NCAA Football Rules Committee to Consider Changes to Discourage Fake Injuries

Erin WalshJanuary 31, 2022

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 01: Wilson footballs are lined up on the field prior to the game between the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. SC won 49-15. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

The NCAA Football Rules Committee is going to consider changes to discourage faking injuries, per The Athletic's Nicole Auerbach:

"Obviously, we want to take feigning injuries out of the game. It's a bad look for the game. It's an integrity issue. If you have a feigned injury, it garners an unmerited timeout for your team. We’re really looking at: What's the next step to move away from that?"

The NCAA Football Rules Committee, which will meet on March 1, can make suggestions for rule changes that would be reviewed by the NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel, Auerbach notes. 

Over the past few years, complaints about players faking injuries in order to slow down an opposing team's offense have become louder. In addition, crowds at "multiple high-profile games" booed players they felt were faking injuries last season, per Auerbach. For example, during Iowa's 23-20 victory over Penn State, Hawkeyes fans booed Nittany Lions players they suspected were faking injuries. 

Auerbach noted one option that will be considered is making an injured player remain on the sideline for an extended period of time, such as a series or set of downs. That could be a reasonable change that would make teams or players think twice about faking injuries. 

In October, Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin actually made that suggestion, saying faking injuries would continue until players are forced to sit out for a certain number of plays. 

"You’re not going to stop it [faking injuries] until you say a guy has to stay out for so many plays. Like anything, there has got to be a penalty for it. Really, if you want to change it, let the conference review it, look at the film, and when they deem it to be an obvious faking of an injury, then there’s a penalty, a fine, and I promise you it would never happen anywhere."

If the rule changes go through, it'll be interesting to see if players will avoid going down.