NCAA makes 0 an eligible number, other rule tweaks

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The NCAA is making the number 0 an eligible number, among other changes.

The change, approved Monday by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel and announced Tuesday, comes as part of a package of rules changes and tweaks. One of those is that only two players will be allowed to share the same number, and the NCAA is making 0 available to compensate for that change.

In other news, the panel also tweaked its targeting protocol to allow ejected players to remain with their team on the bench rather than forcing ejected players to the locker room. Perhaps sensing outcry from the contingent that would like to see the NCAA adopt a red card/yellow card system, the release restated that the NCAA added a level to its targeting rule last year that requires officials to confirm a targeting foul on review, no longer letting a call “stand.”

The panel also stated that replays should take no longer than two minutes except for in situations that come at the end of a game or are “exceptionally complicated.”

And speaking of end of game or end of half scenarios, the NCAA has changed its timing protocol. In situations where the clock expires at the end of a half but a player was tackled in bounds, replay must now determine there would be at least three seconds on the clock when the official winds the clock. If one or two seconds remain, the half will be ruled over.

Finally, in an effort to reduce pre-game fights the NCAA will now begin officials’ jurisdiction at 90 minutes before kickoff, an increase from 60. The NCAA will also require a coach to be present if players are on the field in pre-game, and all players that step on the field must be identifiable by number.