NCAA Football Rules Committee Proposals: Two-Minute Timeout, Coach-to-Player Helmet Communication, and More

    The NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed multiple rules that, if approved, would come into effect during the 2024 season.

    The NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed multiple rule changes that would be effective for the 2024 season. The proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss football rule recommendations on April 18.

    Every New NCAA Football Rules Committee Proposal

    Many features distinguish college football from its professional counterparts, but there are a few rule proposals that will blur the lines. Here is every new rule proposal from the NCAA Football Rules Committee.

    Coach-to-Player Helmet Communication, Tablets, and Wearable Technology

    Much like the NFL, in games between FBS schools, each team would have the option to use coach-to-player communications with one player through a helmet identified with a green dot on the back. Communication would be shut off with 15 seconds remaining on the play clock or when the ball is snapped, whichever comes first.

    For all three NCAA divisions, teams would have the option of using tablets for in-game video only, including the broadcast feed and camera angles from the coach’s sideline and end zone.

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    The maximum number of tablets teams could have in the coaching booth, sideline, and locker room is 18, with all team personnel allowed to view them during the game. Tablets could not be connected to other devices to “project larger additional images” and would not be allowed to include “analytics, data or data access capability or other communication access.”

    The committee also discussed wearable technologies, inviting non-FBS conferences interested in using them to submit an “experimental proposal” by June 15.

    Co-chair of the committee and Big Ten vice president of football administration A.J. Edds said, “The use of technology has been on the committee’s agenda for several years, and the time is right to introduce it in NCAA football. FBS conferences have partnered together to ensure the consistent application and work through the details of the technical requirements for implementation.”

    Two-Minute Timeout

    Like in the NFL, there would be an automatic timeout when two minutes remain in the second and fourth quarters of games.

    This recommendation would synchronize all timing rules — 10-second runoffs, stopping the clock when a first down is gained in bounds, etc. — that coincide with the two-minute timeout.

    Secretary-rules editor Steve Shaw stated, “The two-minute timeout will allow all end-of-half and end-of-game timing rules to be simplified and synch up with this timeout. This will also help broadcast partners to avoid back-to-back media timeouts.”

    Uniforms

    The committee has had concerns with the look of players’ uniforms — specifically pants — in recent seasons. This proposal is for “a stronger enforcement structure” for violations of the uniform rules. The first violation results in a flag thrown for illegal equipment, forcing the offending player to leave the game for at least one play to correct the issue.

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    Subsequent uniform violations by any member of that team would result in a charged timeout, and if the team is out of timeouts, it would receive a 5-yard delay-of-game penalty.

    Other Proposals

    • D3 schools would implement the timing rule where the game clock continues to run when a first down is gained in bounds but stopped during the last two minutes of each half (D1 and D2 programs introduced such rules last season).
    • Conferences would have the option of using a collaborative replay review system. (This has been an experimental rule and would be formally added to the rules book.)
    • Horse-collar tackles that occur within the tackle box would be penalized as a 15-yard personal foul. (Currently, a horse-collar tackle within the tackle box is not a foul.)
    • Head coaches would be permanently allowed to conduct interviews with broadcast partners after the first and third quarters. (This was done on an experimental basis in 2023.)

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