New rules could be coming in college football

The NCAA football rules committee is looking at making some alterations for the 2014 season. And the proposals could be impactful. The first proposal involves defensive player substitutions. The committee’s proposed change would allow defensive players to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock, except for the final two minutes of each half. Offenses that begin a play before 29 seconds remain on the play clock would receive a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty.

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Current rules read that defensive players aren’t guaranteed the chance to sub-in unless the offense first substitutes. Under the proposal by the committee, this policy would remain when the play clock starts at 25 seconds.

“This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, chair of the rules committee, said in a statement. “As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes.”

This change would in effect tap the brakes on offenses that like to work at a quick pace. In the Big Ten, the attack that seemingly would be hindered the most would be the go-go offense of Kevin Wilson at Indiana.

The committee also has proposed to erase a 15-yard penalty for targeting if replay overturns a targeting infraction. This makes total sense. Why should the yardage infraction still be enacted if the penalty is overturned by the booth?

“This alteration keeps the intent of the rule, but allows replay to correct all of the consequences from a rare missed call,” Calhoun said.

The NCAA’s playing rules oversight panel will discuss the proposed changes on March 6. The only adjustments allowed this year, which is not designated as a rules-change year, are those that involve player safety or modify a previous rule change such as targeting.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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