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Drastic rules changes could be coming to college football for overtime and kickoffs

Significant changes could be coming to college football.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee met this week, and proposed a number of changes. Among the most significant are changes proposed involving the overtime rules, targeting and kickoffs.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel must review and approve the committee’s proposal before any are put into effect. The rules are scheduled to be reviewed on April 17.

Among the proposals --

OT changes

On the heels of the Texas A&M-LSU classic seven-overtime contest last season, the committee is looking at ways to shorten games that may go past four overtimes.

A new proposal is that if a game reaches a fifth overtime, teams would run alternating 2-point plays instead of starting a drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line.

The committee states this change “is being made to limit the number of plays from scrimmage and to bring the game to a conclusion.”

“The NCAA overtime rules continue to be very popular with our fans and coaches,” Steve Shaw said. “This change impacts only a small number of our contests, but will eliminate plays from long overtime games.”

Stiffer penalties on targeting

Safety remains the top priority for football to flourish in the future, and that starts with continued emphasis on targeting and shots to the head and neck area.

The committee, chaired by Stanford coach David Shaw, proposed a stiffer penalty for players who receive a second targeting foul in the same season. In addition to being disqualified for that game, Shawn proposed the player is also suspended for the team’s next contest.

Another adjustment on targeting is in regards to instant replay. If any element of targeting cannot be confirmed, then the replay official will overturn the targeting foul. There will no longer be an option for letting the call on the field stand during a targeting review.

“The progressive penalty is to ensure that a player re-evaluates his technique, with coaching staff support, after he receives a targeting foul,” said Steve Shaw, NCAA secretary-rules editor.

“Additionally, the instant replay review changes will ensure that when a player is disqualified, it is clearly warranted.”

Kickoff rules

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said multiple times last season that the kickoff could go away, in a fashion that allowed for onside kicks to remain a part of the game, if the number of injuries didn’t decline.

The NCAA is pleased that overall injuries on kickoffs declined last season, and 12 percent of all kickoff plays were touchbacks as a result of the new fair catch rule where teams could fair catch a kickoff and start the drive on their own 25-yard line.

A minor change has been proposed to further limit the number of injuries on the kickoff play -- the two-man wedge formation on all kickoffs.

Blind-side blocks

The committee also proposed a change in blind-side blocking technique. Players will not be allowed to deliver a blind-side block with forcible contact. If that happens, it will result in a personal foul and 15-yard penalty.

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