Since 2011, the NFF has partnered with Rogers Redding,the national coordinator of College Football Officiating (CFO), to help generate awareness for the rule changes in college football through a series of regular columns distributed by the NFF. The CFO functions as the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level, and the organization held its annual winter meeting of conference coordinators for football officials in late January for the fifth consecutive year at the NFF headquarters in Irving, Texas.
The NCAA football rules committee recommended a very small number of changes for the 2017 season, and these were approved earlier this year by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP). Because 2017 is the “off year” for changes, the committee was limited to making rules that directly impact the safety of the players. Here are the 2017 major rule changes as summarized by Rogers Redding:
Point of Emphasis – Game Length
In discussing this trend, the rules committee has not settled on an optimum game length. But the general sense is that times as long as three and a half hours would not be good for the game. As the committee seeks ways to deal with this, there is little support for making rules changes that would take plays out of the game. And so it will look for ways to manage the length of the game by addressing how to manage the dead-ball times. Officials are charged with the responsibility of being efficient in handling dead-ball intervals and plays where the game clock stops, such as incomplete passes.
One point of emphasis for the officials this year will be to have better control of the length of halftime. By rule the halftime is 20 minutes, but there are often some delays in starting the countdown. Also, current rules allow the schools to mutually agree that the halftime will be longer than 20 minutes. One small but perhaps significant editorial change for 2017 is this: the teams will be allowed to agree on a shorter halftime, but they may not make it longer than 20 minutes. And the referees are being instructed to start the 20-minute halftime countdown as soon as the first half ends, per the language of the rule. The hope is that these steps will halt the trend for longer game times.
About College Football Officiating, LLC
College Football Officiating (CFO) was formed in 2008 by the NCAA and the Collegiate Commissioners’ Association for the purpose of ensuring consistent application of NCAA football playing rules and officiating mechanics; establishing a central leader for officiating; enhancing the existing Division I conference officiating programs to ensure officials and conferences adhere to NCAA and CCA rules and policies; and positioning the officiating community for the future in an attempt to present players, coaches and fans with the best experience possible. For more on the CFO, go to https://cfo.arbitersports.com.
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