More stringent targeting rules go into effect

A new football rule going into effect this season requires players who target and contact defenseless opponents above the shoulders be ejected. The change increases the on-field penalty for targeting by adding the automatic ejection to the existing 15-yard penalty. 

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Playing Rules

Publish date: Oct 4, 2013

A new process implemented for targeting fouls review

Games will be stopped for immediate review of call

Football referees will now stop games to immediately review when players are penalized and face ejection for targeting defenseless opponents above the shoulders or using the crown of the helmet to contact an opponent. This new review process will only impact games that have instant replay capability.

Rogers Redding

Rogers Redding, NCAA football secretary-rules editor and national coordinator of football officials, said the change is effective immediately and addresses concerns of timeliness related to review of these penalties and also the use of coach challenges during the game.    

With the new process, the on-field referee will make the foul call, stop the game clock and immediately come to the sideline to put on the headset and communicate with the instant replay official.

When the review is complete, the referee will make one of the following announcements:

  • If the ruling stands:  "After further review, the ruling on the field stands."
  • If the ruling is confirmed:  "After further review, the ruling on the field is confirmed."
  • If the player's disqualification is reversed:  "After further review, number XX is not disqualified. By rule the 15-yard penalty is enforced."

“This new process will allow instant replay officials to review the play in a timely manner to determine whether a student-athlete should be disqualified and not miss any game action if it is overturned,” said Redding. “Another benefit of this process is eliminating the need for a coach to use one of his challenges for the review.”

Through the first five weeks of the college football season, when instant replay officials were reviewing targeting fouls called on the field, the game was stopped only when overturning the student-athlete's disqualification or if the official needed more time to review the play.