The highlight of Big 12 Media Days for many people is always the Tuesday morning kickoff: the annual rule discussion with Big 12 Supervisor of Officials Walt Anderson. Anderson brought his usual highlight reel of bad calls and calls that were right last year but won’t be this year, and the big news is two rule changes, one procedural point of emphasis, and an existing rule which will be enforced more strictly.
Point of Emphasis: The Clock
The first big change Anderson addressed was clock management. The NCAA will be studying the issue this season with an eye toward further changes, but in 2017 we’ll see some tweaks. Officials will wind the clock as the ball is being spotted, not after. We’ll see more impact, however, in the rules regarding stoppages. Halftime will now be limited to 20 minutes, period. No exceptions whatsoever. Media timeouts will be 30 seconds, period; if the network’s not back in time, too bad.
The first of those changes works mostly to K-State’s benefit, at least under the Bill Snyder paradigm, although there’s the notable “can’t get the play in on time” exception we’ll have to keep an eye out for. But overall, that’s an extra second or two per play for Snyder’s troops to run down the clock, and that plays into Bill’s handbook.
The latter changes have no impact on the team, but they will impact you. The halftime limit won’t so much, but it will be interesting to see how well the networks adapt to the officials controlling when play resumes rather than bowing to the network’s desires. We may end up with a lot of plays we’re only seeing on instant replay.
Rule Changes: Leaping and Horse-Collars
There were two major rule changes this year, affecting leaping at the line of scrimmage and horse-collar tackles.
The leaping rule now prohibits defensive players on place-kick attempts who are not lined up on the line of scrimmage from leaping over players who are in an attempt to block the kick. However, players who are lined up on the line may leap through the gap between linemen, and may use their hands to propel themselves. They cannot, however, use their knees or feet to do this.
The horse-collar rule has been changed somewhat as well. Previously, the foul was only called when the collar itself was grabbed by the tackler; going forward, the area between the nameplate and the collar will also be off-limits. The foul may also be called now on a player who grabs the quarterback in the collar area even if the quarterback no longer has the ball.
We’re Not Kidding: Sideline Conduct
One other rule will be more strictly enforced as written: coaches may not enter the field of play to protest to an official. All discussion must take place on the sideline. A violation results in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, and we should note that coaches are subject to the same two-strike penalty as players. Get flagged twice for going out on the field to argue, and a coach will spend the rest of the afternoon in the locker room.