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NCAA approves new roughing the passer penalty to protect quarterbacks from hits below the knee

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
NCAA Football: Cotton Bowl-Oklahoma State vs Missouri
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Jan 3, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Clint Chelf (10) reacts after being sacked by Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Kony Ealy (47) during the first half against the Missouri Tigers in the 2014 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. (Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports)

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule designed to “better protect passers from low contact at or below the knee.”

If you’re an NFL fan, this might sound similar.

When a quarterback is “in a passing posture with one or both feet on the ground,” defensive players cannot hit the quarterback “forcibly at or below the knee.” Additionally, a defender “may not initiate a roll or lunge” and hit the quarterback in the knee or below.

Of course, when a quarterback takes off and runs a low hit is fair game. Also, if a defender is blocked into the quarterback, it won’t be ruled a foul.

Violating this new rule will result in a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty.

The proposal for this rule was discussed when the Football Rules Committee met in February. No action was taken at that time, but since then all 10 FBS commissioners “expressed support” for the rule. The Rules Committee “unanimously recommended” the rule. Coaches were also consulted via surveys.

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