Under a new rule proposed by the NCAA, offenses that snap the ball too quickly would be penalized.
In what it says is an attempt to improve the safety of players in this era of Mach speed offenses, the NCAA Football Rules Committee has recommended a rules change that will allow defensive substitutions within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock.
The offense that snaps the ball before the play clock hits 29 seconds would be assessed a 5-yard, delay-of-game penalty.
Last year, Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema argued that rules needed to be changed to improve the safety of defensive players.
“This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute,” said Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, chair of the committee that met for two days this week in Indianapolis. “As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes.”
From the NCAA.org press release on the proposed rule change:
The committee discussed the issue thoroughly before coming to the conclusion that defensive teams should be allowed some period of time to substitute. The committee believes that 10 seconds provides sufficient time for defensive player substitutions without inhibiting the ability of an offense to play at a fast pace. Research indicated that teams with fast-paced, no-huddle offenses rarely snap the ball with 30 seconds or more on the play clock. This rules proposal also aligns with a request from the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports that sport rules committees review substitution rules in regards to player safety.
An exception to the proposed rule would be made during the final two minutes of each half.
The proposals would have to be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will review the proposals March 6. If approved, the rules would be implemented for the 2014 season.
The rules committee has also suggested a relaxation of the targeting rule implemented for the 2013 season. Under the new proposal, if an instant replay official rules that a player’s disqualification should not have occurred because of the targeting rule — and if the targeting foul is not accompanied by another personal foul — the accompanying 15-yard penalty for targeting should not be enforced.
So I hear the football rules committee wants to slow the game down and make you wait ten seconds to snap–and penalty is delay of game!#wow
— Rich Rodriguez (@CoachRodAZ) February 12, 2014
One coach I texted about the proposed 10-second rule replied: "Is that real? I thought it was a joke. No way that passes."
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) February 12, 2014