NCAA Set To Approve Major Change To First Down Rule And Many Fans Aren’t Thrilled

First down marker sign in a college football game

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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.

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.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.