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NCAA rules committee to look at changing rules regarding low blocks

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The NCAA’s Football Rules Committee is going to discuss tweaking the rule regarding blocks below the waist.

Players can currently make a low block on an opponent (who isn’t being blocked by another player at the same time) except during turnover returns and kicking plays. A possible rule change set to be discussed this offseason would prevent players from making low blocks more than 10 yards down the field.

“The rules that deal with blocking below the waist are difficult to coach and officiate,” SEC officiating head Steve Shaw said in an NCAA statement. “The difficulty is balancing style of play concerns and player safety to create rules that are not too complicated to understand and that are good for the game.”

The 10-yard rule would add some interpretation complications, of course. It’s easy to envision an officiating crew being stringent on the rule — if it becomes one — and flagging players for a low block 11 yards down the field while another crew lets blocks just outside of the 10-yard rule slide.

And officials would also have to do some quick math to make sure a block is more than 10 yards down the field before flagging a potential foul. Officials have enough to monitor as is. Maybe there’s a happy medium that can be figured out?

The committee will also discuss possible legislation of blindside blocks. A player can be flagged for targeting if he’s deemed to make a blindside block (or any type of hit) with forcible contact to the head or neck area of an opponent.

Targeting fouls increased in 2017, though that’s possibly because of a rule that allows video replay officials to review any and all potential targeting fouls on a given play regardless of whether they were flagged in real-time or not.

“We will thoroughly review all aspects of the rules, including targeting,” Shaw said. “The targeting rule has changed player behavior and has made a positive impact on the game. In all areas, the committee continues to investigate ways to improve our rules for student-athlete safety and fairness of play.”

Rules proposals will be discussed in Indianapolis at the committee’s meetings this upcoming week.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.