Steve Shaw discusses rule changes for college football entering 2018 season
On Tuesday morning, Steve Shaw, the SEC’s coordinator of officials, took the podium at SEC Media Days from Atlanta to discuss a multitude of rule changes for college football entering the 2018 season.
As always, there will be some adjustments in rules, policies and penalty enforcement that teams will have to learn and adapt to before playing the first game of the season. Here’s a roundup of the changes for this year that Shaw discussed at the 2018 edition of SEC Media Days:
- Knee pads and pants must cover the knee. If players don’t, they must leave the game for at least one play to correct the issue. “It’s a player safety issue, and we want to take care of that,” Shaw said.
- If a player calls for a fair catch behind the 25-yard line on a kickoff or free kick, the ball will belong to them at the 25-yard line. “So this is an opportunity where if there’s a sky kick into the corner or whatever, the receiving team — before they had to run it back; now they can opt to take what looks like a touchback if they complete a fair catch, take the ball on the 25,” Shaw said.
- There will be a 40-second play clock after touchdowns and kickoffs in an effort to keep the game moving.
- Other than linemen in the tackle box on the line of scrimmage, all players must direct their block from the front. “The reason for that being that the player can defend themselves if they see it coming and it’s a safer block,” Shaw said.
- On anything five yards or beyond, no blocking below the waist.
- If a player runs forward and leaps in an attempt to block a kick, he cannot get into the plane above the frame. “If you leap, run forward and leap into that plane, it’s a foul. So if you run forward and leap and don’t get in that, it’s OK,” Shaw said.
- There will be a 10-second runoff following an instant replay. Either team can avoid a runoff if a timeout is used.
- There will be a limit on the number of coaching headsets. This rule is still awaiting final approval, which will be decided on July 25.
- If a corporate entity has bought naming rights to a stadium, it can have its logo in two spots, the two flanking locations.
- Field goal penalty enforcement is now like extra points. “If you have a personal foul on the defense or an unsportsmanlike conduct on a successful field goal, they can keep the points and have the penalty enforced on the kickoff. Or they can take the points off the board and enforce it. Field goals didn’t allow the carryover opportunity like extra points; now they are all the same,” Shaw said.