Pace of play not expected to be college football rules issue

Pace of play not expected to be college football rules issue

Published Feb. 9, 2015 5:25 p.m. ET

The NCAA coordinator of college football officials says he does not expect pace of play to be a major topic when the rules committee meets this week.

Rogers Redding said Monday the use of technology on the sideline will be a focus during committee meetings Tuesday and Wednesday.

Redding said the conversation about pace of play has been ''muted.''

''There hasn't been an awful lot of concern about that this year,'' Redding said. ''We'll probably talk about it in the meeting, but I don't anticipate any changes in the rules as a result of that.''


The NCAA football rules committee does not usual stir up much controversy, but last year it made headlines and talk-radio fodder for weeks with its proposal aimed at slowing down the game and limiting the number of plays for safety reasons.

The committee chaired by Air Force coach Troy Calhoun passed a proposal that would have prohibited offenses from snapping the ball within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock.

Because the proposal was considered a player-safety measure, it was allowed it to be passed during a non-change year for NCAA rules. Many coaches claimed they were caught off guard by the proposal. The pushback was especially strong from those who run hurry up, no-huddle offenses such as Arizona's Rich Rodriguez, Auburn's Gus Malzahn and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin.

Arkansas coach Bret Bielema and Alabama coach Nick Saban were the most notable proponents of trying to come up with a way to cut down on the number of plays being run in games, which has been on the rise as fast-moving offenses have become more common.

All the negative feedback during the comment period led to the proposal being shelved.

Without a rule to tap the brakes on fast-paced offenses, officials took a more organic approach that would not necessarily target certain offenses. Redding said game officials instituted pace of play procedures that were meant to appease the hurry up offenses, while still maintaining order and control of the game.

''The officials were counseled to do a better job of trying to balance it on both sides of the ball,'' Redding said. ''Not artificially hurrying to get the ball in play, but also not artificially slowing it down.''

Officials were instructed to use a brisk jog in between plays and to be sure all officials were in place before the ball was made ready for play.

''There was a sense that the officials are the ones who should be managing pace of play and not either of the teams managing the pace of play,'' Redding said.

Rapid advances in technology are more of a concern this year for the committee, Redding said.

''There may be some conversations around quarterback-to coach headsets like they have in the NFL,'' Redding said.

Also, the use of tablet computers and video on the sidelines will be discussed.

''Technology is advancing so fast, is the game keeping up with that?'' Redding said. ''To what extent should we try to manage that?''

Redding also said eight-person officiating crews, up from seven, will likely be the norm in FBS next season.


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