New 'strike zone' rule will apply in ACC

The SEC on Wednesday announced its intent to enforce a "strike zone" rule designed to protect passing players from dangerous hits, and the ACC will adopt the rule this fall, too, according to ACC coordinator of officials Doug Rhoads.

Rhoads said the rule was passed by the NCAA rules committee and will apply to all conferences throughout the country, adding that it was "on the radar for the past few years." He called it "a good player safety initiative" that the ACC endorsed.

"The new NCAA rule on low hits to the passer is something NFL has had for years," Rhoads wrote in an email. "The details are identical -- no defensive player can 'forcibly' hit a passer below the knees if the passer is 1) in a passing posture -- not a runner -- and 2) has one or both feet on the ground. The defensive player is not charged with a foul if he merely tackles and wraps up low -- or is blocked into the passer."

Rhoads just produced an 11-minute video on the topic that was distributed to all NCAA officials and will be shown to members of the media at the ACC Football Kickoff on Monday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

"The high hit had been in place for several years under targeting a defenseless player -- hence the strike zone is the area in between," Rhoads wrote. "We see very few of these low hits -- but this solidifies the continuing direction of making the playing rules protect players."