NCAA football rules committee recommends targeting appeal

Mar 3, 2022, 11:48 PM | Updated: Mar 4, 2022, 2:30 pm
FILE - Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields gets hit by Clemson linebacker James Skalski during the...

FILE - Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields gets hit by Clemson linebacker James Skalski during the first half of the Sugar Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in New Orleans. Skalski was ejected from the game for targeting. Players ejected for targeting in the second half of a college football game could be eligible to play the following game after an appeal through the conference office if a recommendation handed down Friday, March 4, 2022 by the NCAA rules committee is approved.(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

Players ejected for targeting in the second half of a college football game could be eligible to play the following game after an appeal through the conference office, if a recommendation handed down Friday by the NCAA rules committee is approved.

After four days of meetings in Indianapolis, the committee also recommended penalizing all open-field blocks below the waist and creating an investigation process for allegations of a team faking injuries that could lead to conferences penalizing schools and coaches.

Recommendations need approval from the playing rules oversight panel in April and would go into effect next season.

The committee discussed changing how the game clock is managed to shorten games by both time and number of plays, but decided not to act.

The average FBS game was 3 hours, 28 minutes last season and included about 137 offensive plays.

Shaving time and plays out of college football games has become a discussion point recently as conference commissioners considered possibly expanding the playoff, a move that could increase the maximum length of a season to 16 or even 17 games for a few teams.

Attempts to expand the College Football Playoff to 12 teams by the 2024 season failed and the soonest a new format would be implemented now is 2026.

National coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said the number of players per game has plateaued over the last six seasons after a slight decrease.

“But we have talked about at some point do we need to address this if the season does get longer because it is a longer playoff,” said Stanford coach David Shaw, the rules committee chairman.

The rules committee has been looking at ways to discourage the faking of injuries, mostly by defensive players to slow down up-tempo offenses, for several years.

Steve Shaw said the committee remains apprehensive to implement in-game alterations. The concern is a rule requiring players who are treated on the field to miss the remainder of an offensive possession would incentivize players who are actually hurt to play through an injury.

“So now for questionable game action, the institution or the conference can consult the national coordinator of officials to facilitate a video review. And if there are findings that will now go back to the conference office, and the conference office will deal with the institution, the coach, to get that corrected,” Steve Shaw said.

Suggested punishments were not recommended, but David Shaw said he would prefer coaches face “severe penalties” for coaching players to feign injuries.

“This is one of those things that is getting taught that is unethical,” David Shaw said. “So as best we can to drive this out, hopefully, we’ll get some partnership from conference officials, conference commissioners, leaning on some of these coaches that are teaching things unethical.”

The targeting foul has been a constant point of contention among coaches, players and fans, but there has been no serious movement toward changing it. Targeting, implemented in its current form in 2008, results in a 15-yard penalty, plus the ejection of the flagged player.

Players ejected in the first half of a game do not have to miss the following game. Players ejected at any point in the second half are required to sit out the first half of the following game.

Under the committee’s proposal, the conference office can submit a request to the national coordinator of officials to review a second-half targeting foul.

The committee recommended if it is “clearly, obvious” the targeting call was incorrect, it would be retroactively overturned and the player would be permitted to play in the first half of the following game.

“The committee strongly supports the targeting rule and believes it continues to directly support player health and safety and technique,” David Shaw said.

Tweaks have been made in recent years to the way targeting is reviewed by video officials in-game that have led to more fouls called on the field being overturned.

Some coaches have called for a two-level targeting foul, with only the most flagrant drawing an ejection.

Rules makers have been reluctant to make the penalty less punitive, saying it has helped change player behavior and decreased the number of dangerous hits — though it has been difficult to quantify these observations.

A study of data from Pac-12 games from 2016-19 recently published in the Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine, showed the risk of concussion on a targeting play was 37 times more than on all other plays.

The number of targeting fouls per game has not fluctuated much in recent seasons. According to NCAA data, it was 0.20 per game in 2021, about one every five games. That was down from 0.27 per game in 2020, but up slightly from 2019 (0.19).

___

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge looks out before a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox Sunday, S...
Associated Press

MLB playoff primer: Things to know as postseason nears

Major League Baseball’s postseason has a little more heft this season. The playoffs are rapidly approaching, with the final regular season games set for Oct. 5. The postseason begins two days later with a field of 12 teams — up from last year’s 10 — and includes a best-of-three format for the opening wild-card round. […]
1 day ago
Dallas Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown (3) strips the ball from New York Giants wide receiver Ster...
Associated Press

Veteran Giants receiver Sterling Shepard has torn ACL

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on the New York Giants’ final offensive play in their loss to the Dallas Cowboys, coach Brian Daboll said Tuesday. Daboll had indicated after Monday night’s game that the injury to New York’s leading receiver was […]
1 day ago
Stephen F. Austin safety JaTerious Evans brings down the Warner quarterback for a sack during an NC...
Associated Press

‘Whoa, 98-0’: Coach of team on end of huge loss OK with it

Two days after his Warner University football team lost 98-0 to Stephen F. Austin in one of the most lopsided games of all time, Dialleo Burks channeled his inner P.T. Barnum. Like the 19th-century circus impresario once said, there’s no such thing as bad publicity. It was in that vein that Burks recalled a conversation […]
1 day ago
United States' Kahleah Copper runs past South Korea's Heo Yeeun during their game at the women's Ba...
Associated Press

Kahleah Copper’s FIBA diary: Rest, rest, rest

SYDNEY (AP) — Rest, rest and more rest. There’s been a lot of basketball in a short time and finding time to recover has been key to staying fresh and having success. You have to take care of your body. I have to give a huge thank you to the training staff of Courtney (Watson), […]
1 day ago
NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, foreground, helps paint the pit wall pink during 10th annual recognition ...
Associated Press

Kurt Busch hopeful he can return from concussion this year

CONCORD, N.C. (AP) — Kurt Busch said Tuesday he remains “hopeful” he will recover from a concussion in time to race again before the end of the NASCAR season. The 2004 Cup champion has been sidelined since he crashed July 23 during qualifying at Pocono Raceway. He’s so far missed 10 races — both Ty […]
1 day ago
South Florida head coach Jeff Scott, left, and Florida head coach Billy Napier greet each other at ...
Associated Press

Florida, USF, South Carolina move home games ahead of Ian

Florida’s home football game against Eastern Washington scheduled for Saturday has been moved to Sunday because of Hurricane Ian, which is expected to hit the state’s southwest coast on Wednesday. The Gators and Eagles will kick off at noon in Gainesville shortly before NFL games around the country. Playing the game guarantees Eastern Washington a […]
1 day ago
NCAA football rules committee recommends targeting appeal