Effective for the 2013 season, players who target and contact defenseless players above the shoulders will be ejected. The ejection will come in addition to the previous state of the rule, which imposted a 15-yard penalty on the player's team.
The new rule, as the NCAA points out, mirrors the fighting rule. If the foul occurs in the first half of the game, the player is ejected. If it happens in the second half or overtime, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next game.
This part is nice, too: the ejection will be reviewable by video replay. Obviously, the referee needs to feel he has conclusive video evidence. A post-game conference review is still in place, as is conferences' ability to impose their own sanctions.
Among other rule changes is a new rule for blocking below the waist that is designed to provide a clearer judgement for referees, as well as these tweaks:
- To add a 10-second runoff with less than a minute remaining in either half when the sole reason for the clock stoppage is because of injury.
- To establish three seconds as the minimum amount of time required to be on the game clock in order to spike the ball to stop the clock. If one or two seconds remain on the clock, there is only time for the offense to run one more play.
- To require a player that changes numbers during the game to report this to the referee, who will announce it.
- To preclude multiple players from the same team from wearing the same uniform number (for example, two quarterbacks on the same team are not allowed to have the same number).
- To allow the use of electronic communication by the on-field officiating crew (the practice was used successfully on an experimental basis by the Southeastern Conference). This is a permissive rule and not a requirement.
- To allow instant replay to adjust the clock at the end of each quarter. Previously, this provision was in place only for the end of each half.
- To clarify uniform rules as follows: "Jerseys must have clearly visible, permanent Arabic numerals measuring at least 8 and 10 inches in height front and back, respectively, and be of one solid color that itself is clearly in distinct contrast with the color of the jersey, irrespective of any border around the number." This rule goes into effect for Football Bowl Subdivision teams in 2013. Football Championship Subdivision, Division II and Division III teams will have until 2014 before the rule becomes effective.
Denied, as referenced in the headline, was the proposal to force teams to wear uniforms that adequately contrasted with the playing surface. This, of course, allows Boise State to wear its home blues on the Smurf Turf. I think that's cool, too. Nice job, NCAA. You guys agree?