NCAA Football Rules Committee recommends tweak to overtime rules

The NCAA Football Rules Committee on Friday recommended a change to overtime rules for the 2021 season.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee on Friday recommended a change to overtime rules for the 2021 season. Under the proposal, teams would be required to run a two-point conversion play after a touchdown when a game reaches a second overtime period. If a game reaches a third overtime, teams will run alternating two-point plays, instead of starting another drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line. This rules proposal is being made to limit the number of plays from scrimmage and bring the game to a conclusion. Teams can still choose whether to kick the point after touchdown or run a two-point conversion play in the first overtime. All rules changes must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss football rules recommendations April 22. The rationale for making the recommendation is to lessen the number of plays it takes for a winning team to be determined. Currently, teams are required to run two-point conversion plays after a touchdown when a game reaches a third overtime. The alternating two-point conversions would start after a game reaches a fifth overtime.

Team area

Committee members supported the team area being permanently extended to the 20-yard lines, starting in 2021. Currently, the rule says the team area extends to the 25-yard lines, but this area was expanded to the 15-yard lines last season to create more spacing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unsportsmanlike tactics

In an editorial change to the rules book, video board and lighting system operators cannot create any distraction that obstructs play.

Feigning injuries

This topic has been thoroughly debated in recent years by the committee. Most of the discussion centers around teams using the tactic to feign an injury to slow down the opposition’s momentum. The rules committee is proposing a framework to allow a school or conference to request a postgame video review about questionable actions through the NCAA secretary-rules editor/national coordinator of officials for football.

Blocking below the waist

Committee members discussed the rules regarding blocking below the waist and strongly considered limiting blocking below the waist to inside the tackle box. Before making changes, the committee is planning a thorough review of injury data for the 2021 season to determine its next steps.

Points of emphasis

• For the 2021 season, it will be a point of emphasis for officials to penalize any taunting action directed toward an opponent. Committee members think these actions reflect poorly on the game and can lead to unnecessary confrontations.

• Officials will be alert to players who are significantly in violation of the uniform rules, and when discovered will send the player out of the game to correct the issue. This will include specifically the pants, jerseys and T-shirts.

• Coaches should not enter the field of play or leave the team area to debate officiating decisions. Those who do so will have committed an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct foul.

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