NCAA rules committee wants to reduce targeting-rule penalty

As predicted last November in an interview with NFL Evolution, the NCAA rules committee has proposed to lessen the penalty for its controversial targeting rule, according to The NCAA's playing rules panel will discuss the changes that were proposed March 6.

The targeting rule, which was strengthened prior to last season, would penalize players who led with their heads with an ejection and a 15-yard penalty. However, in Football Championship Division games, where TV replay is used, the ejection could be overturned by video review, but the 15-yard penalty would stand.

Under the revised rule, the 15-yard penalty would be wiped out if the ejection was overturned. It also would expand the possibility of overturning the ejection in games where replay immediately may not be available.

Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, chair of the rules committee, echoed a desire by Alabama coach Nick Saban and former Texas coach Mack Brown during the season.

It was a change that NCAA coordinator of officials Rogers Redding foresaw when he talked to NFL Evolution three months ago.

Also, ESPN reported the committee is proposing a rule that would allow defensive players to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock. The exception would be the final two minutes of each half. If an offense snaps the ball before 29 seconds left on the play clock, it would receive a 5-yard penalty.

The rule is being considered at this point because it is a "player-safety rule." It would severely crimp hurry-up offenses, but Saban, among others, said hurry-up offenses cause player-safety issues because defensive players can get injured trying to make quick substitutions.

The proposal already has drawn the ire of coaches who use hurry-up offenses, like Arizona's Rick Rodriguez.

-- Bill Bradley, contributing editor

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