Dog in football uniform

Unfortunately “Let Your Pet Play Center Day” has been done away with.

In a bid to keep the game competitive, fair, exciting and protect the players from unnecessary risk, the National Football Foundation and College Football Officiating group have released the 2016 season rule changes. College Football lines suggest that officiating will become a much easier task. The big question would be if these changes would affect the college football lines in all major sportsbooks and we will be finding out very soon.

The rule changes include;

Input from a Medical Observer

This rule was proposed in 2015 as an experiment, it however received several positive remarks. It will therefore be implemented as a rule this year. This rule allows a medical observer to request the instant replay official to interrupt the game so that he/she can attend to concussed players who try to keep on playing. This protects the players from getting serious concussions.

Blocking Below the Waist

This rule aims to decrease leg injuries. It states that offensive players starting outside the tackle box and those leaving the tackle box once the ball is snapped should not block below the player’s waist unless the engagement is a head on collision. A player can no longer block other players below the waist until the player with the ball has crossed the line of scrimmage.

Outcome of a Suspended Game

In case a game is suspended for one reason or the other, the home team’s conference has the mandate to determine;

  • The game will be resumed at a later date
  • Declare no contest
  • End the game with a determined final score
  • Declare a forfeit

In case both teams are in different conferences (Neutral) or are from the same conference, the hosting conference will have to decide.

Low Hits on The Passer

This rule also known as the Brady Rule, has been in the NFL for several years and now college football is also adopting it. The rule prohibits defensive players from making forcible contact with the passer at the knee or below. The rule applies even in a wrap-up tackle.

Scrimmage Kick Formation (SKF)

The rules committee deemed it necessary to tighten the requirements of SKF so as to reduce the number of fake field goals and punts. The new rule requires that an SKF must have at least 10 players behind the line of scrimmage and the kicker should be at least seven yards deep. 

Starting The Clock Near The End Of A Half

This rule aims at preventing the leading team from wasting clock time. It gives the referee the authority to start and stop the game clock if he feels that one team is wasting time especially towards the end of a half. The rule also requires that the clock should be started at the snap if the leading team is committing a penalty. 

Sliding Ball Carrier To Be a Defenseless Player

The Committee has added a ball carrier sliding feet first to the list of defenseless players.

Tripping The Ball Carrier

Tripping is already illegal for players without the ball. However, tripping is now completely banned and any attempt to trip an opponent will lead to a penalty. 


Targeting aims to ensure that severe penalty such as ejection is only given if appropriate and also increase player safety. It allows the Instant Replay officer to call a foul that the on-field officers missed. 

Use of Technology For Coaching

Coaches will now be allowed to use videos and computers in the locker rooms and press box. The implementation of this rule will however take place in 2017 to ensure that all the schools are ready.

TV Access Inside Limit Lines

TV partners will be allowed to bring hand held cameras inside the limit lines during certain periods of dead balls. 

Unsportsmanlike Conduct by Coach

In basketball, coaches can get technical fouls for unsportsmanlike conduct. In football, the same rule will be implemented and the coach will be ejected if he gets two such fouls in one contest.

Collaboration in Instant Replay

Collaboration in instant replay was approved as an experimental rule by the committee. The replay official will be allowed to confer with observers watching the game from other sites and on televisions. This will allow more calls to be made correctly. The rule will however be reviewed next year.


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