FRISCO, Texas–With Big 12 media days underway, it is time to take a look at the NCAA’s changes implemented in the upcoming football season.
Newly appointed Big 12 coordinator of football officials Greg Burks met with members of the media to discuss the new rules on Tuesday morning.
First, uniforms are being cracked down on.
“This year players will have to be legally equipped, and where you’re going to see that play out the most I think in the first couple of weeks is that knees have to be covered this year,” Burks said. “We have seen in the last couple of years players not covering their knees. For both safety concerns and just for the look of the game, officials will enforce this year that knees must be covered. Upon identifying players who’s knees are not covered that player will be sent out of the game and will have to cover their knees before they can come back in.”
Coaches are permitted to call timeout for the player to adjust their pants properly. However, most coaches won’t be too happy to do that.
Mid-jerseys are no longer legal this season. The rulebook states that the jersey has to reach the pant level or be tucked in. T-shirts can no longer be exposed and back pads will have to be covered.
If a player fails, to wear their jersey accordingly, he will be sent to the sidelines to fix it.
Burks blew through a few other changes.
“Field decorative marking and advertising, jersey design, colored numerals, the highlight here is that the letter “C” can be put on a jersey,” he said. “Prohibited field equipment for media, we are now allowing the umpire to wear a cam on their hat. I would add that that has to be pre-approved by the office before that can happen.”
The biggest change is the new clock rules being implemented to hurry things along, including a 40-second play clock on point-after attempts, which starts immediately after the touchdown and any free kicks.
“So you will see the score, you will see the 40 start and it will run just like a regular play from scrimmage,” Burks said. “The referee will be in between the center and the holder and will be getting confirmation from replay that we’re good. As long as that occurs with more than 25 seconds on the play clock, there will be no interruption of play and we will continue and move on. Could create some issues, possibly with teams that are used to celebrating for any length of time. I think they will have to be cognizant of that and move along here so there is no delay.”
If a review is needed, the clock will stop and after the review it would be set to 25 like it’s been in prior years.
Players may now take a fair catch on a kickoff inside the 25 and have the ball placed at the 25 to begin the series of downs.
Teams no longer have to attempt a field goal for a touchdown, which scored after time expired. This means that a team can avoid the chance of a kick return if they take a one- or two-point lead.
Blocking below the waist is a hard rule to enforce. Linemen from any direction within the tackle box can still make these tackles long as the ball is still within the tackle box. Everyone else may only block below the waist if the player being blocked is facing the blocking player, within the clock-defined “10-2” zone.
“Driving a car, 10-2 on the wheel this is what we’re talking about,” Burks said. “Directed means inside of that 10-2. So if a player turns this way, his 10-2 is here. If he turns this way, 10-2 is here. You can still be blocked from the front at the knees but if your attention is over here, your 10-2 is here and it would make this block illegal. No longer from the front.”
Obviously, exceptions to this rule occur.
Teammate players may not block below the waist when the block occurs 5 yards or more beyond the neutral zone. Now they can only block within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Players outside the tackle box at the snap, such as wide receivers and any back lined up to tackle or in motion at the snap, cannot block below the waist toward the initial position of the ball at the snap. Peel-back blocks are not allowed, which means once the ball has left the tackle box the player may not block below the waist towards his own end line
Leaping to block kicks has been adjusted again. As long as the player is leaping vertically, it’s allowed. A player cannot leap into the plane of the blocker (i.e., over the blocker)
Now, penalties assessed to the defense on field goal attempts will be enforced on the kickoff and teams can take the three points.
When the clock is stopped for a replay within the final minute of a half and the result of the replay is a change which would not have resulted in a clock stoppage, the clock will be reset to the time of the play and 10 seconds will run off.
The NCAA made it so all teams must follow the collaborative replay rule which the Big 12 already used.
” It just means that games that are played in the Big 12 there is a replay official onsite and then in the command center, ROCC, that replay official is monitoring that game as well,” Burks said.
This season the Bug 12 will implement screens on the sideline just like in the NFL.
“The value of that is the referee who is in charge of the game never has seen the play in the Big 12,” Burks said. “You put the pedestrian set on, the replay official explains to you what’s going on, and you turn on the mic and make the announcement without ever seeing the play. If you think about that all those plays in the end zone, catch/no catch, many of those plays the referee never even saw what happened. This will give the referee input as well with replay. ”
And the targeting rule remains unchanged.
Photo Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports