College football officials have been issued two interpretations to guide how they should officiate targeting fouls so the spirit and intent of the rules are followed for the rest of the 2016 season.
The interpretations were dispensed by Bob Nielson, NCAA Football Rules Committee chair and head coach at the University of South Dakota, and NCAA Football Secretary-Rules Editor Rogers Redding, who acted on behalf of the rules committee.
The first interpretation involves forcible contact against an opponent with the crown of the helmet, which is defined as the portion of the helmet above the facemask.
“It seems that some officials have been interpreting the crown of the helmet to mean the tip-top portion of the helmet only,” said Redding. “We want everyone to understand that the crown of the helmet starts from the area above the facemask to the dome of the helmet.”
In the second interpretation, instant replay officials have been issued guidance. Last spring, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Committee approved a new rule proposed by the NCAA Football Rules Committee that gives instant replay officials the opportunity to stop the game to determine if an egregious targeting foul was missed by the on-field officials.
For example, when no targeting foul is called on the field, the instant replay official can stop the game to call a foul if the hit was so clear and obvious that it would have been confirmed had it been flagged.
“There have been some instances where this rule could’ve been applied for targeting fouls,” Redding said. “We want to provide more guidance so that this rule is applied more consistently.”
If a player is flagged for targeting in the first half of the game, he is ejected and must sit out the second half of that contest. If a player is flagged for targeting in the second half of a game, he is ejected and must sit out the first half of the next game.