News Article: NCAA rules committee exploring changes to limit faked injuries in college football

The Ols

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Agree, if a player "goes down" on the field, requiring play to be stopped then the player has to sit out the remainder of that series. That would promote safety and have teams think twice about "faking" an injury to stop play. If a player is able to get off the field on his own, then he can return to play in the same series.
Now Gus /Lane will start subbing in walk-ons but they’ll fall down on the way in to play…never play a down…time stops, walk-on sits…🤷🏻
 
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Bamabuzzard

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I think the more controlled pace of play implemented by the NFL would take care of a lot of this issue. Helping a team run a particular style offense isn't one of the referees' jobs. I remember Gus Bus jumping up and down, having meltdowns on the sidelines screaming at the refs because they aren't sprinting after every play to get the ball set so they can run their offense fast. That doesn't happen in the NFL because the pace of play is more controlled, and as it should be.
 

IndyBison

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That’s why the pace is slower, nfl referees dictate the pace by ensuring the officials are in place to make proper calls. College officials let head coaches dictate to them. You have those clowns on the sidelines running up and down the field flailing their arms to go faster and the referees succumb to that pressure.

All it would take to stop the fake injuries is to call offensive penalties as they should be called.
That may be your perception but the reality is both NFL and NCAA ball is ready for play about the same time. In many cases it's ready faster in the NFL because they have better ball personnel and are more efficient in getting the ball in and placed. And almost always the crew is ready for the next play before the offense. The main exception is if the offense has a sub which causes the C/U to stay over the ball allowing the defense to match up.

The coaches have no impact on the pace. They will tell you that as well because they wish they had that ability.
 

AlexanderFan

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That may be your perception but the reality is both NFL and NCAA ball is ready for play about the same time. In many cases it's ready faster in the NFL because they have better ball personnel and are more efficient in getting the ball in and placed. And almost always the crew is ready for the next play before the offense. The main exception is if the offense has a sub which causes the C/U to stay over the ball allowing the defense to match up.

The coaches have no impact on the pace. They will tell you that as well because they wish they had that ability.
You live on another planet if you don’t think these coaches screaming at these officials doesn’t impact the pace of play. It’s only gotten slightly better, but at the beginning of this circus you had teams running fresh receivers on at the line while the defense was trying to get back and the officials letting them snap the ball. There have only been slight improvements in the official’s performance.
 
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IndyBison

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You live on another planet if you don’t think these coaches screaming at these officials doesn’t impact the pace of play. It’s only gotten slightly better, but at the beginning of this circus you had teams running fresh receivers on at the line while the defense was trying to get back and the officials letting them snap the ball. There have only been slight improvements in the official’s performance.
I am a 12-year veteran college football official so I feel fairly confident in what I'm sharing. Ball mechanics and a consistent pace are a big part of what we talk about at meetings, clinics, and pre-game discussions. It's a big part of how a crew is evaluated and something fans rarely notice unless it's bad. The coaches have no impact on how quickly we move. If anything the more they yell the slower we'll move, but in reality we ignore those kinds of comments.

There may be some additional hustle at the end of a half to get a ball spotted but that would be it. The end of the 49ers/Cowboys playoff game would be a good example. The umpire definitely hustled a little more than if there was 12 minutes left in the 1st quarter. The offense also wouldn't be in as big of a hurry at that point either and likely not in his way.

If the offense subs we will hold up the offense until the defense has a chance to react. If they do react with subs we allow them to complete the sub within reason (there has been a tendency for the defenses to sub VERY slowly walking on and off the field...similar issue to faking injuries). As for any defenders getting back to their side of the ball, that's on them.
 

Padreruf

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I am a 12-year veteran college football official so I feel fairly confident in what I'm sharing. Ball mechanics and a consistent pace are a big part of what we talk about at meetings, clinics, and pre-game discussions. It's a big part of how a crew is evaluated and something fans rarely notice unless it's bad. The coaches have no impact on how quickly we move. If anything the more they yell the slower we'll move, but in reality we ignore those kinds of comments.

There may be some additional hustle at the end of a half to get a ball spotted but that would be it. The end of the 49ers/Cowboys playoff game would be a good example. The umpire definitely hustled a little more than if there was 12 minutes left in the 1st quarter. The offense also wouldn't be in as big of a hurry at that point either and likely not in his way.

If the offense subs we will hold up the offense until the defense has a chance to react. If they do react with subs we allow them to complete the sub within reason (there has been a tendency for the defenses to sub VERY slowly walking on and off the field...similar issue to faking injuries). As for any defenders getting back to their side of the ball, that's on them.
I wondered where you've been lately...missed your fine input.
 

CB4

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I am a 12-year veteran college football official so I feel fairly confident in what I'm sharing. Ball mechanics and a consistent pace are a big part of what we talk about at meetings, clinics, and pre-game discussions. It's a big part of how a crew is evaluated and something fans rarely notice unless it's bad. The coaches have no impact on how quickly we move. If anything the more they yell the slower we'll move, but in reality we ignore those kinds of comments.

There may be some additional hustle at the end of a half to get a ball spotted but that would be it. The end of the 49ers/Cowboys playoff game would be a good example. The umpire definitely hustled a little more than if there was 12 minutes left in the 1st quarter. The offense also wouldn't be in as big of a hurry at that point either and likely not in his way.

If the offense subs we will hold up the offense until the defense has a chance to react. If they do react with subs we allow them to complete the sub within reason (there has been a tendency for the defenses to sub VERY slowly walking on and off the field...similar issue to faking injuries). As for any defenders getting back to their side of the ball, that's on them.
Back to my point of the difference in “pace” in the college game being factor of number of plays. What @crimsonaudio was getting at about “NFL not being able to go fast” is based on clock stoppage differences and it’s impact on number of plays. I watched with intent last night the differences in game clock after a first down (seconds run off between play end and ball was marked ready for play). Depending of the length of the play, anywhere for 8-12 seconds burned ON THE GAME CLOCK. In the college game, the clock would be dead.

So how many plays did each team run? Bengals ran 61 plays. The Rams ran 66 An average of 63.5. This is just about average for the NFL. And the Rams did go “up tempo” for a couple a plays. This would rank about 120 among 130 division division one college teams. Wake Forest at the top averaged OVER 80 plays a game. Alabama, primarily a no huddle team (but in most cases not a “hurry up team” ) averaged 78 plays. Those 10-15 play differences are an additional 1-3 possessions a defense must play. No one is faking injuries on offense. The defenses are gassed at the end of half or the end of the game due to those extra plays.

Fake injuries in college football are just as much product of number of plays as it is the pace of play. If you played the college game under the same clock stoppage rules as the NFL, the number of offensive plays would decrease significantly, probably to the extent that even the fastest uptempo “hurry up” teams like Wake Forest, Ole MIss, Mississippi State etc, are averaging 65-70 plays per game. And IMO the number of fake injuries would drop significantly. It wouldn’t stop it completely, but certainly should impact it.

The question becomes “Does the NCAA want to give some of the game back to the defense?” In essence, going to the NFL clock rules would do some of that. Almost every significant rule change in the college game and the “interpretation” of those rule changes in the last 30 years have been to the benefit of the offense, primarily because “more scoring is more exciting , leading to greater viewership”. So, in a roundabout way, the “fake injury” problem is one of their own creation.
 
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CB4

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I am a 12-year veteran college football official so I feel fairly confident in what I'm sharing. Ball mechanics and a consistent pace are a big part of what we talk about at meetings, clinics, and pre-game discussions. It's a big part of how a crew is evaluated and something fans rarely notice unless it's bad. The coaches have no impact on how quickly we move. If anything the more they yell the slower we'll move, but in reality we ignore those kinds of comments.

There may be some additional hustle at the end of a half to get a ball spotted but that would be it. The end of the 49ers/Cowboys playoff game would be a good example. The umpire definitely hustled a little more than if there was 12 minutes left in the 1st quarter. The offense also wouldn't be in as big of a hurry at that point either and likely not in his way.

If the offense subs we will hold up the offense until the defense has a chance to react. If they do react with subs we allow them to complete the sub within reason (there has been a tendency for the defenses to sub VERY slowly walking on and off the field...similar issue to faking injuries). As for any defenders getting back to their side of the ball, that's on them.
Aren’t you contradicting yourself somewhat with this statement? You just said that “coaches don’t dictate your “pace”” then you assert you do “hustle a little more” at the end of a half. In essence, isn’t that allowing a team (“the coach”) to dictate your “pace”? Time is time, regardless of whether it is in the middle of the first quarter or the end of a half. If you’re more “deliberate” in the first quarter, shouldn’t it remain consistent throughout?

This is exactly how some of these teams “steal” extra plays at the end of the first half or the end of a game. And this is how you have officiating crews in the same conference, in very similar scenarios, make contradicting rulings at the end of a half or end of a game.
 

IndyBison

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Aren’t you contradicting yourself somewhat with this statement? You just said that “coaches don’t dictate your “pace”” then you assert you do “hustle a little more” at the end of a half. In essence, isn’t that allowing a team (“the coach”) to dictate your “pace”? Time is time, regardless of whether it is in the middle of the first quarter or the end of a half. If you’re more “deliberate” in the first quarter, shouldn’t it remain consistent throughout?

This is exactly how some of these teams “steal” extra plays at the end of the first half or the end of a game. And this is how you have officiating crews in the same conference, in very similar scenarios, make contradicting rulings at the end of a half or end of a game.
We aren't hustling a little more at the end of a half because a coach is asking us. We are going a little faster because everyone treats the clock with more urgency at that point. If 2 extra seconds run off a clock after a play midway through the 1st quarter nobody says boo. If that happens at the end of a half everyone notices. A coach will often tell us in pre-game they like to go fast, but we tell them we'll use a consistent pace throughout the game and have the ball ready for play 8-12 seconds after the dead ball and no more than 15 seconds. Very rarely outside of the end of half situation is the offense ready before we are. Even a HUNH is usually not snapping it before 25 seconds left on the play clock. No huddle is often as much about preventing the defense from subbing because you have to be ready right away even if they don't snap it right away.

Pay close attention the next time you watch an NCAA game. Most of the time on first downs in bounds (different than NFL) or runners OOB (similar in NFL) the game clock will start 4-6 seconds after it stopped so it's not frozen for 8-12 seconds outside of the last 2 minutes of a half. I would guess a bigger impact to the number of plays is teams in the NFL tend to use more of the play clock than NCAA. That's hypothetical and anecdotal. Snapping at 25 seconds on the play clock would only burn 9-11 seconds during the dead ball period while an NFL team often snapping at 5 seconds burns and additional 20 seconds during the dead ball period. This difference doesn't happen on every dead ball though, only after first downs in bounds.

So I agree with you the number of plays in a game are likely more in NCAA than NFL (never seen actual numbers but your numbers seem valid) and the timing rules do impact that. But there are no rules that don't allow the NFL to go faster than NCAA. They just choose not to for whatever reason. That is the only point I was trying to make. This discussion started when someone posted something like "NFL doesn't allow the offense to go as fast."
 

CB4

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We aren't hustling a little more at the end of a half because a coach is asking us. We are going a little faster because everyone treats the clock with more urgency at that point. If 2 extra seconds run off a clock after a play midway through the 1st quarter nobody says boo. If that happens at the end of a half everyone notices. A coach will often tell us in pre-game they like to go fast, but we tell them we'll use a consistent pace throughout the game and have the ball ready for play 8-12 seconds after the dead ball and no more than 15 seconds. Very rarely outside of the end of half situation is the offense ready before we are. Even a HUNH is usually not snapping it before 25 seconds left on the play clock. No huddle is often as much about preventing the defense from subbing because you have to be ready right away even if they don't snap it right away.

Pay close attention the next time you watch an NCAA game. Most of the time on first downs in bounds (different than NFL) or runners OOB (similar in NFL) the game clock will start 4-6 seconds after it stopped so it's not frozen for 8-12 seconds outside of the last 2 minutes of a half. I would guess a bigger impact to the number of plays is teams in the NFL tend to use more of the play clock than NCAA. That's hypothetical and anecdotal. Snapping at 25 seconds on the play clock would only burn 9-11 seconds during the dead ball period while an NFL team often snapping at 5 seconds burns and additional 20 seconds during the dead ball period. This difference doesn't happen on every dead ball though, only after first downs in bounds.

So I agree with you the number of plays in a game are likely more in NCAA than NFL (never seen actual numbers but your numbers seem valid) and the timing rules do impact that. But there are no rules that don't allow the NFL to go faster than NCAA. They just choose not to for whatever reason. That is the only point I was trying to make. This discussion started when someone posted something like "NFL doesn't allow the offense to go as fast."
1) If you are changing the speed at which you and the crew move/spot the ball, you are indeed allowing the offense to dictate your pace. And by the way, you are an official. You are not there for the approval/edification of the crowd or the coaches. If you are consistent in the urgency in the first and third quarters as you are the last two minutes of a half, it shouldn’t matter to you as an official what is said or who says it.

