are not.

“What we’re trying to do is write the rule to protect the player that will need to take on this block,” said Calhoun. “So, the blocks from the front of this type in your typical line play are legal and anything that is from the side or back are not.”

--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. **(This proposal has not gone over well based on social media comments).**

--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. This proposal is being called the Boise State Rule.

Boise State football

The blue uniforms Boise State wears at home sometimes are in jeopardy due to a new rule proposal.

--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.

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