Created on Friday, 04 October 2013 Written by JOHN MARSHALL, AP College Football Writer
The NCAA tweaked its new targeting rule by requiring officials to immediately review whether players should be ejected, but it still will not allow them to reverse the 15-yard penalty that comes with the call.
The NCAA put the rule in place this season in an attempt to prevent head injuries, adding an ejection to the 15-yard penalty for targeting defenseless players above the shoulders or leading with the crown of the helmet on a tackle.
The new process for reviewing whether an ejection should stand is expected to speed up the process and eliminate the need for coaches to use a challenge for the review.
"This new process will allow instant replay officials to review the play in a timely manner to determine whether a student-athlete should be disqualified and not miss any game action if it is overturned," said Rogers Redding, the NCAA's national coordinator of football officials. "Another benefit of this process is eliminating the need for a coach to use one of his challenges for the review."
Under the new process, the game official will make the foul call, stop the clock and immediately go to the sideline to communicate with the instant replay official to determine whether the player should indeed be ejected. If the ejection is overturned, the player will be allowed to remain in the game, but the team will still be assessed the 15-yard penalty.
Some coaches have complained about not being able to overturn the 15-yard penalty if a player is not ejected, but the NCAA left that part of the rule in place.
Through the first five weeks of the season, officials only stopped the game if there was a challenge to an ejection call or if the crew needed more time to review the play.
Seven players were ejected the first weekend of the season, but Redding has said the new rule seems to be changing players' behavior, leading to fewer dangerous plays.
The NCAA has had a targeting rule for five years. The new rule requires players who are ejected in the first half to miss the remainder of the game and anyone ejected in the second half or overtime to sit out the first half of his team's next game.