2) I’ve probably watched more football in my life than you could imagine. And have several members of my direct family that have played division one football. I understand what you are saying. Point remains THERE IS clock stoppages in the college game that do not exist in the NFL that extend the game and allow more plays.

3) This isn’t likely- this is fact. Google is your friend. Go look it up.
 
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IndyBison

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1) If you are changing the speed at which you and the crew move/spot the ball, you are indeed allowing the offense to dictate your pace. And by the way, you are an official. You are not there for the approval/edification of the crowd or the coaches. If you are consistent in the urgency in the first and third quarters as you are the last two minutes of a half, it shouldn’t matter to you as an official what is said or who says it.

2) I’ve probably watched more football in my life than you could imagine. And have several members of my direct family that have played division one football. I understand what you are saying. Point remains THERE IS clock stoppages in the college game that do not exist in the NFL that extend the game and allow more plays.

3) This isn’t likely- this is fact. Google is your friend. Go look it up.
This conversation has evolved into one person saying 1+2 = 3 and the other saying the sky is blue. Both are true but they are different topics. And now the end of half mechanics are a different topic. On your point #3 above I have no reason to doubt your facts so no need to look them up. Those numbers sound logical.

The offense is not dictating the pace we work. We are impacting the pace they are allowed to work. Most of the time we are ready before the offense even in a HUNH. We want to avoid impacting the game in a negative way and everyone (players, coaches, fans, media) treats the clock differently at different points in a game. That is a fact of how the game is designed and has nothing to do with us. We are directed by leagues and conferences and supervisors to align with the spirit of the game. This isn't something arbitrary officials make up on our own.

The clock rules are different in the last 2 minutes of each half in NCAA. NFL changes them the last 2 minutes of the first half and last 5 minutes of the second half. There is a 10-second subtraction in the last minute of each half that doesn't exist during the rest of the game. Why is that? Because the game is different during those periods of time. That impacts our mechanics.

Substitution rules also vary slightly at the end of a half. At any point, if the offense substitutes the defense is allowed time to match up. You'll see the referee give the umpire or center judge what we call the "iron cross" signal indicating the offense has subbed. We hold up the snap until he drop drops his arms. This includes punt and FG attempts. But at the end of a half say after a run ends in bounds at the B10 and the clock is running with 13 seconds left and the offense decides to bring their FG unit on the field, the defense needs to anticipate that is a likely decision and be prepared to sub as well. Thus we are instructed to place the ball and step away. We don't make up that mechanic. That comes from the NCAA. If we didn't do that the offense would likely not have any chance to attempt the FG because the clock would expire during the defensive substitution. They don't want the game impacted in that way so we are told to treat it differently.
 

CB4

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From an article in 2016 after Kelly’s uptempo offense met it’s demise in 2015. Quoting a couple of guys that have “watched football closely” and, btw, won a few games.

“At least for a season, the story was much the same in the NFL, and Kelly’s methods quickly garnered the NFL’s attention. “They go really fast and try to wear the defense down or force [a] communication issue on defense so … even if you’re aligned right, if you’re not able to get your assignments done quickly [and if] there’s space in there, somebody gets free,” New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Kelly’s offense in December. “The speed that they go at, it’s hard to get much communication in. It forces you to kind of simplify things defensively.”

And it worked for Kelly with Philadelphia until:


“But another element is that while the no-huddle works in the NFL — and Kelly’s 2013 opponents were largely unprepared for Kelly’s pace — it’s not as effective as it is in college football for a very simple reason: The NFL doesn’t permit teams to ever reach the warp speeds Kelly’s Oregon teams typically operated at. While NFL coaches aren’t permitted to openly critique officials or league policy, it’s well understood in coaching circles.

“In the NFL, what they did is the officials stand over the ball until the officials are ready to call the game,” Alabama head coach (and Kelly friend) Nick Saban explained in 2014. “The coach at Philadelphia ran 83 plays a game at Oregon, and runs 65 a game in Philadelphia. … When they went to Philadelphia in the NFL and they were going so fast, the officials said, ‘We control the pace of the game.’ The league said, ‘The officials control the pace of the game, not a coach.’”

Hmmm I guess the original poster was right. They aren’t allowed to go fast in the NFL.

And funny, Nick Saban thought at the time that “coaches dictated pace” in the college game. But then again, what does he know?

The bottom line is this. Coaches in the college game DO influence the speed at which officials operated. And more frequent stoppages of the GAME CLOCK in the college game in combination with this allow for more snaps. NFL teams simply AREN’T allowed to go at the high speed pace of Oklahoma, Wake Forest, and Ole Miss because the league (written or unwritten) mandates that to it’s officials.


