Earlier this week, Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said an NCAA football rules committee proposal that could slow hurry-up offenses “makes absolutely no sense to me.”
Then again, Kingsbury and like-minded coaches won’t have to deal with the proposal unless it passes next month.
“I don’t see that happening,” Kingsbury said Thursday. “I’ve already got a memo from the Big 12 that’s talking about sending a group kind of letter to let them know our feelings on it, as you can imagine in this conference. But I don’t think that (proposed change) is happening.”
The NCAA football rules committee on Wednesday recommended a change that will allow defenses to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the 40-second play clock. An offense that snaps the ball before 29 seconds are left on the play clock would be penalized 5 yards for what would be called delay of game.
The proposal generated immediate backlash from a number of coaches, most of whom run quick-tempo, spread-passing offenses. Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez, Mississippi’s Hugh Freeze, Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and Washington State’s Mike Leach are among those who have spoken out against it.
In a story on the NCAA website, Air Force coach and committee chairman Troy Calhoun said, “This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute. 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 student-athletes.”
Rules changes must be approved by the NCAA playing rules oversight panel, which will discuss the proposals March 6. In the meantime, coaches have time to campaign against it.
“I think they want feedback,” Kingsbury said, regarding the memo from the Big 12. “Any time you get those rules proposals, they want feedback from individual universities and from conferences, and so I think we’re going to let our position be known.”
In the strongest terms possible?
“Yes, yes,” Kingsbury said, smiling. “That would be it.”
The proposal is especially relevant for Tech, which led major-college football with 1,136 plays last season, averaging 87.4 per game.
Under current rules, defenses aren’t guaranteed the chance to substitute unless the offense subs first.
The story on the NCAA website said the committee believes 10 seconds is a fair time to allow defensive substitutions “without inhibiting the ability of an offense to play at a fast pace.”
It says research shows fast-paced, no-huddle offenses rarely snap the ball with more than 30 seconds on the play clock anyway.
Kingsbury rejects the thought that player safety is the crux of the issue.
“Nobody’s shown me any medical, scientific data (supporting that),” he said. “They’re saying it’s for players’ safety. Well, I don’t know how you can justify that without any sort of data to back it up. I’m all for player safety, but this has nothing to do with that.”
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