NCAA adjusts college football overtime rules, now will require 2-point try during 2OT

Sam Cooper
·3 min read

College football’s overtime rules will be a bit different next season.

The NCAA announced that teams will be required to attempt a two-point conversion after a touchdown when a game reaches double overtime. Previously, a two-point attempt was mandated once the game reached a third overtime. Additionally, if a game reaches 3OT, teams will “run alternating two-point plays instead of starting another drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line.”

The alternating two-point tries were previously in place once a game reached a fifth overtime. That rule was put in place after LSU and Texas A&M played a seven-overtime game in 2018. The first game to go to five overtimes and use the alternating two-point attempt format was Virginia Tech's 43-41 win over North Carolina in six overtimes during the 2019 season.

These changes were proposed by the NCAA’s Football Rules Committee in March and formally approved by the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday. The NCAA said the intent behind the changes is to “limit the number of plays from scrimmage and bring the game to a quicker conclusion.”

Texas A&M defensive lineman Tyree Johnson (3) celebrates after sacking LSU quarterback Joe Burrow during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in College Station, Texas. Texas A&M won 74-72 in seven overtimes. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
The NCAA adjusted its overtime rules after a seven-overtime game between Texas A&M and LSU in 2018. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Penalties for faking injuries?

The topic of faking injuries has been a prominent one in the sport in recent years. And now the NCAA will work toward providing a “framework” to penalize those who do so.

A school or conference will be permitted to “request a postgame video review” for a suspected incident. The request would be made through the NCAA’s secretary rules editor or the national coordinator of officials.

The rules committee has been discussing how to address the trend of players faking injuries during games for well over a year now. The American Football Coaches Association has been heavily involved as well.

Ordinarily, players will pretend to be injured in order to slow down up-tempo offenses and get a quick timeout for their team. It also allows the defense to perform substitutions. Players who go down with an injury — fake or not — 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.

Steve Shaw, the national coordinator of officials, said last year that adding to the number of plays an injured player must miss has been discussed. AFCA executive director Todd Berry has mentioned the same when discussing the subject of fake injuries.

Other changes for 2021 season

During the 2021 season, it will be a point of emphasis for officials to penalize acts of taunting an opponent.

“Committee members think these actions reflect poorly on the game and can lead to unnecessary confrontations,” the NCAA said.

Other changes include:

  • Coaches who “enter the field of play or leave the team area to debate officiating decisions” will be assessed an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. 

  • Video board and lighting system operators are now included in those personnel who may not create any distraction that obstructs play. You may recall teams attempting to distract the opposing kicker by putting images on the stadium video board.

  • Officials should alert players who “significantly” violate uniform rules, including pants, jerseys and T-shirts that extend below the torso.

  • Beginning next season, the team area will be between the 20-yard lines. Before the 2020 season, the team area extended to the 25-yard lines. It was extended to the 15-yard lines last year to allow more sideline spacing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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