There may be a stoppage of college sports due to the Coronavirus, but it does not mean that the NCAA is not still preparing for an upcoming football season. The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel released their newest rule changes for college football on Tuesday. These changes will go into affect when football returns. Here are the four main areas that fans should take note of.

The first change to the rules will be that a player flagged for targeting will still be disqualified from the game but instead of being ejected and required to head to the locker room after a targeting foul (that had been the rule since 2013), that player will be allowed to stay on the sidelines in the team area. All other aspects of the targeting rule remain the same. The progressive penalty for targeting also remains. That means any players who commit three targeting fouls in the same season are then subject to a one game suspension.

The next change deals with a time limit on reviews. For the first time in football, the panel approved a guideline for instant replay officials to complete video reviews in less than two minutes. They are seeking to improve the pace of play in games. Also, if the game clock expires at the end of a half and replay determines that there was time remaining and the clock should start on the referee’s signal after review, then there has to be at least three seconds remaining when the ball should have been declared dead for them to restore time to the clock. If less than three seconds remain on the game clock then the half will be over.

Next the panel approved a rule that restricts the number of teammates wearing the same jersey number to two. The rules in reference to players using duplicate numbers will continue to require that they play different positions and aren’t on the field at the same time. Also in response to the popularity of single digit numbers, they have decided that players can wear “0” as a legal number.

The fourth change dealt with jurisdictional time limits of the officials, coaches being on the field and players identification. In this rule, the panel approved a rule that game officials jurisdiction of the contest begins 90 minutes before kickoff. This would replace the current 60 minute timeline. Another part of the proposal says a coach has to be on the field during pregame warmups when players are present. All players have to be identified by number as well.

These rules shouldn’t affect Clemson all that much and most fans would tell you that they just hope to see their Dabo and the Tigers on the gridiron this year playing for another Natty, whether the rules have changed or not. Frankly, the current pandemic has put a lot of new rules in place and taught everyone to look at even the simple things a lot differently over the last few months.

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