Birmingham, AL, United States (4E Sports) – The SEC has announced additional rule changes that will be implemented in the 2014 season.
“Probably 2013 was one of the most exciting season on record,” SEC’s Director of Officials Steve Shaw said. “The targeting change is not ruining the game, it’s making our game better.”
Last year was an off-year, which means the only rules that can be adjusted are those that fall under player safety –including targeting.
This year, Shaw said if a targeting foul, without the addition of a personal foul, is reversed, a team will not be charged with a 15-yard penalty. Last year, a team was still charged 15 yards even if replay reversed a targeting penalty.
Shaw said officials will make it clear when penalties are called. A “roughing the passer call with targeting” will warrant 15 yards regardless of what the replay shows.
Last year the SEC’s officials called 19 targeting penalties, seven were overturned. Nationally, there were 92 targeting penalties, 32 were reversed.
The SEC will also implement a “strike zone” for quarterbacks this year. Players will be penalized for hitting quarterbacks low when they are in a “passing posture.” Basically quarterbacks can only be hit below the neck and above the knees.
Also, Shaw said a defensive player cannot roll or lunge at a quarterback’s legs.
Together with the rule changes, the SEC is expanding its experiment with an eighth official. The SEC will select on crew that will consist of eight officials. The crew will work with every team in the league this year.
“The eighth official will be called the center judge. His main responsibilities include spotting the ball and substitutions,” Shaw said.
Regarding jerseys, Shaw said numbers are not allowed to contrast to the jersey. If a team is penalized for this, it will be charged a timeout at the start of each quarter.
He added said spontaneous natural celebrations with teammates will be allowed while those that appear to be choreographed will be flagged for unsportsmanlike.