By Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, who provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

At its meetings last month in Indianapolis, the NCAA Football Rules Committee once again focused on the safety of the student-athlete in making changes to the rules. Three changes came out of the meetings--two having to do with the “targeting” fouls, and the other aimed at giving more protection to the passer.

Readers of Chalktalk will recall that in 2013 the committee rewrote the penalty for the targeting fouls to include the player being ejected from the game, with the possibility of review of the ejection in games where Instant Replay is used. The change this year is that if the review results in the player returning to the game, the 15-yard penalty will not be enforced—unless there is also another action accompanying the targeting, such as roughing the passer.

The second change is for games where there is no Instant Replay—those at the FCS, Division II and Division III levels. Last year there was no possibility of review of a first-half targeting foul. Starting in 2014, the referee is authorized during the halftime intermission to use the available video to review a first-half targeting foul, with the possibility of returning the player to the game for the second half if the review shows that targeting did not take place.

Protecting the passer from being injured by low hits is the third change recommended by the rules committee. Beginning in 2014, when the quarterback (or any passer) is in his passing posture, the defense is not allowed to hit him forcibly at the knee or below. “Forcible contact” is the key to this rule; it does not include contact resulting from a defensive player being blocked into the passer, and it does allow for a normal “wrap-up” tackle. But the forcible contact that leads to knee and lower-leg injuries is the focus of this new rule.