College football’s up-tempo offenses emerged unscathed Wednesday from a recent attempt to curb them.
The NCAA Football Rules Committee withdrew its proposal to force offenses to wait 10 seconds before snapping the ball, except in the final two minutes of each half and when the play clock begins at 25 seconds.
The 12-member rules committee decided to table the proposal after a teleconference Wednesday, according to a USA Today report. The decision comes one day before the proposed rule change was scheduled to go before the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) for final approval.
The proposal faced heavy opposition among most NCAA Division I head coaches. An ESPN.com survey last week found that 73 percent were against the measure.
USA Today reported that the Football Rules Committee received 324 official comments on the proposal through the NCAA’s web site, and that 74 percent of those were against the proposal.
“This was a blowback,” Rogers Redding, the committee’s secretary-rules editor, told USA Today. “Just the number of people that commented told you this was something.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy had each publicly expressed their opposition to the proposal.
This is an off-year for NCAA rule changes, meaning the only way a new rule can be introduced in 2014 is if its intent is based on player safety. The two coaches most vocal in their support of the 10-second proposal were Alabama’s Nick Saban and Arkansas’ Bret Bielema, both of whom have cited safety concerns.
Asked by reporters last month for evidence that up-tempo offenses are unsafe, Bielema responded, “Death certificates,” referring to a California football player who died in a recent offseason workout.
Saban told ESPN.com that his safety concerns are based on common sense.
“The fastball guys say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic,” Saban told the website Tuesday. “What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there’s no study that specifically says that. But logically, we would say, ‘Yeah, there probably is.’”
Several other coaches have suggested the real reason behind the proposal is strategic, and is the result of old-school coaches like Saban being unable or unwilling to adapt to a changing game.
“There’s no statistical evidence whatsoever that shows it's not as safe as those who huddle,” Stoops told The Oklahoman last month. “I believe it is for more strategical purposes than anything.”