Originally created 02/16/02

NCAA to allow two-interval play clock in football



INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA will allow the experimental use of a two-interval play clock, possibly as early as this fall, in certain conference football games.

A team would have 45 seconds to snap the ball after the preceding play is whistled dead. However, when the game clock is stopped for reasons such as a first down, ball out of bounds, change of possession or penalty, the team would have 25 seconds to snap the ball after a signal by the referee.

"Coaches are concerned over the difference in the number of seconds it takes to mark the ball ready for play from game to game," said Donnie Duncan, chairman of the NCAA's Football Rules Committee and senior associate commissioner of the Big 12 Conference.

"The two-interval system may be a possible improvement, and this research will provide the committee with valuable information as it decides if the rule should be changed," he said Friday.

The 45-25 play clock would be limited to conference games of those leagues that decide to participate. Data on the length of games, number of plays, number of delay-of-game penalties and other factors related to the play clock will be collected to help the committee decide whether to adopt the new system permanently.

Among other rules changes, the NCAA increased the penalty from 5 yards to 10 yards for interference with a player's opportunity to catch a kick when no contact is involved. The penalty will remain 15 yards when contact is made.

"The committee is intent on providing returners a measure of safety when they are in the vulnerable position of not seeing opponents coming at them while they are looking up for the ball," Duncan said. "Coaches and members of the kicking team must understand the seriousness of violating the two-yard restricted area."

The committee also approved a rule allowing the enforcement of penalty yards for flagrant personal fouls during possession by the defensive team to carry from one overtime period to the next. Previously, the player committing the foul would be disqualified for the rest of the game, but the 15-yard penalty against his team was not assessed.

"The desire is to have all extra-period possessions begin at the 25-yard line, but the committee does not believe the yardage portion of a penalty that involves player disqualification should be disregarded," Duncan said. "This should send a clear message that flagrant fouls will be penalized to the fullest extent allowed by the rules."

Among the other rules approved by the committee were those:

- Prohibiting team personnel from giving media interviews from the start of the first period until the end of the game, except for coaches being interviewed during halftime.

- Requiring all players of a team to wear facemasks of the same color.

- Giving a team that scores a touchdown the option of enforcing penalties for personal fouls by the opponent during the scoring down either on the extra-point try or the succeeding kickoff.