NCAA Proposes New Football Rule Changes

The NCAA Football Rules Committee announced several changes on Wednesday in an effort to speed up the game and cut out rough play.

The biggest change will be the implementation of a 40-second play clock that is similar to the one used in the NFL. The 40-second clock will start immediately after the end of each play. Under the old rules, the 25-second play clock did not start until after the ball was marked ready for play by the officials.

A number of college coaches have said they wanted the 40-second play clock because officials from league to league varied on the amount of time it took to mark the ball ready for play.

Two years ago the NCAA made a series of rules changes to shorten the game but they were universally criticized by coaches and fans for eliminating too many plays. Last season the old rules were reinstated. These rules, officials hope, will pick up the pace of games.

In other rules changes announced Wednesday:

• After a player runs out of bounds and the ball is made ready to play, the game clock will start. Under the old rules the game clock would not start until the ball was snapped. This new rule will not apply in the last two minutes of the first half and the last two minutes of the game.

• There will no longer be sideline warnings for players and coaches who crowd onto the field during the game. The official may assess a 5-yard penalty without a warning for the infraction.

• The incidental 5-yard facemask penalty has been eliminated. The only facemask penalties that will be called will be for 15 yards.

• If a kickoff goes out of bounds, the receiving team will have the option of taking the ball on its own 40-yard line. The previous rule gave the receiving team the ball on the 35-yard line.

• A coach will get an extra instant replay challenge if his first one is correct. Under the old rule the coach had one challenge whether he was right or wrong. Under the new rule the coach will get one extra challenge if his first is upheld.

The proposals put forth by the committee during meetings this week now go to the NCAA membership for comment. They must be reviewed and approved by an oversight panel before they can go into effect.

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