Two years ago, when Troy Calhoun took over as chair of the college football rules committee, his wife, Amanda, had one question for him - why would you do that? On Tuesday, as Calhoun faced national media over what has become a firestorm of controversy over the "10-second rule" that his committee has proposed, it was easy to tell he wished he had listened to his wife. The rule would prohibit the offense from snapping the ball until 10 seconds had run off the play clock. The justification for the rule is that it would allow defenses an opportunity to sub for exhausted players, therefore reducing the risk of injuries. Coaches of uptempo offenses have launched into an uproar this week, as the rule has entered the discussion phase before facing a review from the NCAA's playing rules oversight panel on March 6. Though most teams don't snap the ball prior to that 30-second mark, the threat of the snap limits how defenses can prepare - and changing that rule could take away what has become a key strategic component of the game. Calhoun, however, said strategy was not considered as part of the discussion - though in-person testimony from non-committee members like Alabama coach Nick Saban, an outspoken opponent of the hurry-up offenses, has led many coaches to question the sincerity of the proposed rule. No pro-uptempo coaches spoke to the committee and only one trainer, from Army, represented the medical community. "Is there a legitimate safety concern? If not, there should be no rule," Calhoun said. "Let's find something that's definitive in regards to safety and make sure it's not popularity driven or anything like that." Calhoun said other options were considered to address safety for defenses facing hurry-up offenses - including adding timeouts, implementing the rule only on certain downs and adding "substitution timeouts" that would be shorter than typical timeouts and not lengthen games.
Proposed rule change has landed Air Force coach Calhoun in national spotlight
The Gazette | Feb 19