NCAA Oversight Committee to Consider Targeting, Overtime Rule Changes

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2019

Officials guard the goalpost after fans rushed onto the field after Washington upset Stanford in an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 27, 2012, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee chairman Shane Lyons said the committee plans to consider changes to the targeting and overtime rules, though no recommendations have yet been made.

Lyons said a rule that would separate targeting into two categories is being discussed, per Andrea Adelson of ESPN. The alteration of the targeting rule, which has garnered support from the American Football Coaches Association, would see intentional and unintentional categories be created. "Hits without malicious intent" would result in a 15-yard penalty but no ejection. "More egregious hits" would result in both a 15-yard penalty and ejection.

"We would consider changes of how it's done from the officiating aspect of it, from the ejection aspect of it, but we think it needs more study," Lyons said. "It was a lengthy discussion. One of the biggest concerns is we don't want to go back and look like we're doing something that's not in the well-being, health and safety of the student-athlete, so if you back off the penalty, is it sending the message that this is OK and this is not?"

Lyons said the committee will have to look into the player safety implications before making any changes.

"We were supportive of a potential refinement, but to come out and say it needs to be this—we're going to put that in the hands of the so-called experts in the rules committee to take a look at it and see what's best," Lyons said. "The player safety is the most important thing. The numbers haven't changed; our hope is, 'How do you get the numbers to go lower?'"

Potential overtime changes are also being considered with player safety in mind. The committee is looking at ways to avoid situations where games go into extended overtime sessions, thus putting players in greater harm. There have been no formal proposals on what the committee may suggest.

"The question is: Are there things we can tweak in the overtime that could possibly shorten the length?" Lyons said. "Do you leave it the same? Do you automatically have to go for two even after your first touchdown for both teams? What are some things to potentially lessen the overtime?"

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