New college football rules fans need to be aware of in 2021
When college football returns this week, a few rules changes will be somewhat noticeable.
The biggest rules change revolves around expediting overtime by limiting the length of the game and reducing the number of plays from scrimmage. Teams will now be required to run a 2-point conversion play after a touchdown in the second overtime. Previously, 2-point conversions were only required after the third overtime.
After the first overtime touchdown, teams can still choose to either kick an extra point or go for a 2-point conversion. Only during the second overtime period will they be required to go for 2. Interestingly, the new rule also states that after the third overtime, teams won’t start from the 25-yard-line anymore. They will immediately start alternating 2-point conversion plays.
Faking injuries has been somewhat of a college football annoyance in recent years. With the new 2021 rules changes, if a player is believed to be faking an injury, the opposing coach can send video of the incident to the national coordinator of football officials, Steve Shaw. Shaw would review it and then communicate the findings with the athletic directors; however, there is still no penalty for this.
The team area on the sidelines is also changing. Prior to 2020, the team area on the sideline extended from the 25-yard-line to the 25-yard-line. Last year due to social distancing, it changed from the 15-yard-line to the 15-yard-line. In 2021, it will meet in the middle from the 20-yard-line to the 20-yard-line.
Also new for 2021 is coaches will now be flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for leaving the coaches box. So, when players get onto the field of play and leave the team area and coaches leave the coaches box, it will be an automatic 15-yard penalty.
Speaking of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, video board and audio and lighting operators may now not create any distraction that obstructs play this year. If they are found guilty, the team will receive an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Taunting is a conversational topic in college football, but it’s rarely seen during games. Now, however, if players do taunt opponents, they will be flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
One of the more minor tweaks in the new college football rules deals with uniforms and undergarments. Players who are violation of this new rule will be sent to the sideline. T-shirts or other undergarments aren’t allowed to extend below the torso or waistline. Instead of calling a penalty on the field and stopping the game, players will be just sent to the sideline to correct the issue.