ACC Kickoff: Rules changes coming in 2016


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Targeting calls from the replay booth and tweaks to rules regarding timeouts will be among the changes coming to ACC officiating in 2016.

On Thursday, ACC Coordinator of Football Officiating Dennis Hennigan discussed those changes at the ACC Kickoff. The new rules include:

  • Sliding ball-carriers, including non-quarterbacks, will be considered defenseless players, and any forcible contact to the head or neck area will result in a targeting flag. In addition, the play will be considered dead when the ball-carrier starts the slide, and the ball will be spotted where he began the slide.
  • Tripping the ball-carrier is now illegal.
  • While low hits to the passer (at or below the knee) were already illegal, players will now also be flagged for wrapping up passer at or below the knee.
  • ”Crackback” blocks are now prohibited.
  • Replay officials can now call targeting from the booth in instances where the targeting is “egregious.” Hennigan showed two examples of targeting from last season that he considered egregious:

  • Two unsportsmanlike fouls on a coach will result in the ejection of that coach.
  • Coaches will now have the option of choosing between 30-second timeouts and full timeouts.
  • A team that is ahead cannot benefit from committing a foul in the last two minutes. In those final two minutes, if a team that is leading commits a foul, its opponent will have the option to call for the clock to stop until the next snap.
  • As previously announced, the league will use collaborative instant replay as a one-year experiment. Replay officials on-site will communicate with officials in Greensboro on every replay.