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Thursday March 7, 2013 New NCAA Rule: Targeting a defenseless player equals automatic ejection, more new rules

Updated: 5:32pm, March 7

VIDEO: A look at the kind of hits that can earn a player an automatic ejection starting in 2013.

Players ready to deliver a helmet-rattling hit next season need to be careful. If the officials determine that a player targeted an opponent and made contact with the defenseless player above the shoulders, he will be ejected.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the new rule Tuesday based on a recommendation last month by the NCAA Football Rules Committee in its mission to improve player safety in college football.

Besides the player getting ejected for targeting a defenseless player, a 15-yard penalty will be enforced. According to the NCAA, the rule’s punishment will mirror that of the current penalty for fighting. If a player is penalized in the first half he will miss the remainder of the game; if he is penalized in the second half he will miss the remainder of the game and the first half of the next game.

In addition, the penalty will be reviewable through video replay to address concerns that the call on the field was an error.

While the targeting rule is the most prominent new rule the Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved for the 2013 season, several other rules were approved:

--A rule clarifying what blocks below the waist are acceptable. The NCAA streamlined the rule to allow all blocks below the waist that occur in front of a stationary defender during typical line play.

--A rule that adds a 10-second runoff when there is less than a minute remaining in the first and second half and the clock stops due to an injury.

--A rule prohibiting teams from spiking the football when there are less than three seconds remaining on the clock. Instead, the offense can run only one more play when there are one or two seconds left.

--A rule that allows replay officials to adjust the clock at the end of each quarter. In the past, the NCAA only allowed for such clock changes at the end of each half.

--A rule that requires any number changes made during a game to be reported directly to the referee, who then will officially announce the number change.

--A rule preventing players on the same team who play the same position from wearing the same number.

--A rule that clarifies the uniform font and color rules to the letter. Here is the adopted rule: "Jerseys must have clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals measuring at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively, andbe of one solid color that itself is clearly in distinct contrast with the color of the jersey, irrespective of any border around the number."

--A rule to allow officials to use electronic communication during games, following the lead of the Southeastern Conference. This rule is not required but will be allowed.

--Finally, the panel denied a recommendation called the “Boise State Rule.” The proposed rule sought to deny teams from wearing uniforms that were the same color as their playing field. Boise State often wears all-blue uniforms on its all-blue field.

(Sources: NCAA.org, USA Today)

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