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NCAA Rules Committee considering changes to speed up the game in 2022

Nikki Chavanelle03/01/22
NCAA Rules Committee considering changes to speed up the game in 2022 clock stoppage incomplete pass first down
Justin Tafoya/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

This week in Indianapolis, the NCAA’s Rules Committee is gathering to discuss proposals for rules changes which would improve the college game moving forward. On the table for discussion are questions like how the committee can limit fake injuries and methods to speed up the game as it evolves.

Steve Shaw, the national coordinator of officials, told the Athletic’s Nicole Auerbach that the committee is considering a change to clock stoppage rules. Currently, an incomplete pass stops the clock. However, given the increase in passing in college (and in the NFL), the clock stoppages are making games longer.

Shaw shared that, moving forward, the committee is considering likening an incomplete pass to a run out of bounds.

“That (rule change) probably would have the biggest impact of anything we could do because there are so many passes now, and, unfortunately in some of these long games, there are a bunch of incomplete passes,” Shaw said. “That could be a way to keep the game moving … and it would still leave the offense in control of not only the tempo but also the clock. If an offense said, hey, I don’t want to lose plays out of this game because they’re going to restart the clock, they can simply get to the line and get there quickly, so when the ball is there you can snap it.”

Another option to speed the game up would be to adjust the clock stoppage following a first down. Shaw noted that he believes the NCAA’s officials are already very vigilant about stopping and starting the clock efficiently.

Committee looking into solutions on fake injuries

Early in the 2021 college football season, the issue of fake injuries became a prominent topic. Now, the NCAA is looking to limit fake injuries moving forward.

Steve Shaw told The Athletic that the issue will be a “big topic” at the NCAA Football Rules Committee’s meeting.

“Obviously, we want to take feigning injuries out of the game,” Shaw said, via The Athletic. “It’s a bad look for the game. It’s an integrity issue. If you have a feigned injury, it garners an unmerited timeout for your team. We’re really looking at: What’s the next step to move away from that?”

Fake injuries began popping up seemingly every week early in the season. Some defenses opted to slow down the clock by any means necessary, fake injuries included.

Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman has been a loud advocate for rule changes. He believes the NCAA needs to take the responsibility of recognizing fakers away from officials.

“I don’t think you can as an official,” Pittman said of whether you can truly tell if a player is flopping or truly hurt. “I think we take that totally off of them.

“Maybe if you see something after a game and you suspend the coach or the player for doing that, then maybe it’ll stop. But right now you’re seeing 20 flops a game. I don’t want to get too deep into it because I don’t know that all of them came back healthy and I’m certainly not a medical doctor, but it has to be addressed.”

On3’s Jonathan Wagner contributed to this report.