NCAA: Replay official can overturn close’targeting calls

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel adjusted
the targeting rule in college football, allowing video review
officials to overturn calls if any element of the penalty cannot be
confirmed.

The adjustment to the rule announced Tuesday means there will be no
option for letting the call on the field ”stand” during a
targeting review. It must either be confirmed or overturned.

The panel also approved instituting a progressive penalty for
targeting. Players who commit three targeting fouls in the same
season are subject to a one-game suspension.

Overtime rules also were tweaked. If a game reaches a fifth
overtime, teams will run alternating 2-point plays instead of
starting another drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line. The change
was made to limit the number of plays from scrimmage and to bring
the game to a conclusion.

Targeting, or illegal hits above the shoulders, would still result
in a 15-yard penalty and ejection of the player who committed the
foul. Players ejected in the second half would still be required to
sit out the first half of the following game.

The goal of the rule adjustment is to call targeting more
accurately and have fewer players ejected for borderline calls. The
option to let a call on the field ”stand” meant that the video
review official didn’t find enough evidence to reverse the call, so
the 15-yard penalty and player ejection remained in effect. The
rule adjustment puts the onus on the replay official to make a
definitive call.

The overtime rule change was proposed after LSU and Texas A&M
matched a record by playing seven overtimes in their regular-season
finale last year. The Tigers and Aggies combined to run 207
offensive plays.

On average, 37 Bowl Subdivision games have gone to overtime over
the past four seasons. Most end after one round of possessions.
Only six games per season have gone past two overtimes, but the
concern was those rare marathons came with increased injury risk
for players.

The panel also approved the elimination of the two-man wedge
formation on kickoffs that result in sprinting players running into
double-team blocks. Also, it is now illegal to block an opponent
with forcible contact on the blind side. It will be a personal foul
with a 15-yard penalty. If the block also includes elements of
targeting, it will be a blind-side block with targeting.

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