Whenever college football comes back, things may look a little different. The NCAA has voted on four rule changes for the sport, including a very necessary change to the targeting rule.
After being ejected from games, players ejected for targeting have had to walk, with cameras panned on them, to the tunnel and into the locker room. It was a particularly embarrassing part of the rule, that many considered akin to a "perp walk" for calls that were often pretty dubious. That will no longer be the case.
With the rule change, ejected players can stay in the "team area," for the remainder of the game. It is a big improvement for one of the more controversial rules implemented in the sport in recent seasons. Hopefully, enforcement also improves, so there are fewer unnecessary ejections and suspensions.
It is not the only rule changing, though. The NCAA is also working to speed up the game, something that numerous sports have contended with in recent years. There are also changes to jersey number rules, and rules surrounding pregame incidents.
Instant replay reviews are now expected to take two minutes at maximum. From the NCAA on the new college football rules:
For the first time in football, the panel approved a guideline for instant replay officials to complete video reviews in less than two minutes.
This will be an overall expectation for replay officials, and reviews that are exceptionally complicated or involve end-of-game issues should be completed as efficiently as possible without a stated time limit.
Per the rule, if replay determines that time had expired prematurely during a play at the end of the half, there must now be at least three seconds remaining when the ball should have been called dead, or else the half will be over.
On the jersey front, teams will now only be allowed to have two players share a number, as long as they play different positions and do not enter the playing field at the same time. To help expand options, the single number "0" is now a legal number.
Referee jurisdiction is now set to take over 90 minutes before kickoff, instead of 60 minutes, in order to keep some control during pregame skirmishes. This also means at least one coach to be on the field if players are warming up, and it calls for players to be wearing numbers during warmups, likely in order to make it easier to sort out punishment in the event of a pregame blow-up.