NCAA shelves slowdown rule

football_icon_greenBy Parrish Alford

Daily Journal

OXFORD – The NCAA football rules committee has applied the brakes to a proposed rule change that would have limited tempo offenses.

The playing rules oversight panel was scheduled today to consider a proposal that would require the offensive team to wait until 29 seconds remain on the 40-second play clock to snap the football and begin the play.

However, from a Wednesday teleconference the rules committee elected not to send the proposal forward.

Proponents of the change said it would make the game safer for defensive players who don’t have time to substitute as “tempo offenses” increase the pace.

No data supporting that theory has been reported.

Had the oversight panel voted in favor of the proposal, the rule would have been effective for the 2014 season. It’s possible the topic will be revisited another year.

Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze had been in meetings, and when he went back to his upstairs office he noticed several text messages telling him of the committee’s decision.

“I started getting a few text from some of my buddies. Then I looked on Twitter, of course, which is the gospel,” Freeze said after Wednesday’s practice. “The right thing to do is what they did. If it’s really important to get it changed, let’s have some great dialogue that involves the entire membership.”

Prior to the start of spring drills on Tuesday, Freeze spoke about the time he and other like-minded coaches had spent to have their opinions heard.

“We’ve worked extremely hard, those of us who are in opposition to that rule passing, at making our voice known, documenting our feelings and sending them to every committee member that we can,” said Freeze said. He is 15-11 with two bowl wins while rebuilding the Rebels with the tempo approach.

Freeze named a handful of SEC coaches who he said worked together to present the tempo point of view they say was omitted before the rules committee announced the proposal on Feb. 12.

He listed SEC coaches Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M, Gus Malzahn of Auburn, Butch Jones of Tennessee and Steve Spurrier of South Carolina.

“We routinely had a group of us calling the rules committee pretty regularly to stress our opinion of where this was headed,” Freeze said.

parrish.alford@journalinc.com