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New NCAA rule allows replay officials to call targeting from upstairs

William Mancebo/Getty Images

The NCAA Football Rules Oversight Panel took on targeting penalties when it approved a new rule aimed at regulating launching, helmet-to-helmet tackles. It'll go into effect for 2016.

According to this new rule, instant replay officials have more responsibility for player safety, including the ability to stop play and call a targeting penalty that the referee on the field may have missed. This official would also inspect every angle of an on-field targeting call to ensure that the foul was properly enforced.

The panel "agreed to allow the instant replay official to stop the game and create a targeting foul in situations where an egregious action occurred and was missed by on-field officials. Instant replay officials also are required to review all aspects of targeting fouls called by an on-field official."

The additional attention to detail could help prevent players who made clean hits from being ejected from the game due to an incorrect call on the field.

"The targeting rule is serving the game well, and has enhanced player safety," said Bob Nielson, chair of the NCAA Football Rules Committee. "Because this is such a severe penalty, we are instructing replay officials to review plays to ensure that the required elements of targeting exist. We are also adding the ability for the replay official to stop the game when a potential targeting foul is not detected on the field."