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NCAA approves college football rule changes

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Changes to targeting, replay, and more.

Alabama v Auburn Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The NCAA just approved several rule changes for the next college football season:

The NCAA announced Tuesday that the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a change involved with the targeting rule, instituted a time guideline for replay reviews and adjusted protocol for pregame interactions between opposing teams and the jersey numbers players are allowed to wear.

Replay reviews are now limited to two minutes except in situations that could decide a game at the end. We’ve all complained that reviews are taking too long, and now if officials can’t make a call within two minutes they’ve been instructed to move on.

The targeting rule is also a widely unpopular call, and they aren’t actually changing the substance of it. What they did change though was allowing ejected players to stay on the sidelines with the team instead of having to be escorted to the locker room. I think that’s a really good change.

Coaches and refs will now be on the field for pre-game to avoid chippy scuffles between teams.

Perhaps most importantly, they also added a rule change, a direct result born from last season’s Iron Bowl. Essentially:

Moving forward, if the game clock expires at the end of a half but replay determines that there should be time remaining and it is a situation where the clock would resume on the referee’s signal, there needs to be at least three seconds remaining in the half to restore time to the clock. Otherwise, the half is declared over.

Basically, Auburn was allowed to kick a field goal before halftime because a review stopped the clock and put one second back on. That one second allowed Auburn to get lined up and kick a field goal — something that would have been impossible without the review. Now, there has to be at least three seconds.

On a more fun note, players will now get to wear the number zero! This was because some teams would have three players wear the same number — on offense, defense, and special teams. So they increased the number options by adding zero and then limited teams to only two players being allowed to wear the same number.