College football teams will be required to attempt 2-point conversions after touchdowns in the second overtime period of games rather than the third, according to a change approved Thursday by the NCAA's playing rules oversight panel.
The NCAA Football Rules Committee last month recommended the change, as part of an effort to limit plays and end games sooner. Teams still will have the option to attempt an extra point or go for two after touchdowns in the first overtime session.
Stanford coach David Shaw, chair of the rules committee, told ESPN in March that the seven-overtime game between Texas A&M and LSU in 2018, which the Aggies won 74-72, prompted discussion to change the overtime rules.
"We had an overtime game against UCLA [in 2020], and [Bruins coach] Chip Kelly went for two after the second overtime, and I didn't blame him one bit," Shaw said of the Cardinal's 48-47 win in two overtimes. "We'd been playing for a lot of plays, and we'd had a couple of injuries on both teams. It was time to say, 'Hey, you know what, we'll either make this and win or not get it and lose and go on.' This is a safety issue, this is a length-of-game issue and a number-of-plays issue."
If a game enters a third overtime session, teams will alternate 2-point conversion attempts until a winner is determined. Previously, teams had started possessions on their opponents' 25-yard line for the first four overtime sessions before going to the alternate 2-point plays in the fifth session.
Other changes approved include permanently extending sideline team areas to the 20-yard lines rather than the 25, and including video board and lighting system operators among those prohibited from creating distractions that obstruct play.
Penalizing taunting will be a point of emphasis for officials during the 2021 season. Coaches who leave the team areas and enter the field to debate officiating calls will receive unsportsmanlike conduct penalties.
The playing rules oversight panel also supported a rules committee proposal that would allow schools or leagues to request postgame reviews about feigning injuries.
ESPN's Mark Schlabach contributed to this report.