The NCAA will be debuting their College Football Playoff system this season with much to the acclaim of those who expostulated the original BCS format. Many changes has been seen to college football as it continues to move towards a rules and regulation standardization that mirrors an NFL style of game play.
The Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved several new rules that have been implemented by the NFL, the most recent change being a penalty for a hit to the quarterback by a defender that is at or below the knee. The 15-yard penalty can also be issued if the defender lunges or rolls on to the QB’s knee.
The NFL adopted the same rule back in 2009 after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was hit low in a game the season prior. The hit resulted in a torn ACL to the system quarterback and was out for the remainder of the year. While the team did have a ten win season without Brady, NFL commissioner Roger Goddell still felt a rule change was necessary for the protection of the player. The NCAA will be seeing the new rule implemented this season five years after the NFL put it in effect.
Support for the ruling has been very heavy from all part of the college football world. The commissioners of all ten Division 1-A conferences support the ruling, stating that the health and safety of the players are a high priority for everyone involved in student athletics. College head coaches have recently filled out an anonymous survey, with an overwhelming number supporting the new rule. While the ruling has been made to limit injuries and would greatly benefit the longevity career and post career of student-athletes, many fault the rules committee for the lax nature of placing the new rule in motion. The Northwestern student-athlete union formation might have lite a fire under the NCAA to pass many more safety policies seeing as how long-term health care and benefits long after football are what the players are seeking.
The College Football Playoff is set to showcase the top four college teams in the nation next year with expected high viewership with evidence shown by last season’s BCS Bowl Week. While the National Championship Game had one of the third lowest ratings in its history, other BCS bowl games saw double digit increases in ratings. This is thought to be because of the teams playing in those games were believed to be more deserving to have an opportunity in the NCG by fans and many members of the media.
While the NCAA might be traveling uncharted waters with the new rule changes and policies, with the NFL already finding success with similar regulations, it is not far-fetched to believe the it will find equal results. It is also not far-fetch to see the NCAA as a glorified minor leagues program for the NFL. The unique appeal of college football might be fading, however the talent and love for the game can still be seen on Saturdays from the players and coaches who live for the game.
Commentary by Hector Carrion