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Greg Johnson, NCAA | April 22, 2021

Panel approves changes to overtime rules in football

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The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Thursday approved a change to overtime rules for the 2021 football season.

Teams will be required to run a 2-point conversion play after a touchdown when a game reaches a second overtime period. Previously, a 2-point attempt was required after the third overtime period.

Also, if the game reaches a third overtime, teams will run alternating 2-point plays, instead of starting another drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line. This is a change from the previous rule, which started to use 2-point plays in the fifth overtime period.

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This rules change is being made to limit the number of plays from scrimmage and bring the game to a quicker conclusion. Teams can still choose whether to kick the point after touchdown or run a 2-point conversion play during the first overtime period.

Team area

The Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the team area being permanently extended to the 20-yard lines, starting in the 2021 season. Previously, the team area extended to the 25-yard lines, but this area was expanded to the 15-yard lines last season to create more spacing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unsportsmanlike tactics

In an editorial change to the rules book, video board and lighting system operators have been included in those personnel who may not create any distraction that obstructs play.

Feigning injuries

The panel supported the Football Rules Committee proposal to provide a framework to allow a school or conference to request a postgame video review about questionable actions through the NCAA secretary-rules editor/national coordinator of officials.

Points of emphasis

  • For the 2021 season, it will be a point of emphasis for officials to penalize any taunting action directed toward an opponent. Committee members think these actions reflect poorly on the game and can lead to unnecessary confrontations.
  • Officials are directed to be alert to players who are significantly in violation of uniform rules and to send violators out of the game to correct the issue. This will include specifically the pants, jerseys and T-shirts that extend below the torso.
  • Coaches should not enter the field of play or leave the team area to debate officiating decisions. Those who do so will have committed an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct foul.

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