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NCAA adjusts college football targeting rule, puts cap on overtime length

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NCAA Football: Florida State at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA’s rules oversight panel has made a few rules adjustments that will be in effect come this fall. The most significant of them is an alteration to the targeting rule that should make that call a bit less frequently enforced. Which is a good thing.

From the NCAA:

Beginning in the fall in games using video review, instant replay officials will be directed to examine all aspects of the play and confirm the targeting foul when all elements of targeting are present. If any element of targeting cannot be confirmed, the replay official will overturn the targeting foul. There will not be an option for letting the call on the field “stand” during a targeting review — it must either be confirmed or overturned.

The way I read it, officials will need to see more definitive proof of targeting to uphold the call—when officials let a call on the field “stand” it just means they weren’t able to find clear evidence to overturn it. Getting rid of that option will lead to more of the ambiguous cases being overturned.

Among other changes, the NCAA is adjusting its overtime rules for the sake of safety. Games are now capped at five overtime periods. If a game gets that far, the teams will alternate two-point plays until a winner is determined.

Panel members approved a tweak to the overtime rules. If a game reaches a fifth overtime, teams will run alternating two-point plays, instead of starting another drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line. This rules change was made to limit the number of plays from scrimmage and to bring the game to a conclusion.

That means no more games like the LSU-Texas A&M marathon from last season. As delightfully absurd as a game like that can be, no doubt it makes sense to limit players’ exposure to injury, especially since injury risk can increase when everybody on the field is dog tired.