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NCAA Rule Changes: Because Botching the Call Isn't Enough


Just when the NCAA brass couldn't look any more incompetent, they outdo themselves in impressive fashion.

Never mind stripping essentially all college football recruiting restrictions, which makes sense because they can't even perform their own investigations properly.

Now, the infamous "targeting" penalty may get players tossed.

Look, I'm all for safety. I really am, but even the rules themselves leave too much room for interpretation.

Targeting/Initiating Contact With the Crown of the Helmet (Rule 9-1-3)

No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul.

Putting aside that "targeting" is vague in and of itself, the "defenseless player" concept seems pretty cut and dry, right?

Defenseless Player: Contact to Head or Neck Area (Rule 9-1-4)

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.

Yes, clear as mud.

While no doubt sincerely trying to add some safety to the game, referees botched this call consistently last year. Why? Because it was "in question" and they didn't want to get in boiling hot water because they allegedly didn't do their job.

That alone is questionable, but now players are going to get tossed for a rule so unclear and poorly enforced?

Second stringers everywhere, rejoice!

What would a conversation about NCAA rule changes be if there wasn't a completely asinine one that essentially goes against another?!

This is a fantastic proposal:

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.

Seems pretty harmless. Unless I was a coach lacking scruples and said to myself, "Wow, these guys are really gashing my defense and could put themselves in the lead if not win the game."

Suddenly, that 10-second runoff is a big flashing "EJECTION MEANS VICTORY!" sign on the opposing 11.

The NCAA is quite literally giving incentive for injury late in the second or fourth quarter.

A slew of other proposed rule changes are on the table, most of them gems.

The dumbest thing that can be done at this point is allowing a rule that's own definition is rewiring officials' brains to have even itchier trigger fingers when it comes to throwing flags to get the thumbs up.

Suddenly walk-ons who rarity contribute, if ever, become incredibly valuable. If they sit, there's no hiccup in efficiency on the field.

Congrats, NCAA. I truly have to applaud the lack of responsibility your organization has shown over the past several months. To be fair, such mishandling of discipline doesn't happen by accident. It takes talent.


What are your thoughts on the rule change proposals?

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