Some new rule changes in college football intended to shorten games are now official.
Recently, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved three changes that will be implemented at the Division I and Division II levels next fall.
“It’s very good. If you go back, I’ve had quotes saying that should happen 12 to 15 years ago. It’s one we talk about continually. It’s always problematic, the length of the games.” — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on rule changes
For starters, the game clock will no longer be stopped after first downs — unless there are less than two minutes to play in a half. Previously, the clock stopped after each first down at any point during the game.
Next, teams will not be allowed to call consecutive timeouts, such as when teams would attempt to “ice” an opposing kicker.
Third, there will be no untimed downs at the end of the first and third quarters if a penalty takes place on the final play of one of those quarters. Penalties will carry over and be enforced on the first play of the ensuing quarter.
What does Utah coach Kyle Whittingham think about the rule changes?
“It’s very good. If you go back, I’ve had quotes saying that should happen 12 to 15 years ago. It’s one we talk about continually. It’s always problematic, the length of the games,” he said. “We’re talking about how to shorten them. For a lot of years, that’s been the first step and the simplest step to shave off half-a-dozen plays a game and speed it up four to six minutes.”
Whittingham would like to see a couple of other rule changes too, such as the length of halftime.
“I’m also a proponent of shorter halftimes. But I understand the bands and things like that coming into the equation. I think the NFL has it right with 12 minutes because 20 minutes is too long for those guys to sit around,” Whittingham said. “They all get cold and that’s just too long. But if we’re not going to tamper with that — with good reason, for the bands, I suppose — this was the most logical first step in trying to get the game shortened.
“I do believe they should have had the rule implemented throughout the entire game, not just the last two minutes of each half turn it back on. I would have rather seen the first down clock doesn’t stop ever, then you get a two-minute warning, exactly like the NFL, at the end of each half. But they didn’t see it that way.”