NCAA rules committee proposes changes to targeting rules, multiple OT games

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 01: The official reviews a replay during the game between the Northwestern Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes during the Big Ten championship game on December 1, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
If a targeting foul is ruled inconclusive via replay in 2019 it could be automatically overturned. (Photo by Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Targeting penalties and games that go past four overtimes could be tweaked for the 2019 college football season.

The NCAA rules committee is proposing that players should be punished more harshly for repeat targeting offenses and is also proposing that targeting fouls should be subject to a more stringent review process.

Players are currently suspended for a game after committing a targeting foul. So if a player commits the foul in the first half, he misses the rest of the game he’s currently playing in. If he commits a targeting penalty in the second half, he misses the first half of the next game.

Under the new proposal, players who get their second targeting foul of the season would be ejected from the game and miss the entirety of their team’s next game.

“The targeting rule has been effective in changing player behavior,” NCAA secretary-rules editor and SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said in a statement “The progressive penalty is to ensure that a player re-evaluates his technique, with coaching staff support, after he receives a targeting foul. Additionally, the instant replay review changes will ensure that when a player is disqualified, it is clearly warranted.”

Replay will no longer have a call ‘stand’

If targeting was called on the field in 2018 and officials could not conclusively rule on the penalty during replay review, the penalty stood and the player was ejected. The replay proposal for the 2019 season would eliminate that middle ground. Under the proposal, if a targeting foul is inconclusive on replay it will be overturned. Only fouls that are confirmed by replay will stand.

Both proposals would go into effect for the 2019 season if they are approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

Games that go to 5+ OT would have a big change

Are you ready for a significant change to the way that college football decides games that go past four overtimes?

The NCAA has been concerned about the length of football games and that concern came to the forefront after LSU and Texas A&M played a seven-overtime epic in 2018. A proposal from the rules committee would have made the final three overtimes of that game look a lot different.

“If a game reaches a fifth overtime, teams would run alternating 2-point plays, instead of starting another drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line,” The NCAA’s release said. “This recommendation is being made to limit the number of plays from scrimmage and to bring the game to a conclusion.”

If it feels like the football version of penalty kicks to you, well, you’re not off-base. It would be a relatively random way of deciding a game that stretches beyond four overtimes.

Current NCAA rules mandate that teams must go for 2-point conversions after touchdowns starting in the third overtime. A two-minute break after the second and fourth overtimes is also being proposed. While those breaks are being proposed in the name of fatigue and player safety, they would also be adding additional minutes to the game length of multi-overtime games.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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