NCAA considering targeting, defensive substitution rule changes


Two new rules proposed by the NCAA Football Rules Committee could change the current targeting rule and affect the way some college football offenses run.

Nov 23, 2013; Ames, IA, USA; Iowa State Cyclones defender Jared Brackens (14) tackles Kansas Jayhawks running back Brandon Bourbon (25) in the first quarter at Jack Trice Stadium. Iowa State won 34-0. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

First, the current targeting rule is in place to prevent players using the crown of their helmet to hit the head or neck area of an opponent. If this happens, that player is penalized 15 yards for a personal foul and is ejected. Referees can look at the play again and decide if the player did target. If not, then the player stays in the game but the 15-yard penalty is still assessed.

Essentially, the personal foul was on nothing if targeting was wiped away, creating a ton of controversy.

The NCAA proposes that the 15-yard penalty is also thrown out if the player wasn’t targeting. However, if there was a separate call on the play, that would still be assessed. Targeting can still be its own 15-yard penalty.

Basically, this was something that should have been done when the targeting rule was implemented.

The other rule change created a lot of controversy over Twitter. The NCAA is proposing that defenses have 10 seconds to substitute players.


"Under this rule proposal, the offense will not be allowed to snap the ball until the play clock reaches 29 seconds or less. If the offense snaps the ball before the play clock reaches 29 seconds, a 5-yard, delay-of-game penalty will be assessed. Under current rules, defensive players are not guaranteed an opportunity to substitute unless the offense substitutes first. This part of the rule will remain in place in scenarios where the play clock starts at 25 seconds."

The article essentially explains that it’s for the protection of their “student-athletes,” and research indicated that rarely any teams that run a no-huddle offense snapped the ball with more than 30 seconds left on the clock.

So, something that’s done rarely requires a rule change. Fans, as well as coaches, aren’t happy about the proposal. Bruce Feldman tweeted the following:

"Text from a coach on new rules proposal: “the 2 coaches on the rules committee were 84th & 106th in plays run last year. C’mon man.”"

Neither rule change really affects the Iowa State Cyclones – off the top of my head, they weren’t called for a targeting foul and they never ran a hurry-up offense at that speed.

However, a Texas defender was suspended for the first half of the game after committing a targeting penalty in the second half of their previous game. Additionally, there should be more amended to targeting. In that game against the Longhorns, Mike Davis took a cheap shot at Deon Broomfield. That’s the definition of targeting, but nothing was called.

As for the hurry-up offense, maybe Paul Rhoads’ eventual goal is to run at that pace if the offense was ever consistent. Otherwise, sorry Baylor Bears and Texas Tech Red Raiders. We’ll hope the rule gets shot down, which will be reviewed by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6th.