CANTON, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference is looking into making games go faster.
Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, speaking at the MAC football preview held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said that the 60 minutes of a college football contest are being spread over a longer period of time.
“We need to make sure we are doing everything possible administratively so that we don’t look to change rules or do anything that alters the fabric of the game,” Steinbrecher said. “Among things you will notice is a greater emphasis in the resumption of play following halftime. We expect the field of play to be ready forthe second half kickoff when the clock reaches zero. …
“And, at a number of our stadiums we will experiment with an in-stadium television time-out clock to help the fans in the stadium know how much time until the ball is put back in play when we go to a media break.”
According to Steinbrecher, last season the average MAC game took 3:25 to play, just above the national average.
The league commissioner said the goal for the coming season is to “quicken” the game to last 3:20.
“We do not want to take plays away from teams,” said Bill Carollo, coordinator of football officials from the collegiate officiating consortium and overseer of Mid-American Conference officials. “But with more passing – more incomplete passing – more plays out of bounds, and more replays were adding to the time of game. And television was adding time to games as well.
“No one notices, but that all adds up.”
Carollo said officials also will look to set the ball and start the play clock more quickly, which also would help shorten the time of games.
“Too many officials were waiting for substitutes would come in and the play was set,” he said. “Now we’re putting the ball down in place right away and get going.”
Pace of play is one of four points of emphasis among officials this season, according to Carollo. Another major one involves player safety; two changes in that area include not allowing players to run from second level and try to block field goals and extra points, and expanding the rules surrounding what constitutes a horse-collar tackle.
The other two points of emphasis are unsportsmanlike conduct for coaches as well as for players, which includes focus on taunting on touchdowns or after big hits.