The rise of up-tempo offenses over the last decade of college football has resulted in a new kind of defense that has no part in the game: faking injuries. When an offense feels like it has a defense on the ropes, a defensive player drops to the ground seemingly out of nowhere forcing a stoppage of the game and a chorus of boos from fans of the offense.
That's going to change in 2020 ... or else.
NCAA coordinator of officials Steve Shaw told ESPN that the coaches, officials and administrators discussed the act of faking injuries during the competition committee's meeting at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis in February. The discussion didn't result in a new rule, but it did result in a stern warning to coaches to ensure that players won't fake as many injuries moving forward.
"We're going to work with all coaches -- and maybe players -- to where they see this video and recognize that we're looking at this very closely," Shaw said. "And our expectation is that in the 2020 season feigning injuries as an issue in our game will go away, with clear expectations that if players and coaches don't take care of it, the rules committee then will have to address it and deal with it in some kind of playing time respect. That's really the only way we think we can get after it."
Any player who is tended to by the medical staff on the field has to sit out one play, according to the current rules. Shaw shed some light on some potential punishments that were discussed by the competition committee.
"Some people said a possession," Steve Shaw said. "Some went as far as a quarter."
If fake injuries don't go down in 2020, officials will have a very difficult task if playing time becomes part of the punishment. How can officials judge a player's health and intention on the fly? That's the $64,000 question. After all, they're not doctors. If a player is forced to sit for a full quarter as a result of faking an injury, that could drastically alter the landscape of a game, conference races and potentially the College Football Playoff race.