College football rule changes for 2021

With all the changes around college sport this year – players are making money from their fame, new transfer policies and a relaxed ap...


With all the changes around college sport this year – players are making money from their fame, new transfer policies and a relaxed approach to the coronavirus pandemic – perhaps it seemed impossible to make more adjustments in 2021.

Better to check the rulebook of football.

This year is considered a “slack year” for rewriting the rules of the game, with the next wholesale revision scheduled for 2022. For this season, changes could be made in limited circumstances, such as when a change affects safety. players or when a recent rule has not “achieved its intention”.

Here are some of the revisions that will go into effect this season.

If you like the drama of 2-point overtime trials, more are on the way.

From the second overtime period, a team having scored touchdowns will have to attempt a 2-point conversion; there will be no single point kick option.

If a game is still tied after two overtime periods, teams will have one-play possessions in which they can only attempt 2-point conversions from the 3-yard line.

Each round of overtime adds an average of 14 snaps to a game, and football officials believe that an earlier move to possessions in a game could reduce injuries.

“The concern, of course, is that they want to get away from the five or six overtime games where player safety is really becoming an issue,” said Dennis Hennigan, Atlantic Coast Conference football officials supervisor. .

Officials will only reset the time if a video review by the officials occurs with two minutes or less left in the second quarter or five minutes or less in the fourth quarter.

The change reflects concerns about the pace and length of matches, common concerns of football executives. By limiting when time needs to be added, officials hope to save seconds, if not minutes, in reviews. And they argue that the clock is a scarce factor for most of every game, only showing up in the waning minutes of a half.

There were an average of 2.1 saves per game for replays during the 2019 season, according to Steve Shaw, the national coordinator of NCAA football officials. Last season, however, that figure rose to 2.85 saves per game. Shaw and others have urged officials to limit reruns to two minutes, but last season, he said, more than 200 reviews lasted longer.

Allowing for the possibility of technical issues or scrutiny of particularly important parts, Shaw said he always urges officials to make decisions quickly.

“We want them to be precise, but we want them to be very effective,” he said. “If it’s a catch / no-catch, if it’s a winning line, if it’s a score / no-score, if you’ve been there for almost two minutes and you can’t make a decision , it’s your decision. It is not clear and obvious.

On Halloween last year, Texas lined up to try a placement at Oklahoma State. But the kicker Cameron Dicker didn’t just face studs – he also faced a video board loaded with yellow lines that mimicked goal posts.

This kind of action can now result in a penalty of 15 yards. An “editorial change” to the rulebook clarified that audio, video and lighting system operators are covered by the unsportsmanlike conduct rule and cannot “create any noise or distraction that prevents a team from hearing their signals or interferes with the game “.

Shaw, who is also the secretary-editor of football rules for the NCAA, did not cite the Oklahoma state episode as the reason for the change and instead described it as a “proactive” move as more and more schools are investing in flashy displays to enhance the game day experience.

“The fear would be, you know, that the visiting team would throw a long pass and you dim the lights a bit or something,” Shaw said. “The creativity of these people is beyond my thoughts on what they can do.”

Almost everyone is familiar with this piece: a team leads, gains momentum, threatens to wreak havoc. Then a defensive player falls to the ground, time is called and the energy evaporates. Cue the taunts and suspicions that maybe the injured player wasn’t that hurt.

The NCAA has not resolved the scourge of feigned injuries. Indeed, football leaders recognize that they might never solve it. But in a sign of its continued exasperation, the rules committee has put in place a new procedure to discourage stoppages that carry the scent of fraud.

The rules now call for schools or conferences to request post-match reviews of problematic episodes by the national coordinator of football officials. If the coordinator finds a fault, he can refer the matter to the sports director of the school in question, who will determine the penalties.

“I hope the threat from your athletic director to come back and say, ‘I have this problem,’ will stop this type of activity,” said Shaw. But he acknowledged the flaws in the approach – including that a post-game analysis will do nothing to appease an opponent feeling aggrieved by the act at stake – and said officials may continue to seek another solution.

Last year, college football officials extended team zones from 10 meters at each end, to 15-meter lines, to promote social distancing. Now they split the difference and make a permanent change: Team areas will be marked on the 20 meter lines. Training boxes will also circulate between the 20-meter lines.

After the experience in 2020, coaches urged NCAA officials to keep the squad and training areas larger than in the past.

“It just gave them more room to get up and down on the sidelines, and it definitely gave the team more room,” said Hennigan.

Shaw said the coaches especially liked being able to get close to the line of scrimmage when their team was in a red zone situation.

But, he also playfully said, there was another advantage for the coaches: “They can be a little further with the official and stay in his ear or his ear. “

NCAA officials already have a list of possible changes to consider next year. Shaw expects blocks below the waist to be discussed, as well as a possible simplification of how certain penalties, like defensive gear and offensive pass interference, are enforced with, for example, first downs. automatic.

The fundamentals of the rules themselves might not be fine-tuned, he said, but officials might seek to rationalize the consequences of some violations.

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Newsrust - US Top News: College football rule changes for 2021
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