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NCAA withdraws controversial '10-second' rule proposal

Hurry-up, no-huddle offenses like Auburn will continue to be able to snap the ball as quickly as they want. Fast-paced offenses like Auburn will continue to be able to snap the ball as quickly as they want. (Bill Nichols/AP)

The NCAA Football Rules Committee has withdrawn a controversial "10-second" proposal, the NCAA officially announced on Thursday.

ESPN's Brett McMurphy first reported the news on Wednesday, followed by USA Today's George Schroeder.

In a statement on Thursday, the NCAA said it decided to table the proposal thanks to a significant amount of feedback.

After receiving feedback from head coaches and the medical community during the comment period that took place over the past four weeks, committee members decided to pull the proposal from the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel’s agenda. The panel will meet Thursday via conference call.

Rogers Redding, NCAA coordinator of football officials, said the debate over the proposal was helpful in determining the appropriateness of the rule.

“As members of the committee and the NCAA, our rules process allows for a healthy and spirited debate,” Redding said. “Today is an example of the process working. The members of the committee used their judgment in the best interest of college football and more importantly what is best for the safety of our student-athletes.”

According to Schroeder, the committee announced on a Wednesday conference call that the proposal would not be sent to the Playing Rules Oversight Panel. That panel was slated to consider the rule change, among others, for the coming season on Thursday.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee announced last month that it had proposed a rule change to allow time for defensive substitutions within the first 10 seconds of the regular 40-second play clock, regardless of whether or not the offense substitutes. Offenses would not be allowed to snap the ball until at least the 29-second mark of the play clock under this proposal, which would effectively halt up-tempo offenses.

Several coaches expressed outrage over the proposed rule, including a few to SI.com's Stewart Mandel. Others like Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema went on the record to defend the proposal, citing player safety concerns. But no data currently exists linking fast-paced offenses to increased player injury. The NCAA said it received 324 comments about the proposed rule, with 74 percent of comments in opposition of the rule, 16 percent in favor and six percent uncertain.

The NCAA Football Rules Committee also announced a unanimously recommended penalty for below-the-knee hits on quarterbacks. Defenders would be handed a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty for low hits on a passer, though the penalty would not apply if the passer became a runner during a play.

The proposed rules change specifically covers a scenario in which a quarterback is in a passing posture with one or both feet on the ground. In that situation, no defensive player rushing unabated can hit him forcibly at or below the knee. The defensive player also may not initiate a roll or lunge and forcibly hit the quarterback in the knee area or below.

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