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from NCAA: Student-Athlete Safety

from NCAA: Student-Athlete Safety

More of an FYI so you’ll know what rules are changing this year.
Check it out:


2013 NCAA/College Football Officiating, LLC
Rules and Officiating Media Notes

This document is intended to provide guidance on key NCAA rules for football regarding student-athlete safety. Questions regarding rules or officiating may be directed to Rogers Redding, NCAA secretary-editor and CFO national coordinator, at [email protected].


  •   Targeting and Initiating Contact With the Crown of the Helmet (Rule 9-1-3).

No player shall target and initiate contact against an opponent with the crown (top) of his helmet. When in question, it is a foul.

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  •   Targeting and Initiating Contact to Head or Neck Area of a Defenseless Player  (Rule 9-1-4).

No player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, hand, fist, elbow or shoulder. When in question, it is a foul.

New for 2013 is an increased penalty—ejection from the game—in addition to 15-yards for each of these two fouls. Key points to remember:

  • The fouls have not changed from 2012 – only the penalty, which now includes automatic ejection.
  • First-half fouls: Ejection for the remainder of the game.
  • Second-half fouls: Ejection for the remainder of the game and the first half of the next game.


  •  Target—to take aim at an opponent for purposes of attacking with an apparent intent that goes beyond making a legal tackle or a legal block or playing the ball.
  •  Crown of the Helmet—the top portion of the helmet.
  •  Contact to the head or neck area—not only with the helmet, but also with the forearm, hand, fist, elbow, or shoulder—these can all lead to a foul.
  •  Defenseless player—a player not in position to defend himself.


EXAMPLE OF A DEFENSELESS PLAYER (Rule 2-27-14):              

  • A player in the act of or just after throwing a pass.
  • A receiver attempting to catch a pass, or one who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a ball carrier.
  • A kicker in the act of or just after kicking a ball, or during the kick or the return.
  • A kick returner attempting to catch or recover a kick.
  • A player on the ground.
  • A player obviously out of the play.
  • A player who receives a blind-side block.
  • A ball carrier already in the grasp of an opponent and whose forward progress has been stopped.
  • A quarterback any time after a change of possession.


Risk of a foul is high with one or more of these:

  • Launch—a player leaving his feet to attack an opponent by an upward and forward thrust of the body to make contact in the head or neck area;
  • A crouch followed by an upward and forward thrust to attack with contact at the head or neck area—even though one or both feet are still on the ground;
  • Leading with helmet, forearm, fist, hand or elbow to attack with contact at the head or neck area; and/or
  • Lowering the head before attacking by initiating contact with the crown of the helmet.

These indicate less risk of a foul:

  • Heads-up tackle in which the crown of the helmet does not strike above the shoulders;
  • Wrap-up tackle;
  • Head is to the side rather than being used to initiate contact;
  • Incidental helmet contact that is not part of targeting but is due to a player or players changing position during the course of play; or
  • Players that are making a play on the ball.


Instant Replay has the authority ONLY to review the contact itself. If the video clearly shows that the contact was not with the crown of the helmet or was not to the head/neck area, a targeting foul may be downgraded to unnecessary roughness. The 15-yard enforcement remains regardless.

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