College football looking at rule changes to deter faking injuries

Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
Getty Images

At all levels of football, the officials will stop the game any time a player goes down with an injury, and that player must sit out for one play. And at all levels of football, some coaches and players game the system by having a player pretend to be injured so the officials will stop the clock and give his team time to change their personnel before the next play.

Now there’s growing momentum at the college level for a rules change that would deter faking injuries, perhaps by requiring any player who gets injured to stay out for the rest of the series, and not just for one play.

Todd Berry, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association told ESPN that his group asked the NCAA rules committee to address players faking injuries.

“Our ethics committee, which suggests rules changes to the NCAA, said by unanimous consent that this has got to stop,” Berry said. “So they asked the rules committee to do something about it. It’s bad for football.”

The NFL has occasionally cracked down on players faking injuries. In 2012, Emmanuel Sanders and the Steelers were fined when Sanders blatantly faked an injury to buy the Steelers a timeout. But the officials on the field simply aren’t equipped to determine in the moment whether a player is faking, and so they have no choice but to stop the clock any time a player indicates he needs medical attention. Requiring injured players to sit out for a full series would help to ensure that there’s adequate time for the medical personnel on the sideline to check them, and help to ensure that players aren’t pretending to be hurt just so they can step off the field for a play without costing their teams a timeout.

15 responses to “College football looking at rule changes to deter faking injuries

  1. That would have stopped Albert Haynes worth from pulling that to rest up between plays.

  2. Then smart coaches will just have a sacrificial lamb player go in on the plays when they might need to fake and injury to buy a timeout. Perhaps have a player “pull their quad” running onto the field before the play could work if you didn’t have any players in you could lose.

  3. Great idea. It is tough to prove an injury is fake so having them sit out the series would be more a deterant. It is a starting point. Now to see if the NFL will have the humility (since it isnt their idea) to adapt it as well.

  4. Having to sit out the rest of the series sounds like a good start.

    It might prevent players who are actually injured from rushing back into the game and putting their health in jeopardy too. I feel like if you’re so injured you need to be helped off the field, going back in the game a play later in a little sketchy.

  5. I agree with toothfairie, they’ll just send a scrub in to flop on the next play, not caring that he’ll have to sit out a play, a series, or a game.

  6. Yes, they’ve just added a Lie Detector Polygraph machine to put under that blue tent…

  7. Just ban substitutions altogether. If you can’t play football every down then you shouldn’t be on the field.

  8. And mysterious punters will start coming in to play safety and get injures before the play starts.

  9. I agree with toothfairie, they’ll just send a scrub in to flop on the next play, not caring that he’ll have to sit out a play, a series, or a game.


    Seems kinda counterproductive sending a scrub in to be one of your eleven guys on the field just so you can stop the clock after the aforementioned scrub gives up a big play

  10. Ok, Opponent is marching down the field…I’ll find the third string guard and throw him in for a play and tell him to cramp up as soon as the whistle blows his play dead. What do you do now???

  11. Make them sit out the rest of the series, and you will have players playing through legitimate injuries, which is going to bring a whole different set of issues (especially if the approach was applied to the NFL)

  12. How to stop defenders from flopping:

    1. Make that defender sit out rest of series
    2. Only allow same position player to replace the injured (or “injured”) player: DT must be replaced by DT, not a LB or DB.
    3. Deny defense ability to substitute any other players unless offense substitutes players.
    4. When ball is ready start game clock along with 40 second play clock, even if the clock had stopped due to INC/out of bounds runner/penalty so a defense playing from behind isn’t motivated to flop to save time for their own offense. The offense can snap the ball right away or wait 40 seconds depending on what they want to do.

  13. First, make the injured player sit out the rest of the drive.

    Second, don’t let the defense change personnel during these injuries and if they do charge them a timeout…if they don’t have any timeouts, assess a delay of game penalty.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.