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NCAA to change clock rules again

If you hated the new clock rules that the NCAA implemented for football this past season, then this will warm your heart.

Upon review … college football’s rules-makers found evidence to overturn last season’s controversial efforts to speed up games.

Too many plays and too much on-the-field action were lost. Coaches hated the moves, which quickened clock starts on kickoffs and possession changes. And so the NCAA’s football rules committee shifted direction Wednesday, throwing them out and approving a series of ostensibly more subtle time-saving measures.

One, mirroring the NFL, moves kickoffs from the 35-yard line to the 30 to reduce the number of clock-killing touchbacks. Another limits replay reviews to two minutes.

The moves should save close to the 14 minutes that last year’s changes shaved from the average major-college game time, the NCAA said.

If endorsed by the association’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel next month, they’ll go into effect next season.

“We’re comfortable with the decision we’ve made now,” said Michael Clark, coach at Division III Bridgewater (Va.) College and chairman of the rules committee. “I think we’ve got a balance with the idea that we are attacking dead and elapsed time in a game while securing playing time not just for the players but for the fans.”

The ’06 changes, he said, “overall did not have a positive effect on college football at all levels.”

No kidding. There really was no justification for starting the game clock with the play clock after a change of possession. Among other things, it meant that if you had to go on defense late in a game where you trailed, you needed more than three timeouts to keep time on the clock. That wasn’t right. I’m glad the NCAA was willing to admit the error of their ways and go back to what worked. Thanks to Mac for the heads up.

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