There have historically been a number of different rules that differentiate college football from the NFL.
That includes regulations governing a catch (college players only need to keep one foot in bounds as opposed to two) and those concerning when a play is whistled dead (NFL players can continue advancing if they fall to the turf without any contact, which isn’t the case in college).
There’s also a very notable difference when it comes to how the clock operates, as NFL teams have to be a bit more cognizant of time management compared to the college squads that can take advantage of the clock temporarily stopping in the wake of a first down.
Earlier this year, the NCAA announced it was taking a second look at that particular policy in an attempt to shorten the average length of games by floating a rule that would eliminate the first down clock stoppage that’s been in effect since 1968.
According to CBS Sports, the governing body’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel is poised to officially approve that proposed measure at the DI and DII levels ahead of the upcoming season, although it will reportedly still be in effect in the last two minutes of both halves.
An NCAA representative said the new rule will likely reduce the number of plays in an average game by seven, but based on the initial reactions, there are plenty of college football fans who aren’t thrilled to hear about the impending change.
Did anyone ask for this change? Seems like the college game was fine with the first down time clock rules. https://t.co/QgQ4jYosCS
— Gifdsports (@gifdsports) April 21, 2023
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) April 21, 2023
Idiotic change from @NCAA. Clock stopping at first down is not the problem with the length of games. It's all the TV timeouts to make sure we get all of those commercials in… https://t.co/fldKezx0WK
— Adam Drake (@TheAdamDrake) April 21, 2023
The NCAA’s commitment to stripping CFB of all the things that make it unique and more fun than the NFL is baffling. They’re taking the most perfect league ever founded and ruining it year by year. I’m still going to watch 300+ games every year but man, this is getting tough. https://t.co/bUK1xDrZTe
— Derek Rotter (@DRotter_) April 21, 2023
This does seem like one of those cases where people are instinctively reacting to a new rule on principle more than anything else, although it does seem like it has the potential to take some drama out of the sport in situations where teams who are attempting to mount a comeback will no longer be able to take advantage of the clock stoppage.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.