New blocking below the waist rule headlines college football infraction changes

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the new football measures during their April meeting, and these rule changes will be in effect for the 2022 season. (Photo by

By Dan Verdun

Two of the four Illinois FCS teams open their seasons tonight while the other pair plays Saturday. Each program is aware and has prepared for the rules changes in college football.

“The mission of the Rules Committee is to develop and evaluate rules changes that will enhance the sport, protect the image of the game, and enhance the student athlete’s health and safety,” Steve Shaw, the College Football Officiating (CFO) National Coordinator of Football Officials, said on “Player safety has been the highest priority of the committee for many years now resulting in significant changes that have improved the game in terms of mitigating injuries. Specifically, the new Blocking Below the Waist rule, and the other modifications to the rules for 2022 will be a benefit for the student-athletes, the fans and the game.”

2022 Rules Changes (Source:

Blocking Below the Waist
The panel approved a proposal to improve safety and simplify the rules governing blocking below the waist. The proposal will allow blocking below the waist only by linemen and stationary backs inside the tackle box. Outside the tackle box on scrimmage plays, blocking below the waist will be prohibited. Analysis of available NCAA injury surveillance data indicates a decreasing knee injury trend that coincides with recent rules changes in this area.

Jason Simpson is the head coach at the University of Tennessee Martin of the Ohio Valley Conference, which Eastern Illinois is also a member. UTM won the 2021 conference title and is the preseason favorite this fall. UTM hosts Western Illinois Thursday night in the season opener for both teams.

“We spent a lot of time on the cut blocking rule, I think that’s probably the biggest adjustment I’ve seen of the new ones,” Simpson said. “We’ve spent time on that so that we comply and don’t get an unnecessary penalty because ‘that’s the way we blocked it last year’. That’s the one we’ve spent the most time on to try to educate our players.”

Deceptive Injury Timeout Investigation Process
To address teams that are awarded an injury timeout through deceptive actions, panel members approved a reporting and investigation process. Schools and conferences will be able to report questionable scenarios to the national coordinator of officials, who will review and provide feedback to the conference for further action. Any penalties levied would be up to the conference office or school involved.
The NCAA Football Rules Committee considered several in-game options to address this, including altering the injury timeout rule to remove the injured student-athlete for more than one play. Currently, an injured player is required to sit out one play. This concept was debated at length, but the committee was concerned with the additional issues that could be created and did not want to encourage players to continue to participate when injured.

Targeting Carryover Appeal Process
In games that have instant replay, when a targeting foul occurs in the second half, the carryover penalty (of sitting out the first half of that player’s next game) will be eligible for further appeal. The process will begin with a conference submitting a request to the NCAA national coordinator of officials, who would review video of the play. If it is obvious that a player was incorrectly penalized for targeting, the call would be overturned, and the player would be cleared to play in the first half of the next game.

Other Rule Changes

  • If a ball carrier simulates a feet-first slide, officials will declare the runner down at that spot.
  • Defensive holding will remain a 10-yard penalty but will always carry an automatic first down.
  • The replay official will address any clock adjustment and status only when a ruling is overturned with less than two minutes in the 2nd or 4th quarter.
  • Illegal Touching by an originally ineligible player is penalized five yards from the previous spot and now includes loss of down.
  • Addition of Signal 28 for Illegal Blindside Block:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: