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Football Coaches Ask NCAA to Address Fake Injuries

Andy Berg

The American Football Coaches Association has asked the NCAA rules committee to address the problem of players faking injuries during games.

The AFCA Ethics Committee voted in January to address the problem of teams having a player fake an injury instead of taking a timeout.

"Our ethics committee, which suggests rules changes to the NCAA, said by unanimous consent that this has got to stop," AFCA executive director Todd Berry told ESPN. "So they asked the rules committee to do something about it. It's bad for football."

Current rules dictate that any time the clock is stopped for an injury, the injured player must return to the sideline and sit out one snap.

The NCAA debated the issue last year but decided not to impose a rule out of fear that legitimate injuries might end up being penalized as well as fake injuries. Instead, the NCAA said it would notify coaches that the association was prepared to act if it saw egregious use of fake injuries to stop the clock during games. 

"We did not eliminate the feigning injuries," said Steve Shaw, who serves as the secretary-rules editor of the NCAA football rules committee. "Even if you just watched the bowl season, you saw some peculiar actions."

Berry said that while there was a slight decrease in the number of fake injuries, it wasn’t nearly enough.

"It's time," Berry said. "... There needs to be a harsh deterrent."

The NCAA rules committee is expected to meet virtually in early March.

"We'll have heavy debate," Shaw said, "and see where that goes."

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