Proposed NCAA Rule Changes For 2014 Football Season

Image via ncaa.org

Late Wednesday afternoon the NCAA released a statement regarding two proposed — key word — rule changes for the upcoming 2014 football season. The first of which makes perfect sense while the second……well, not so much.

The first of the two proposed rule changes involves the somewhat controversial targeting penalty that was adopted this past season. And I say controversial because of plays like this particular one I’m sure many of you remember.

Virtually no one disputes the good intentions of the rule itself, but where everyone with a brain in their head took issue was on a play similar to the one above Gabe Lynn where the ejection is overturned by some incredibly flawed logic the penalty was allowed to stand.

The proposed rule change would correct this ridiculous error, meaning if the ejection is overturned via replay then so may the 15-yard penalty as well. However, there is a bit of a catch as far be it for the NCAA to just keep things relatively simple. I’ll allow them to explain the proposed new rule.

The committee recommended that if the instant replay official rules that a disqualification should not have occurred, and if the targeting foul is not accompanied by another personal foul, the 15-yard penalty for targeting should not be enforced.

However, if the targeting foul is committed in conjunction with another personal foul, the 15-yard penalty for that personal foul remains.  For example, if a player is called for roughing the passer and targeting the head and neck area, but the instant replay official rules that targeting did not occur,  the player flagged would remain in the game, but the roughing the passer penalty would still be enforced. – NCAA.org

A rare instance in which the NCAA actually does something (or at least proposed the idea of doing something) that makes sense.

Then they propose this.

The committee also recommended a rules change that will allow defensive units to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock, with the exception of the final two minutes of each half, starting with the 2014 season.

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.

Research indicated that teams with fast-paced, no-huddle offenses rarely snap the ball with 30 seconds or more on the play clock. – NCAA.org

It’s laughable, really.

So under the guise of doing “what’s best for the student-athlete” they’ve proposed a rule that will deliberately effect (regardless of what they’re “research” says) teams that employ a hurry-up offense.

Think a number of the coaches in the Big 12 will be in favor of this rule?  Yeah….um, no.

The obvious theory behind this second proposal being that slowing down the game will supposedly make it safer for the players, or at a minimum at least for Nick Saban who is a noted opponent of hurry-up offenses.

Well, people much smarter than myself have addressed said theory, right around the time Saban complained, and it would appear to be one without much merit.

All that said, it bares repeating that these are currently just proposed rule changes. All rules changes must be approved by an oversight panel which in the statement released was said to be discussing these proposals (and I’m assuming others) when they meet on March 6th.