NCAA Football Rules Committee Allows Replay Review of All Targeting Fouls


The NCAA's committee for football rule changes voted in favor of expanding instant replay to get targeting penalty calls correct.

According to The Associated Press, the committee's announcement came after four days of meetings in Orlando, Fla. and is now pending the approval of an oversight panel. That vote is expected to take place March 8.

The NCAA introduced the targeting rule in 2013 to harshen the penalty for players who lower their head to tackle an opponent. The American Football Coaches Association defines targeting as when a player "aims at an opponent for purposes of attacking with an apparent intent that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball."

The new rule will allow on-field officials to review both targeting calls and plays where it appears to occur but it not called with the focus on increasing accuracy, The AP reported. Players who commit targeting are immediately ejected for the remainder of the game, which entails a one-half suspension for the player's next game if the penalty is committed in the second half. The opposing team is given 15 yards as well.

"The targeting rule is serving the game well, and has enhanced player safety," Bob Nielson, chair of the committee and head coach at the University of South Dakota, said in a statement. "Because this is such a severe penalty, we are instructing replay officials to review plays to ensure that the required elements of targeting exist. We are also adding the ability for the replay official to stop the game when a potential targeting foul is not detected on the field."

The committee passed three other rules designed to enhance the player's safety. Low blocking outside the tackle box is banned, a feet-first slide constitutes a player as a defenseless ball carrier, and tripping if a now a foul.

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