Apr 6, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; NCAA president Mark Emmert speaks at a press conference before the national championship game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Connecticut Huskies at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

College Football: NCAA passes new rule protecting passers


INDIANAPOLIS – The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a new football rule Wednesday to protect passers from low contact at or below the knee.

The rule goes into effect for the 2014 season and when it is called on the field, it will result in a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty, according to the panel.

The rule specifically covers a scenario in which a quarterback is in a passing posture with one or both feet on the ground. In that situation, no defensive player rushing unabated can hit him forcibly at or below the knee. The defensive player also may not initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the quarterback in the knee area or below.

Exceptions for these types of hits occur when:

- the passer becomes a runner, either inside or outside the tackle box;

- the defender grabs or wraps the passer in an attempt to make a conventional tackle;

- the defender is not rushing unabated or is blocked or fouled into the passer.

The rule is necessary with the amount of leg injuries the NFL has dealt with in the past year. Opposed to head injuries, leg injuries having taken precedence.

It may seem like over enforcement but it’s the only way to begin emphasizing proper tackling techniques at the lower levels of football.

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