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Zips football: NCAA takes steps to protect quarterbacks

By George Thomas Published: April 18, 2014



Akron Zips quarterback Kyle Pohl doesn’t want to play powder puff football – that annual game at many high schools in which girls participated – but another NCAA rules change designed to protect the quarterback will take effect in time for the 2014.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel adopted the change Wednesday.

“The rule specifically covers a scenario in which a quarterback is in a passing posture with one or both feet on the ground. In that situation, no defensive player rushing unabated can hit him forcibly at or below the knee. The defensive player also may not initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the quarterback in the knee area or below,” according to an NCAA news release.

The rule will be enforced when a defensive player is rushing unabated to the quarterback.  Officials will penalize the offending team 15 yards.

There are exceptions:

  • The passer becomes a runner, either inside or outside the tackle box;
  • The defender grabs or wraps the passer in an attempt to make a conventional tackle;
  • The defender is not rushing unabated or is blocked or fouled into the passer.

“You’re taught from a young age to hit low,” Pohl said. “So if you can’t hit high and you can’t hit low…if you’ve got guys thinking about tackling too much and not playing the sport, I think a lot of these rules are going to end up ruining the sport.

Pohl says there are ways to protect his knees.  He said the brace he wears saved him a couple of times last season.  

The NFL adopted a similar measure in 2009 after New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on a hit that meets the NCAA’s criteria. 

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