SEC Media Days on Tuesday kicked off with a review of new officiating procedures from SEC director of officials Steve Shaw. Shaw reviewed some changes to several rules that will go into effect this upcoming season.
— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) July 12, 2016
Specifically, the league is changing how it reviews targeting calls and handles replays. Many of the changes are similar to the presentation he made at the spring meetings in Destin a few months ago.
Specifically with targeting calls, the league is endeavoring to make sure it gets things right, giving the replay official the authority to call a targeting foul if it is missed on the field.
Shaw: In-stadium replay official will have authority to call targeting foul if it's missed on the field. "We have to get it right." #SECMD16
— Scott Rabalais (@RabalaisAdv) July 12, 2016
Targeting a key point again this year. Replay official can create a targeting foul. pic.twitter.com/GTu1GvcG4D
— Michael Bonner (@MikeBBonner) July 12, 2016
He also announced the conference would institute collaborative replay. The league announced it would try this during spring meetings too.
In order to gain consistency, the replay official and official on the field will get assistance from an off-site official watching the game in Birmingham. It could end up being very similar to the process MLB and NBA use for their replays.
The hope is having an official off site able to review plays immediately with the replay official at the game while the on-field official is walking to the headset will speed up the game. The average replay last year took about 90 seconds.
Shaw said he does not anticipate reviews taking longer through the collaborative process. It is still an experimental rule, it is unclear how much it will fully take effect.
Shaw: "We can't live with incorrect outcomes." Avg replay stop last yr was 1:21, expectation is no added time through collaborative process.
— Tod Palmer (@todpalmer) July 12, 2016
SEC coordinator of officials explaining a couple new player safety rules pic.twitter.com/HuQUw6JIgm
— SB✯Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) July 12, 2016
The SEC also announced it would have a medical observer at each game, making permanent an experimental rule from last year.
The medical observer will be able to stop play to tend to an injured player and will serve as a backup in observing head and neck injuries.
Experiment is now a rule in SEC when it comes to medical observer for injured players. pic.twitter.com/CRK1tpOggT
— Adam Sparks (@AdamSparks) July 12, 2016
The league also announced some changes to timeout rules (only one timeout is a “full timeout” now per half, the other two will be 30 seconds). It also announced that any sliding ball carrier will be ruled a defenseless player and cannot be tackled. So running backs, for instance, could slide like quarterbacks and receive similar protections.
Many of these rules were proposed and announced at the spring meetings in May. Many are now going to be permanent as the SEC tries to take care of injured players and handle potentially dangerous tackles and speed up the game through instant replay.