New NCAA Rules Changes for the 2014 Season

NCAA football logo flagAs we head into the 2014 NCAA College Football season, let's take a look at how the NCAA has re-tuned some its rules. They are hoping to create a more fair and consistent game on the field.

For this 2014 season, here are four of the more prominent rule changes; we'll start with the targeting rule that received a lot of attention as of late.

Targeting Rules Change

This past season, a penalty was given a lot of attention and the old rule for targeting constituted a defender hitting an opponent in the neck or head area which carried an automatic 15 yard penalty. This is now made stronger by including automatic ejection from the game for the guilty player. Video replay could help to keep the player in the game if the video showed that the infraction was not as bad as expected, but the 15 yard penalty would remain in place.

The 2014 targeting rule has been refined after a season of useful feedback:

Now the video instant replay can reverse the 15 yard penalty, as well as prevent the ejection of the player. This is a common sense adjustment that should be appreciated by all coaches. Bottom line, if you did not commit the crime, you should not be penalized.

If there is no instant replay available, then a halftime review will be considered. It may seem hard to believe, but there are games each year that do not have instant replay available. In that case, the referees can review the infraction at halftime and can overturn anything that comes from a targeting call. If the penalized player was wrongly accused, he can be returned to the game in the second half. If a player is ejected in the second half of one of these games, the case will go to a national review board as to remove the next game ban if wrongly accused.

Other Rules Changes

Then there are two new rules which are not targeting:

The roughing of a passer that included low hits to the knee or below. This change is like the Tom Brady rule that the NFL implemented after the Patriots QB was out for the year 2008 due to a low hit and tearing his ACL. The key to this rule is “forcible contact,” which means the defender can not go for the lower legs, shoulders or arms of a QB with his head to make a tackle.

Finally, the NCAA clarified its rule regarding the numbers or letters on a uniform: they must contrast in color with the jersey. In today sports world, uniforms have a tendency to get wacky, thus the color of the uniform and the numerals must contrast in color. The deterrent will be officials that determine the colors don’t contrast; in such cases, they can ask the team involved to change uniforms. If they don’t comply, charged timeouts will be implied. Teams will be asked at the beginning of each quarter, so theoretically they could lose four of the games six timeouts for non-compliance with legal uniforms.