 
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Bamabuzzard

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Anybody who can fog a mirror knows the refs in college do not even come close to controlling the pace of play like the refs in the NFL do. I've watched it, others have watched it, coaches (i.e. Nick Saban) have watched it AND commented on it. So, anyone who says otherwise is intentionally trying to be argumentative for the sake of arguing.


From an article in 2016 after Kelly’s uptempo offense met it’s demise in 2015. Quoting a couple of guys that have “watched football closely” and, btw, won a few games.

“At least for a season, the story was much the same in the NFL, and Kelly’s methods quickly garnered the NFL’s attention. “They go really fast and try to wear the defense down or force [a] communication issue on defense so … even if you’re aligned right, if you’re not able to get your assignments done quickly [and if] there’s space in there, somebody gets free,” New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Kelly’s offense in December. “The speed that they go at, it’s hard to get much communication in. It forces you to kind of simplify things defensively.”

And it worked for Kelly with Philadelphia until:


“But another element is that while the no-huddle works in the NFL — and Kelly’s 2013 opponents were largely unprepared for Kelly’s pace — it’s not as effective as it is in college football for a very simple reason: The NFL doesn’t permit teams to ever reach the warp speeds Kelly’s Oregon teams typically operated at. While NFL coaches aren’t permitted to openly critique officials or league policy, it’s well understood in coaching circles.

“In the NFL, what they did is the officials stand over the ball until the officials are ready to call the game,” Alabama head coach (and Kelly friend) Nick Saban explained in 2014. “The coach at Philadelphia ran 83 plays a game at Oregon, and runs 65 a game in Philadelphia. … When they went to Philadelphia in the NFL and they were going so fast, the officials said, ‘We control the pace of the game.’ The league said, ‘The officials control the pace of the game, not a coach.’”

Hmmm I guess the original poster was right. They aren’t allowed to go fast in the NFL.

And funny, Nick Saban thought at the time that “coaches dictated pace”. But then again, what does he know?



 
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IndyBison

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NCAA Football Rules committee meets next week. A survey was sent to coaches, administrators, and officials today asking for feedback. This usually gives you an idea of some of the key things they are going to discuss. There were two questions related to the fake injury issue. One points to a topic discussed here:

In an effort to limit feigning injuries, the committee should consider a longer time period for injured players to leave the game before a return is allowed, with an option to use a timeout to allow the player to return to the game after one play.

This doesn't say if they are considering a number of plays, the remainder of a series, or remainder of a period, but it does allow a team to buy a player back in with a time out. There would be a challenge for the officials to monitor/track the number of downs, but we would figure out something.

The other one is a more creative idea. One of the causes for teams faking injuries is their players are getting winded and if the offense doesn't sub the defense has to keep the same 11 players on the field. This would address that by allowing the defense to sub any time the offense gets a first down.

In an effort to limit feigning injuries, the committee should consider guaranteeing both teams a brief substitution opportunity when a first down is awarded.

Do you feel this would be sufficient to prevent/reduce fake injuries? It would allow the defense to get fresh bodies out there if the offense is in hurry up.
 
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CB4

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I really don’t see how a review of suspect plays by conference officials afterwards helps. To me this is more “kicking the can down the road”.

So what if you come back and retroactively fine, suspended, or discipline a school or coach or staff? The game is OVER. The results are FINAL. You don’t think there are coaches/schools that would gladly take the risk a fine or disciplinary action In order to get an “edge” in winning? To them it is just a cost of doing business.

Action needs to be taken DURING the game to address it, not afterwards.
 

AlexanderFan

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Could always just have the defensive linemen torpedo offensive linemen’s knees every play. They would be slower to the line or injured. Either way is a win.
 

PA Tide Fan

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“It is very difficult to legislate ethics, particularly when an injury timeout is being used to gain an advantage,” rules committee chair and Stanford coach David Shaw said. “The small number of teams that seem to use these tactics should be addressed directly.”

I'd have to disagree with Shaw that only a small number of teams are doing it, since it can be spotted by fans every Saturday if they watch games all day long. It's also interesting that a guy like Shaw tries to address this issue since he himself has been accused of having players fake injuries. When Sark was HC at Washington he accused Stanford players of faking and also Oregon accused Stanford of faking when they had their HUNH offense under Chip Kelly.
 

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