NCAA Press Release Archive

« back to archive | Back to

NCAA News Release

NCAA Football Rules Committee Votes To Restore Plays While Attempting To Maintain Shorter Overall Game Time

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Ty Halpin
Associate Director for Playing Rules Administration

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico --The NCAA Football Rules Committee proposed several rules items intended to restore the number of plays while limiting the amount of elapsed time needed to play a college contest. The committee voted to eliminate provisions used last year that helped shave 14 minutes off of game times. All rules proposals will be considered by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel March 12 before taking effect.

“The changes we made last year, overall, did not have a positive effect on college football at all levels,” said Michael Clark, chair of the committee and head coach at Bridgewater (Virginia) College. “Our charge is to protect the game and do what is best for college football. Last year’s game lost too many plays, but it accomplished the need to shorten the overall time it takes to play a game. The changes we have made for 2007 balance both of these issues.”

In Rule 3-2-5-e, the committee altered its rule to have the clock start on the snap after a change in possession, as opposed to the 2006 rule which started the clock when the referee signaled the ball ready for play. Also, the committee returned its rules on free kicks to 2005 standards, starting the clock on kickoffs only when the ball is legally touched in the field of play.

After approving these proposals, the committee addressed reducing some of the dead time in the game with the intent to have overall game times in 2007 comparable to those in 2006. The group approved the following items to address this issue:

Action Taken

Elapsed Time Eliminated

Playing Time Impact

Limit the play clock to 15 seconds following a television timeout.

Three minutes (about 20 timeouts per game and about 10 seconds per timeout).

No effect on playing time.

Kickoffs moved from 35-yard line to 30-yard line.

One minute (Average of 11 kickoffs per game; more kickoffs will be returned.)

No effect on playing time.

Reduced charged team timeouts by 30 seconds.

3-6 minutes, depending on how many timeouts are taken in a game.

No effect on playing time.

Penalties for all kicking team fouls that occur during the kick can be enforced at the end of the run.

About two minutes per game.

No effect on playing time.

Encourage coaches, officials, game management personnel, media partners to manage the game in a more efficient manner.

Variable, but would reduce total elapsed time.

No effect on playing time.

Play clock is started when the ball is handed to the kicker by the umpire on all free kicks.

About two minutes per game (about 10 seconds per kickoff with 11 kickoffs per game).

No effect on playing time.

Limit instant replay reviews to two minutes to decide to overturn or confirm the ruling on the field.

Caps the review time to eliminate lengthy delays.

No effect on playing time.


11-14 minutes.

No effect on playing time.

The committee briefly considered moving to a federated process for its rules, as the changes made last year primarily affected Division I institutions.

“Separating our rules by division is not something the committee is in favor of pursing,” Clark said. “NCAA football includes all the divisions and we have always had tremendous cooperation at all levels. This will continue.”

In other news, starting in 2008 the committee approved a 40-second/25-second play clock combination. The committee, reviewing strong support for a 40-second/25-second play from coaches, officials and administrators, approved this move to achieve a more uniform pace of play.


© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy