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NCAA approves 15-yard penalty for low hits on quarterbacks

Jeff DriskelFlorida QB Jeff Driskel was lost for the season after breaking his leg against Tennessee. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty)

College football defenders will be penalized for low hits on passing quarterbacks in 2014.

The NCAA announced on Wednesday that its Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new rule that will result in a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty for low contact on passing quarterbacks "at or below the knee."

From the NCAA's release:

The rule specifically covers a scenario in which a quarterback is in a passing posture with one or both feet on the ground. In that situation, no defensive player rushing unabated can hit him forcibly at or below the knee. The defensive player also may not initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the quarterback in the knee area or below.

Exceptions to the rule would occur when a quarterback becomes a runner or when a defender "is not rushing unabated or is blocked or fouled into the passer."

The rule will go into effect for the 2014 season. According to the NCAA, college football head coaches supported the new rule in surveys.

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