NCAA panel approves recommendation to continue stopping clock for first downs in Division III

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The game clock will continue to stop for first downs in Division III for at least another year after the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Committee approved a recommendation from the Football Rules Committee on Thursday.

The biggest college football rule change for this season in the other divisions will have the game clock continuing to run when a first down is gained except in the last two minutes of either half. Previously, the clock stopped when a first down was gained and restarted on the referee’s signal.

National supervisor of officials Steve Shaw said Division III administrators and coaches want to see how the new rule affects games in the upper divisions.

Keeping the clock running will take an estimated seven to eight plays out of games and, thus, reduce the number of times players are exposed to potential injury. Division III coaches and administrators who opposed the rule said they were satisfied with the current number of plays in their game.

There were an average of 172 plays per game in Division III last season compared with 178 in the Football Bowl Subdivision.


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