INDIANAPOLIS (NCAA.com) - The NCAA Football Rules Committee took steps to further protect student-athletes by proposing a rule to eject players who target and contact defenseless players above the shoulders.
The committee, which met Monday through Wednesday, unanimously voted to increase the on-field penalty for targeting. The penalty, if approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, will be a 15-yard penalty and automatic ejection of the player. The Panel meets on March 6 to review the proposals and membership comment.
"Student-athlete safety will always be one of our primary concerns," said Troy Calhoun, chair of the committee and head coach at the United States Air Force Academy. "We all have a role to embrace when making a positive impact on our game. Taking measures to remove targeting, or above the shoulder hits on defenseless players, will improve our great sport."
The action by the committee continues a progression to address dangerous contact through its rules. Targeting, which was initially approved by the committee as a separate foul in 2008, has been generally successful in terms of officiating application, which made the committee feel comfortable in adding to the penalty.
"The general consensus is that the officials on the field make this call properly the vast majority of the time and know what the committee is looking for with this foul," said Rogers Redding, secretary-editor of the rules committee and national coordinator of officials for College Football Officiating, LLC. "This move is being made to directly change player behavior and impact player safety."
The proposed rule will mirror the penalty for fighting. If the foul occurs in the first half of a game, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game. If the foul occurs in the second half or overtime of a game, the player is ejected for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next contest.