“The hope is that, in discussing this, this problem will go away,” Burks said. “It’s just a nasty search for the sport, and we hope that we will eliminate it without doing any more to the foundations.”
But Shaw warned that if the issue persists, officials will “probably look toward an in-game solution next yr.”
The blocking below the waist rule has been simplified.
The game’s rule on blocking below the waist, intended to scale back the chance of leg injuries, had long been among the many game’s most complex. It’s lots easier to digest now — a change, officials said, rooted in a desire to simplify rules and to follow the insights they will glean from injury data and past adjustments.
“Simply put, for the circumstances where a player is allowed to dam legally below the waist, the primary requirement is that that player is stationary on the snap contained in the tackle box,” said John McDaid, the SEC’s coordinator of football officials. “In case you’re in motion, otherwise you’re stationary outside of that tackle box, in no circumstances are you able to any longer block below the waist legally.”
Other changes will affect holding, targeting and time adjustments.
Another rules have also been streamlined or modestly adjusted. Defensive holding, for instance, will now carry an automatic first down. And easy replay officials will adjust the clock just for plays that occur through the last two minutes of a half.
The overarching targeting rule stays unchanged from last yr, however the national coordinator of officials may now review second-half penalties that result in a player’s disqualification for a part of their next game. Under the rule, Shaw will likely be whether a “clearly obvious” error was made within the targeting call. (There have been 99 second-half targeting fouls within the Football Bowl Subdivision last season, based on the N.C.A.A.)
But the chances of a player dodging the lingering punishment are slim: Shaw, though reluctant to supply a forecast, predicted that “lower than a handful” of suspensions will likely be overturned.