The following rule changes were made by the NCAA Football Rules Committee for the 2013 season:
Players who intentionally deliver a blow above the shoulders of a defenseless player (targeting) will now be automatically ejected from the game in addition to the 15-yard penalty assessed. If the ejection occurs in the first half, it is for the remainder of the game. If the ejection occurs in the second half or in overtime, it is for the remainder of the game plus the first half of the next scheduled game. The ejection penalty is eligible for instant replay review to determine if the hit was intentional, however the yardage penalty is not reviewable.
Blocking below the waist is now legal if done from the front side of the defender anywhere on the field, while blocks below the waist delievered from the side or back are fouls, simplifying rule changes from the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
In the final minute of each half, if the clock is stopped solely for an injured player, 10 seconds will be run off the game clock before the ball is put in play to cut down on teams faking injuries to stop the clock.
Establishing three seconds as the minimum time required to be on the game clock to spike the ball to stop the clock. If one or two seconds remain on the game clock, the offense can only run one play.
Permitting the use of electronic equipment (such as wireless headsets) for game officials to communicate with each other.
Two players at the same position on the same team may not wear the same uniform number (example, two quarterbacks on the same team cannot wear #12).
Players that change numbers during a game must report to the referee, who will announce it via wireless microphone.
Instant replay will be permitted to adjust the game clock at the end of each quarter. Previously, instant replay could only adjust the game clock at the end of each half.
Permitting the Big 12 Conference to experiment with an eighth official during conference games, positioned in the offensive backfield opposite the Referee (similar to the positioning of the umpire in the NFL) to assist in detecting infractions (such as holding, chop blocks, blindside hits on the quarterback, etc.) on the offensive line.
A rule that would have required the colors of uniform jerseys and pants to contrast to the field was recommended by the Rules Committee but was denied by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel. This rule was proposed to prevent teams (such as Boise State University) from wearing uniforms that matched the color of their field. Another recommended rule would have switched the side of the field on which the line-to-gain and down markers are displayed in each half but was also denied.
This will also be the first season since its founding that the Western Athletic Conference will not sponsor football, as most of its football-playing members are departing for other conferences, and the 2 staying for 2013-14 will become football independents.
Bill Snyder Family Stadium at Kansas State will be renovated during 2013. The old Dev Nelson press box was imploded in December 2012 and construction of a new West Stadium Center began, expected to finish by the start of the 2013 season.
As in the 2012 season, Massachusetts is playing its entire 2013 home schedule at Gillette Stadium, home to the New England Patriots (NFL) and New England Revolution (MLS). UMass is currently expanding its on-campus home of Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium to a capacity of roughly 25,000, and hopes to return some games to campus in 2014. However, the school is also contractually obligated to play at least four home games at Gillette in each season from 2014 to 2016. Gillette is approximately a 2-hour drive from the UMass campus.