NCAA proposes replay tweak to targeting, 2-pt OT shootouts
By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer
The NCAA football rules committee has proposed giving replay officials more leeway to overturn targeting penalties and recommended that games reaching a fifth overtime be decided by alternating 2-point conversion tries.
The rules committee met in Indianapolis this week and announced several proposed changes , including tweaks to kickoff and blind-side block rules. The proposals must be approved by the football oversight committee in April. They would go into effect next season.
Two changes to targeting were proposed.
The first would allow replay officials to examine all aspects of the play. If targeting cannot be confirmed, the call would be overturned, eliminating the option for the call on the field to stand. Targeting would still be penalized with a 15-yard penalty and ejection and players ejected in the second half would still sit out the first half of the following game.
The goal of the proposal is to call targeting more accurately and have fewer players ejected for borderline calls. LSU lost All-America linebacker Devin White for the first half of a game last season against No. 1 Alabama after he was ejected on a questionable targeting call in the second half of the previous game.
The American Football Coaches Association had endorsed changing targeting to a two-tiered foul, with only the most egregious and intentional hits to the head being penalized with an ejection.
Steve Shaw, the national coordinator of football officials, said Friday the replay change will be a "surrogate for Targeting 1, Targeting 2."
Stanford coach David Shaw, the rules committee chairman, said he didn't see the proposal as a compromise, but as "another way to get the same goal."
Under the second proposal, players who receive a second targeting foul during the season would be suspended for the entire next game, not just the first half. Steve Shaw said in the two conferences he oversees as coordinator of officials - the Southeastern Conference and Sun Belt - he can recall only one player in each conference receiving multiple targeting penalties in a season.
The overtime rule change was proposed after LSU and Texas A&M matched a record by playing seven overtimes in their regular-season finale. The Tigers and Aggies combined to run 207 offensive plays.
On average, 37 Bowl Subdivision games have gone to overtime over the past four seasons. Most end after one round of possessions. Only six games per season have gone past two overtimes.
The committee also proposed eliminating the two-man wedge formation on kickoffs that result in sprinting players running into double-team blocks. A proposal regarding blind-side blocks would make it illegal to attack an opponent with forcible contact from the blind side.
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