If  you ever picked up the 210 page NCAA Official Rules Book, you’d want to shoot yourself by page 3 of the Charlie Brown teacher ‘wah wah wah wah’ garbage.

However, every year, kind of like the US tax code, they decide to add more to it. Most guys have no idea about these changes until half way through the season at best. We are here to help you get on top – where you belong!

College Football Rules

Changes for 2013 Season

“Player entering game wearing new number must report” – Ok, say a guy starts the game with the number 7 on his jersey and then spills ketchup on it eating a hot dog at half time. If he changes jerseys and is now wearing number 10 and he does not let the referee know this, then he will get penalized 15 yds for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Seriously, we have no idea why this was added other than it was identified as some kind of loophole. However, we have seen some instances in recent seasons where guys wear the jersey of a teammate who may be injured or worse. Not much of a rule change but it does seem fair to let everyone know who is who.

“Player at the same position must have different numbers”Duh! Again this must have just been some kind of loophole that since it was not expressly stated, someone thought somewhere it might get taken advantage of (yes, that’s right, I just ended my sentence with a preposition!).

“Jersey numeral colors must contrast with jersey color” – See, now this is something that all of us ladies can understand! You shouldn’t wear red on red! Of course, the numbers should be a contrasting color so they don’t clash. Whatever!

“Helmet off: Timeout allows player to remain in game” – in the last couple of years, the “rules guys” have been trying to (a) protect players more and (b) remove some of the showy dancing and crazy stuff guys do after a big play. The first one of those is good. These kids don’t get paid for what they do so they should be protected. If a guy’s helmet keeps falling off, then it probably needs to be adjusted (or maybe he just needs a hair cut! What is it with the super long hair these days anyway)? So they made it that if a helmet comes off, the player has to leave the game and sometimes it results in a penalty. This new rule says that if the team wants to blow a timeout to keep him in the game, then they can.

As for part (b) above. I’m a little mixed. Celebrating something is fun and gets the players and fans into the game. But it was sometimes a bit, well, let’s say, excessive! So they cut almost all of it out because there were way more than 50 shades of gray on whether or not it was too excessive or not!! Just sayin’.

These 4 rule changes all kind of go together:

  • “Defenseless player definition expanded”
  • “Targeting with crown of helmet: automatic disqualification”
  • “Targeting to head or neck area: automatic disqualification”
  • “May review disqualification portion of targeting rule”

These changes are probably the only substantive rule change for the year. These guys are still trying to get it right to make the game safer without taking away from what the sport is. The rules guys added more language to explain who is ‘defenseless’ (e.g. receiver jumping high in the air for a catch). Suffice it to say there will just be a whole lot more penalties called for these kinds of fouls and stiffer consequences including players being ejected from the game. This will certainly create some controversy. They are allowing video review of the call to reverse the decision to eject or not eject a player from the game. This also means…get ready for the games to last a little longer due to the penalties and video review since they both stop the clock. 

“10 second runoff after player injury” – a bunch of language in the detailed rule but essentially this is trying to prevent the faking of an injury to stop the clock for your team’s advantage. If an injury occurs with less than 1 minute in a half, the opposing team can choose whether or not they want to have 10 seconds taken off the clock. Obviously, if there are 8 seconds left in the game and a defensive player is ‘injured’ the offense is not going to take the penalty and have no time left in the game!!

“Minimum time for a play after spiking” – So, you’ve probably seen in the last seconds before the end of the game a team rushing up to the line as quick as they can and then the quarterback just throws the ball quickly into the ground. This is called spiking the ball. They do this to stop the game clock even though it costs them a down in order to reorganize themselves. In years past, there has been some controversy as to whether the team had enough time to spike it. Now, if there are 3 seconds or more when the referee winds his arm around like a clock then they will be allowed to spike the ball. If there is less than 3 seconds, then they will just have to run a play. Sounds like refs getting sick of getting yelled out for a bad call.

“Blocking below the waste” –  they added a ton  more detail into when and who can block someone below the waste. Again, this is trying to prevent injury.

So that is it for the college football rules changes for this season. We’ll see what rule changes they make next year!!

Tell us what you think!