The NCAA has proposed a rule change that would eject any player who targets and contacts a defenseless opponent above the shoulders with a hit. The Football Rules Committee, which met this week in Indianapolis, unanimously voted to increase the penalty to include an automatic ejection in addition to a 15-yard penalty. The proposal still awaits approval by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel on March 6. "Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns," said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, the chairman of the committee. "We all have a role to embrace when making a positive impact on our game. Taking measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, will improve our great sport." The proposed rule will be similar to the the penalty for fighting. Violators are ejected for the remainder of the game if the infraction occurs in the first half. But if the penalty takes place in the second half, the offender sits out the rest of the game and the first half of the following game. The actions that led to an ejection will be reviewable through video during the game by the officials. Among the committee's other proposals for next season were: -- Adding a 10-second runoff with less than a minute remaining in either half when the sole reason for the clock to stop is an injury. -- Establishing three seconds as the minimum amount of time required to be on the game clock in order to spike the ball to stop the clock. -- Allowing the Big 12 to experiment with using an eighth on-field official on the field in the backfield opposite the referee in conference games.
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