Where is the Data?

The NCAA Football Rules Committee has proposed prohibiting offenses in football from snapping the ball until the play clock reaches 29 seconds or less.

The Committee cannot submit new rules for even numbered years unless the rule is related to player safety.

The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports asked the sport rules committees review substitution rules in regards to player safety but it does not appear that there has been any research to determine if there is any scientific or statistical data reflecting an increase in injuries in faster paced games. Adopting a "gut feeling" rule with no established basis is a leap from being asked to review current substitution rules.

More troubling is that if the lack of adequate time to substitute is a risk to player safety, the committee is more than willing to risk player safety in the final two minutes of each half when players are the most tired since the rule does not apply in the final two minutes of each half.

The real result of the rule will be more delay of game penalties on offenses trying to snap the ball at the earliest possible instant. You will probably see an increase in offside penalties from defenses more tempted to try to time their rush with snap. There will also likely be an increase in substitution fouls on the defense as coaches lulled by the protection of the ten second run-off try more situational substitutions when the teams are further from the benches. An increase in flags will likely not be a hit with fans.

The NCAA needs to take a breath and do some actual research about player safety rather than just guessing.