3 Major Rule Changes Hit Big 12 Football in 2013
Harry How/Getty Images
There are several rule changes in college football coming for the 2013 season. They range from ejection for helmet to helmet contact to uniforms having a contrasting color to the playing field.
There are new rules against feigning injury to stop the clock or allow players to rest or substitute. They blew that one; 10 seconds are run off the clock. The player should be banned from participation until the next possession.
There are rules against spiking the ball to stop the clock with less than three seconds to go.
But there are three major changes that strongly affect the Big 12 due to the predominant style of offense in the conference.
The changes will not be finalized until next month, but these three are expected to pass.
Let's examine them one at a time:
Intentional Helmet-to-Helmet Contact
Helmet to Helmet Hit
This penalty enhancement affects all teams and players the most. With good reason. Too many brain trauma and neck injuries happen from an unnecessary and illegal hit.
This one doesn't affect the Big 12 more than anyone else, but it has the most significant penalty of all the rule changes.
The rule involves intentional contact to any part of the head with a helmet, shoulder pad or elbow. According to SportsIllustrated.CNN.com the new rule is this:
If the penalty occurs in the first half, the player would be ejected for the remainder of the game. If the penalty occurs in the second half or overtime, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next game.
The rule would allow for the ejection portion of the penalty to be reviewed through video replay.
The replay official must have conclusive evidence that the penalized player didn't intentionally target a defenseless player in order to overturn the call on the field. The 15-yard part of the penalty is not reviewable.
Blocking Below the Waist
Blocking below the Waist (legal block)
Prior to the expected adoption of rule changes for 2013, blocking below the waist was legal or illegal depending on the distance of the player from the ball. That is, when the ball was snapped.
This was a judgement call by the official and was therefore never evenly applied. Many knee injuries resulted from players being blocked in the side or back of the legs. Sometimes career-ending injuries.
The knee is very strong in a front to back motion, but easily injured when stuck from the side. The new rule is this:
Low blocks delivered from in front of the defender anywhere on the field are legal and low blocks from the side or back are not. Period.
Therefore the block in the picture is still legal. This affects the Big 12 due to the number of spread offenses.
It was previously very difficult for a receiver to know when a block to the side of the legs was legal. It would depend upon his position on the field.
Eight Officials on the Field
Eight Officials in Big 12 Games
This is an experimental change that is restricted to Big 12 games. The additional official will stand behind the offense and will increase enforcement of rules at or behind the line of scrimmage.
The purpose of the additional official is to attempt to keep pace with the game's speed, spot more fouls and better protect players.
In an interview with Jon Solomon of AL.com, Big 12 officiating coordinator Walt Anderson said holding would "absolutely" be caught more with an eighth official.
The Big 12's proposal would have the eighth official covering a tackle area that's often not watched by officials on pass plays.
The eighth official would be responsible for the tackle box opposite the portion covered by the referee. That would free up a linesman to work downfield on pass plays.
I think the picture above is appropriate.
Comments and debate welcome and appreciated.