Air Force Coach Troy Calhoun, chairman of the NCAA football rules committee, said Tuesday that a controversial rule proposal that could slow down offenses should not be approved unless evidence that up-tempo offenses put players at risk.
The proposal, which would require a 10-second elapse from the play clock before the ball is snapped, brought heavy opposition. Several coaches have said that the proposal was about stategy and not based on health issues.
Calhoun said during a conference call that “if there is nothing that arises that’s firm, there’s no way you want to enact a rule. But if there is something that surfaces where there is a legitimate concern here, now you’re talking about some responsibility that’s involved.”
The furor over the proposal was also based on the testimony of Alabama Coach Nick Saban and Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema, who lobbied the committee for the rule change. Both run traditional offenses. Saban, in particular, has been a critic of up-tempo offenses.
“This is one of the most mind-numbing dumb suggestions that I have ever heard,” Washington State Coach Mike Leach said last week in an interview with WJOX radio of Birmingham, Ala. “What makes this one even more reprehensible is the fact that it is so transparently self-serving.”
Leach, whose team runs a spread offense, also said that “you have to have a reason to invent a rule. Now they’re going to try to hide behind player safety.”
Calhoun said that the committee voted on the proposal without seeing any evidence that supported the player safety claim.
“I’m in favor of trying to get to whatever the true facts are,” Calhoun said.
The proposal will be voted on by the NCAA’s playing rules oversight committee March 6.
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