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Coaches group wants NCAA to cut down on players faking injuries during games

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The AFCA again wants the NCAA to figure out a way to crack down on players faking injuries during football games.

American Football Coaches Association director Todd Berry told ESPN on Tuesday that the group's ethics committee voted to ask the NCAA to figure out some sort of deterrent for players who pretend to be injured. A common tactic to slow down uptempo offenses is for a player to go down and prevent the offense from running a play.

From ESPN:

"Our ethics committee, which suggests rules changes to the NCAA, said by unanimous consent that this has got to stop," said AFCA executive director Todd Berry. "So they asked the rules committee to do something about it. It's bad for football."

This isn't the first time the AFCA has asked the NCAA to address the issue of injury faking. The NCAA rules committee spent time discussing the issue in 2020 but didn't make any changes to address it.

Players who go down injured during a football game are required to miss one play before they come back into the game. If a team calls a timeout, a player can immediately come back into the game.

How do you penalize faking injuries?

Faking injuries to slow down an offense is a tactic because defenses cannot substitute if an offense doesn't substitute. If a fast-paced offense doesn't change players, it can hurry to the line of scrimmage and prevent the defense from changing players. If the offense changes any of its players on the field, the defense is also granted an opportunity to substitute.

Sometimes, the players faking injuries during a game are pretty obvious.

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But other times they aren't. How are officials supposed to figure out what injury is real and what injury isn't real? Should they be forced to try to officiate another aspect of the game?

One of the solutions Berry mentioned to ESPN was lengthening the amount of time a player has to be out of the game after an injury — real or not — until a change of possession. While that would be a deterrent in some scenarios, it wouldn't necessarily prevent a player from going down ahead of a key third-down play.

It would also potentially force players to feel that they needed to try to tough some injuries out more than they already do. With players asked to be more transparent about how they feel — especially when it comes to head injuries — that doesn't seem like an ideal solution either.

If the rules committee decides changes need to be made, it will make recommendations after it meets in March.

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