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College football rules committee may tweak targeting penalty

College football rules committee to consider middle ground on targeting calls.
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A college football rules committee will consider looking more closely at the targeting rule when they meet next month. 

NCAA Football Rules Committee secretary-rules editor Rogers Redding told USA Today that the committee will consider adding a “middle ground" to the rule.

Targeting in college football results in a 15-yard penalty and automatic ejection of a player who commits the foul after the penalty is looked at by replay officials.

If the targeting penatly occurs in the game's second half, that player will also sit out the first half of the next game. The rule was first instituted before the 2013 season.

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“If the replay official has more time and more angles and says, ‘I can’t really confirm it’s targeting,’ the default position is the call on the field is correct, so it stands,” Redding said. “But we’re not gonna throw him out. … The idea is that certainly the officials on the field saw something. We can’t say, ‘No, it’s not targeting,’ but there’s more middle ground.”

Under a new proposal, the 15-yard targeting penalty would be enforced, but the player would not be ejected if a replay official doesn't see enough proof to overturn the call.

Last season, there were 144 ejections of the 196 times that the targeting penalty was called.

“We’ve changed behavior,” Todd Berry, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, said. “That’s what we were trying to address from the beginning. To change behavior, there needed to be a stiff penalty, which obviously ejection is. … But there’s nothing wrong with trying to make something continually better. This is something that impacts the student-athlete and we need to be very serious about having these conversations.”

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