Every year, the NCAA football rules committee meets about this time of year to determine any new proposals, which will then be considered by an oversight panel in April. Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic ($) has a nice summary of this year’s proposed changes:
- Implementing a two-minute time limit for officials to make decisions using instant replay (to speed up the game)
- Allowing players ejected for targeting and disqualified from the game to remain on the sidelines with their teammates (instead of being immediately banished to the locker room, alone)
- Starting game officials’ jurisdiction at 90 minutes before kickoff, instead of the current 60 minutes. That will come with a requirement that a coach has to be on the field during pregame warmups whenever players are present (to avoid pregame kerfuffles)
- Capping the amount of duplicate jersey numbers on a roster at two to lessen confusion for referees and others
- Because of that restriction as well as the popularity of single-digit jersey numbers, adding No. 0 as a legal jersey number
These are relatively minor. The first is a no brainer: if you can’t determine within two minutes that a call needs overturned, then there is obviously not clear visual evidence. On the second, there is no need for a player who was ejected for targeting to be removed from the field. As far as I can tell, those ejected for fighting still have to go. The third was likely inspired by Kentucky and Virginia Tech, who got into a pregame altercation just outside the hour window.
Indeed, this year’s most compelling proposals surround jersey numbers, limiting the number of duplicates and allowing the number zero. Big nose tackles will often play a zero technique, so that position makes sense for the new number. Let’s be honest, who is going to try and take it from the big run stuffer is he wants it?
Most importantly, might Saban consider a Coke Zero bottle for the podium in honor of the rule, should it pass?
Thoughts on the proposals?