NORMAN — Nick Saban and Bret Bielema are among a very small minority of major college football coaches who favor the proposed 10-second rule, according to an ESPN.com survey.
The survey, conducted anonymously, found that only 25 of the 128 Football Bowl Subdivision head coaches (19.5 percent) support the measure, which would penalize an offense that snaps the ball before 10 seconds have run off the play clock except in the final two minutes of either half.
Ninety-three coaches (73 percent) are against the proposal, and nine coaches (seven percent) said they were undecided.
The NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel will vote March 6 on whether to adopt the proposal, which was approved earlier this month by the Football Rules Committee.
Of the 25 coaches who told ESPN.com they favored the measure, only 11 were from the five power conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC), plus Notre Dame.
Among the coaches who have spoken out publicly against the proposal are Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.
Stoops, in an interview last week with The Oklahoman, said there is no evidence to suggest no-huddle, up-tempo offenses pose any safety risks, a point of emphasis from Bielema and others who support the measure.
College football rule changes are only allowed every other year, and this offseason is one in which rule changes typically aren’t allowed, except when it involves a safety issue. That might help explain why Bielema has insisted the proposal is all about player health, even when virtually no data exists to back up that claim.