Committee proposes rule changes

Updated: February 12, 2010, 2:25 PM ET
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA wants to get tough on taunting and make it more difficult for football players with concussions to try to tough it out.

Both proposals were announced Thursday by the Football Rules Committee and must now be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.

If passed, players who draw flags for taunting gestures on their way to a touchdown would have the penalty assessed from the spot of the foul, taking away the score. Penalties that occur in the end zone would continue to be assessed on the extra-point attempt, 2-point conversion try or ensuing kickoff.

The change would take effect in 2011 and on the NCAA's Web site, a release said the proposal received near-unanimous support.

"Taunting and prolonged individual acts have no place in our game, and our officials have generally handled these rules well," said former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, the committee chair. "This is just another step in maintaining our game's image and reflecting the ideals of the NCAA overall."

The taunting rules seem to become a topic of debate among college football players, coaches and fans every season. Last season's big controversy stemmed from Georgia receiver A.J. Green receiving a 15-year personal foul penalty after he caught a go-ahead touchdown pass late in a game against LSU. The yardage from the penalty was assessed on the ensuing kickoff and helped LSU get into position to drive for the winning score.

The Southeastern Conference would later say there was no video evidence to support the flag on Green.

Concussion prevention and treatment has also been a hot topic in recent years.

With that in mind, committee members also supported more stringent standards to keep players healthy.

If approved, injured players -- including those with concussion symptoms -- would have to be cleared by a doctor before returning to competition.

The action comes a month after the playing rules panel instructed the rules committee to review policies about stopping play for injuries and consider new rules to help prevent head injuries.

In previous seasons, there have been rules changes created to reduce "dangerous contact" during games.

Other topics discussed at the meeting include:

• Television monitors will be allowed in the press box coaches' booths beginning in 2011. The home team has responsibility for insuring that coaches' booths for both teams have identical television capability.

• Requiring players who wear "eye black" to use solid black with no words, logos, numbers or other symbols. That will be effective next season.

• Ending the requirement that players' pants always cover the knees.

• Eliminating the intentional "wedge" on kickoffs and punts, a rule the NFL adopted last season.

• Recommending conferences that do not have a pregame warm-up policy use a 10-yard, no-player zone between the 45-yard lines beginning 60 minutes before kickoff.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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