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College Football clock will no longer stop after first downs

College Football NCAA clock

(AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)(Roger Steinman

College Football NCAA clock
(AP Photo/Roger Steinman, File)(Roger Steinman | AP)

College Football clock will no longer stop after first downs

The NCAA has approved a significant rule change that will alter the way college football games are played. NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved a rule change on Friday, stating that the clock will continue to run after a first down until the ball is spotted and the officials signal that play can resume.

The only time the clock stops after the first downs will be in the final two minutes of each half. All of Division I and II will continue with these rules, but Division III will not.

Previously, the clock would stop after a first down until the ball was spotted and the officials signaled that play could resume.

What the NCAA is trying to do here is cut down on the number of plays per game, for some reason. Maybe they think that this will help prevent injury. I’m not sure. The only thing that I do know is that nobody asked for this — they’re fixing a problem that doesn’t need to be fixed.

“It’s a minimal change, and I think a good change directionally for the game,” said Steve Shaw,  NCAA secretary rules editor and officials coordinator. “We looked at the number of plays and Division I is averaging about 178, 179 plays per game — all divisions are in the 170s — and you compare that to 151 plays last year per game in the NFL. It’s something we need to look at. It’s a conservative step, and we’ll see what this does for the year.”

At the end of the day, this just seems a little unnecessary. Other things could have been done to reduce injuries. The people don’t want less college football, they want more. Fewer plays mean fewer opportunities for the players to show their skillset.

The NCAA also approved two additional changes on Friday outside of the first down clock — the first being that teams are prohibited from calling consecutive timeouts. The second change pertains to penalties incurred at the end of the first and third quarters, which will now be enforced at the start of the following quarter’s first play.

How will these new rules, especially college football’s new clock rule affect the 2023 season? Hopefully, the rules work so well that no one even notices them.

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