While it comes a couple of months too late for the Tennessee Volunteers, the NCAA Football Rules Committee announced today that they have recommended, among other rule changes, a 10-second runoff at the end of both halves.
At the end of regulation of the December Music City Bowl, Tennessee was leading North Carolina when the Tar Heels committed a penalty with one second left in regulation. That penalty actually benefited the confused Tar Heels immensely as it allowed them to get their field-goal unit on the field for the game-tying field goal attempt, which they made. The Tar Heels ultimately won in the bowl game in double overtime.
If the proposed “Dooley Rule” had been in place, the Vols would’ve had the option to run the final second off the clock and end the game.
Under the proposed rule, which still must be approved by the NCAA’s rules oversight panel in April before being implemented, a team would be given the option in the final minute of each half to have 10 seconds run off the clock if the opposing team commits a penalty. The team could also accept the penalty yardage and decline the 10-second runoff in order to preserve time, or decline both the yardage and runoff. Regardless, the clock, provided time still remains, would be started once the ball is marked for play.
“The idea is to prevent a team from gaining an advantage by committing a foul to stop the clock,” said Rogers Redding, college football’s national coordinator of officials.
Other proposed rule changes and/or reminders include:
— Players on the line of scrimmage within seven yards of the center are still allowed to block below the waist anywhere on the field, but blocking below the waist will now be illegal except on scrimmage plays in the following instances:
- Wide receivers more than seven yards from the center at the snap of the ball can block below the waist only against a player facing him or toward the nearest sideline.
- Running backs/receivers in the backfield and outside the tackle box (the area five yards on either side of the center) or players in motion can block below the waist only on players facing them or toward the nearest sideline.
Redding hailed the new below-the-waist blocking rule as a significant step in enhancing player safety.
“This is a significant change because now the default philosophy is that blocking below the waist is illegal except under these circumstances,” said Rogers Redding, who is the secretary-rules editor of the committee. “Before, the philosophy was that blocking below the waist was legal, but there was an extensive list of times when you couldn’t do it.”
— Making it a five-yard penalty for three defensive players to line up shoulder-to-shoulder-to-shoulder over a single offensive player on field goal and extra point attempts. Again, the overriding factor in this proposed rule change is player safety.
— Conferences will be encouraged to experiment with having the umpire, who currently stands behind the defensive line, line up in the backfield during spring practices and spring games to collect feedback on whether it helps umpires be in a better position to call the game. As noted in the NCAA’s release, the National Football League moved the umpire into the offensive backfield in 2010, with the exception of the last five minutes of the first half and last two minutes of the second half.
— During several games in 2010, an inordinate number of helmets became detached from the heads they are charged with protecting. After considering a rule change that would’ve forced a player whose helmet had come off to exit the game for one play, the NCAA has instead decided to make equipment a point of emphasis for coaches and officials in 2011. This will include ensuring that players have all four points of the chin strap buckled and making sure all players are wearing a mouthpiece and other required equipment. Data on free-flying helmets will be gathered in 2011 and the helmet “issue” could receive further consideration depending on the numbers.
— The NCAA sent out a reminder that the new rule for dealing with unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will go into effect in 2011. From the release:
The committee also reiterated a rule change made last year but not effective until the 2011 season when unsportsmanlike conduct penalties will be treated as either live-ball or dead-ball fouls. Previously, all fouls of this kind were treated as dead-ball fouls.
The change means, for example, that if a player makes a taunting gesture to an opponent on the way to scoring a touchdown, the flag would nullify the score and penalize the offending team 15 yards from the spot of the foul.
More than anything else, this rule change will keep coaches awake at night because you just know that this will come up and bite some school in a game of monumental importance. You know it’s going to happen..
— Also going into effect this year is a rule that allows video monitors in the coaches’ booth for the purpose of determining whether a team should request an instant-replay challenge. Only a live broadcast of the game will be allowed (no DVRs, please). If monitors are installed, the home team must provide the same equipment in both coaching booths.
— And finally, the “Oregon Rule” was discussed but no rule change to feigning injuries was implemented. Yet.
Committee members discussed the possibility that teams may be feigning injuries as a tactic to gain an advantage during the game. For example, there is a concern that teams may use this to slow down a team that is running a no-huddle offense.
The committee noted that the Football Code under the coaching ethics portion of the NCAA Football Rules Book prohibits the faking of injuries. This is also a concern of the American Football Coaches Association as being an unethical practice.