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NCAA to emphasize current illegal man downfield rule, rather than make new one

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Nine new rule changes will take place for 2015. The rule that would have limited the pop pass is not one of them

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The rule proposal that would have changed the NCAA's ineligible receiver downfield rule from 3 yards to the NFL's 1 yard has been postponed by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, the organization announced Thursday. The rule would have likely diminished usage of one of college football's trendiest offensive plays, the pop pass.

For more on the pop pass, read Ian Boyd's excellent essay. In short, it's any play in which the offensive line and quarterback show run before a pass at the last second. Auburn and Kansas State are among the teams most known for using it.

Defensive coaches have complained that the play too often results in a number of linemen blocking well downfield.

The rule will remain 3 yards for the 2015 season, but the NCAA says it will be a "point of emphasis" for coaches and officials. The panel found a majority of coaches supported the rule change. Sixty-five FBS head coaches took part in the survey portion, with 57 percent in favor, says the NCAA.

Some changes did go through for the 2015 season. College football's new rules:

  • Schools or conferences can choose to have an eighth official as a center judge.
  • Players who push or pull opponents off piles will be assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
  • Previously, when a defensive player's helmet came off in the final minute of a half, 10 seconds were run off the play clock was set at 25 seconds. Now, the play clock will be set to 40 seconds.
  • Initial sideline warnings will be given to personnel who move outside of the designated bench area.
  • Equipment issues (examples given are jerseys tucked under the shoulder pads or exposed back pads) will cause a player to leave the field for at least one play until it is resolved, unless the player's team calls a timeout.
  • On onside kicks, instant replay will now be allowed to view if a player on the kicking team blocks a player on the receiving team before the ball traveled 10 yards.
  • Unless both teams agree to a shorter time, 22 minutes will be provided for pregame warm-ups.
  • Previously, the play clock was reset if it ran to 20 seconds before the ball was ready for play. Now, it will reset at 25.
  • "Non-standard/overbuilt" facemasks are no longer allowed.