NCAA committee approves rule changes
College football could have a very different look next fall.
Teams will have the option of shaving 10 seconds off the clock for penalties called in the final minute of each half. They will contend with a more liberal definition of intentional grounding, and they could see points taken off the scoreboard for taunting penalties.
The most sweeping change approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday is the 10-second runoff, something the NFL has used for years. College teams will now have the option of taking the yardage and the time, the yardage only or declining the penalty.
The committee also approved a change in how intentional grounding will be called. Previously, the penalty was called if the intended receiver did not have a ''reasonable opportunity'' to catch the pass. Starting this fall, the penalty will be called only if a receiver is not in the area of the pass - a modification that more closely resembles the NFL rule.
And the panel adopted a rule allowing video monitors in the coaches' booths. The televisions will have access only to any live broadcast of the game - no video recorders - to help coaches decide if they should challenge a call. If the monitors are available to the home team, they must also be available to the visitor.
Those changes coincide with perhaps the biggest change of the season - implementation of the new taunting rule.
Last April, the playing rules panel approved a decision to nullify touchdowns if a player is called for taunting before he crosses the goal line. Examples include players finishing touchdown runs by high-stepping into the end zone or pointing the ball toward an opponent.
The panel decided then to wait one year before making the change.
Previously, the 15-yard penalty was assessed on the extra point attempt, 2-point conversion attempt or the ensuing kickoff. Penalties called after the player crosses the goal line still will be assessed on those plays, but live-ball fouls will be assessed at the spot of the foul and eliminate the score.
In addition, the playing rules panel wants to make the game safer.
Players lined up within seven yards of the center on scrimmage plays will still be permitted to block below the waist anywhere on the field.
But receivers or running backs lined up outside the tackle box will only be allowed to block below the waist if they are blocking straight ahead or toward the nearest sideline. If they go inside and block toward the play, it would be a penalty.
The defensive team also will be assessed a 5-yard penalty if three or more players try to overpower one offensive lineman on place kicks.