9 rules changes for the 2015 college football season

College Football Officiating’s Rogers Redding wrote a condensed manifest in partnership with the National Football Foundation in what rule changes all on-field personnel and players will be subjected to this season.

A graduate of Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, Redding has officiated for over 30 years (a decade’s worth with the SEC) and was noticed for his on-field efforts in 2010, being awarded the NFF’s Most Outstanding Official Award.

Placement of Eight Officials

Although the tone of having seven officials on the field has been in practice for over three decades, the ruling body revised the number due to the Big 12’s allocation of eight. The eighth man will be marked by a block ‘C’ to denote his role as a center judge, who will align himself in the offensive backfield.

Non-standard, Overbuilt Facemasks are Illegal

This style of face mask is defined by a greater mass and by minimal spacing between the bars. The tightly-knit gaps increase the chances of an opposing player’s fingers getting lodged in the equipment.

The helmet accessory of Justin Tuck is a vital example of this.

Illegal Equipment: Sitting for a Down

A player with any illegal modifications to his equipment is required to miss one play until his illegal equipment is adjusted to collegiate standards.

Increased Access to the Field Prior to Kick-off

As teams complain they have little time to warm-up because they’re busy staying couped up in a locker room, the committee established a time frame of 22 minutes directed towards pre-game warm-ups.

Game Ball Management: Resetting the Play Clock

In seasons before, a referee is granted the right to reset the play clock at 20 seconds for an unused game ball, if one can’t be obtained within the allotted time. Since it’s an unlikely scenario that refs need that much time to recover a ball, the play clock will be shortened to 15 seconds.

Hurt/Lost Helmet on Defense: 40-second Play Clock

It’s a cardinal rule in any level of football play that when a player’s helmet pops off, he must sit out one down. In the former rule book, the clock starts winding down from 25 seconds, but since the above situation eats up more clock than initially planned, a lost helmet on a defensive player will need a 40-second clock. The rule also applies to any injured player.

The rule remains unchanged for those on offense and will continue to use the traditional 25-second clock.

Unsportsmanlike Conduct: Pushing/Pulling from a Pile

To gain an unfair advantage in the moment of a fumble lost, players scramble and pounce on the ball and that affects the visual of the referee as players stockpile themselves in a mountain. This situation makes it likely for players to pry the opposing team’s players off, usually causing scuffles.

If a player is caught in that conundrum, the referee will penalize the puller/pusher for unsportsmanlike conduct. Two incidents from the same player and he’s automatically disqualified.

Sideline Warning: Ridding of Yardage Penalty for First Offense

A misstep in the restricted area by player or coach typically resulted in a five-yard penalty. But the committee returned to its roots and brought back a warning system if the problem occurs when the first offense is on the field.

Failure to comply in the second offense and the warning system falls moot to the five-yard penalty.

Instant Replay: Blocking during an On-side Kick

If a ball travel 10 yards, both teams are eligible to fight for the ball. But the rules committee has now permitted the instant replay official to possibly review for any blocking infractions, especially against the kicking team.

If a review comes back positive for premature interference on the kicking team, a foul occurs.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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