Pac-12, Sun Belt commissioners want clock to run after first downs

Monday February 9th, 2015

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and Sun Belt commissioner Karl Benson both say they would like the NCAA to change its timing rules so that the clock keeps running after a first down. 

Though no changes to the rule are expected to be made at this week's rules committee meetings, Scott and Benson both told they supported the idea as a way to shorten the length of games. 

Currently, the clock stops after a first down until the chain crew moves the down markers into the correct position. The NFL has no such rule. 

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"You'll always get traditionalists who won't change it," Scott said. "I don't find it concerning or daunting that there are some that would oppose it. I think the job for commissioners is to take a step back and look at it holistically. The health and welfare of student-athletes is first and fans are a close second in terms of keeping games appealing. Three-and-a-half hours, to me, is too long."

FBS games averaged 3:23 last season, according to, a six-second increase over the previous year. 

Benson cited concerns that long games may prevent fans from buying tickets. "I think our fans are expecting shorter games, and I think when you see attendance is down, we need to address it," he said.

The last major change to the NCAA's timing rules came in 2008, when the rules were changed so that the 40-second play clock started to run as soon as the previous play was whistled dead.

- Dan Gartland

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