Targeting rule rewritten after just one year of enforcement

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The NCAA's targeting rule has been changed after one season.

That the rules change was coming was a given, along the lines of "the sun rises in the East every morning."

The rule had stated that a player called for targeting would be ejected and his team assessed a 15-yard penalty. The call was subject to an automatic replay review. If the call was overturned on review, the player was allowed to remain in the game but, for some reason, the 15-yard penalty still was marched off. Thankfully, the rewritten rule will do away with the 15-yard penalty if the play is overturned.

The rules change, reported by ESPN.com, was approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel. Technically, this is an "off year" for rules changes, but this was framed as a safety issue, so it is allowed to take place.

There is an important caveat. From the NCAA's website: "If the targeting foul is committed in conjunction with another personal foul, the 15-yard penalty for that personal foul remains. For example, if a player is called for roughing the passer and targeting the head and neck area, but the instant-replay official rules that targeting did not occur, the player would remain in the game but the roughing-the-passer penalty would still be enforced."

The biggest issue with the targeting rule now will be much more difficult to fix: It seemingly is called differently by every officiating crew.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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