2021 Rule Changes

Overtime 2-Point Conversion Requirements

Teams will be required to run a 2-point conversion play after a touchdown when a game reaches a second overtime period. Previously, a 2-point attempt was required after the third overtime period. Also, if the game reaches a third overtime, teams will run alternating 2-point plays, instead of starting another drive at the opponent’s 25-yard line. This is a change from the previous rule, which started to use 2-point plays in the fifth overtime period. This rules change is being made to limit the number of plays from scrimmage and bring the game to a quicker conclusion. Teams can still choose whether to kick the point after touchdown or run a 2-point conversion play during the first overtime period.

Team Area

The team area will be permanently extended to the 20-yard lines, starting in the 2021 season. Previously, the team area extended to the 25-yard lines, but this area was expanded to the 15-yard lines last season to create more spacing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unsportsmanlike Tactics

Video board and lighting system operators have been included in those personnel who may not create any distraction that obstructs play.

Feigning injuries

A new framework has been created to allow a school or conference to request a postgame video review about questionable actions through the NCAA secretary-rules editor/national coordinator of officials.

Instant Replay – Clock Adjustments

In order to keep the game moving, when Instant Replay overturns a call on the field, The clock will only be reset when there is less than two minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter and less than five minutes remaining in the 4th quarter.

Points of Emphasis:

  • For the 2021 season, targeting and dangerous contact fouls will continue to be a priority for all officials. The NCAA Football Rules Committee continues to embrace the targeting rule to promote player safety and reduce head contact.

  • It will be a point of emphasis for officials to penalize any taunting action directed toward an opponent. Committee members think these actions reflect poorly on the game and can lead to unnecessary confrontations.

  • Officials are directed to be alert to players who are significantly in violation of uniform rules and to send violators out of the game to correct the issue. This will include specifically the pants, jerseys and T-shirts that extend below the torso.

  • Coaches should not enter the field of play or leave the team area to debate officiating decisions. Those who do so will have committed an automatic unsportsmanlike conduct foul.


Feigning Injuries:
Post Game Video Review
Remedy ?….let me guess…
Yellow Card ?

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Step one before either a 5 yard delay or 15 yard unsportsmanlike with 10 sec runoff

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I know, but how seldom is this called ? Not very often. I am all for player’s safety, but this “new rule” doesn’t show me any new teeth…

This sounds a lot like the completely pointless $5,000 flop fine for NBA players. If there are no teeth to faking injuries, it will keep happening. I think the booth should automatically review these “injuries” while the player is being attended to on the field. If it’s determined it was a faked injury, it’s a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty and the injury-faking player has to sit out for the remainder of the drive.

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“Horns Down”

I’ve always said the best way to remedy these is to have a rule that if the game is stopped due to “injury” the player that has been attended to can’t come back into the game until the next of that possession.
This both protects players and discourages faking. It’s just a great rule.


I can get behind that. At a minimum they can’t come back in until change of possession.

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Don’t care for the overtime rules. If a third overtime period is reached, I don’t want the conclusion rushed. At that point, I’m very intrigued and vested and would love to see the drama play out further. I would suggest to eliminate the overtime commercial periods. TV should have no say-so in how the overtime is run.

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After I saw the exhaustion of LSU and Aggies players, the refs too. I’m all for shortening it

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I might not make it the full possession. What if it’s a long drive of 10+ plays and the injury was a legit cramp/stinger only requiring a couple plays off? What if the drive goes through a quarter ending break or time out?

Maybe make it something like 4 plays off that could be shortened if you call a timeout or there’s a quarter break before 4 plays. That probably makes it too complex, but it would be more fair. End of drive may be too complex also.

A legit injury requiring a stoppage could happen on the 1st play of a drive and if the drive is 10+ plays over several minutes, the entire drive seems excessive.

OTOH a fake injury is unlikely to happen in the 1st couple of plays. It is likely to happen midway or late in a drive where there would be fewer than 4 plays left.

If it’s a legit injury sitting out is safer for the player.

Define “legit injury.” If its a cramp that requires 2 minutes of stretching, is it unsafe to come back after 4 plays? 8 plays with a timeout and quarter change? A cramp is not an injury. There is no lasting damage.

Dehydration plays a role in cramping and takes longer than two minutes to fix. Your objection about a possible (and rare) ten-play drive is moot. Now, having a change of quarters could be in the rule. One could include that if there is a change of quarters during the possession they can then enter the game.