Every year the NCAA makes new rule proposals sometime in the spring. And every year, we dedicate a post discussing our thoughts on those rule changes. This year, they released the proposed changes a few times this spring. Catch up on the changes, and then see below for our thoughts. Share your own opinions in the comments section.
Unlimited Official Visits
What was said: Starting in August, there will no longer be a limit to the number of official visits recruits can take.
What we think: This means players visit as many schools as they are interested in, or at least as many schools that are willing to host them. Will this be helpful to mid-major schools like those in the Mountain West? It remains to be seen and could go either way.
If a MWC is just outside a player’s top 5 and they can now take more visits, it’s easy to see how those schools could benefit. Over the years, recruits are more likely to commit to a school they have visited, and if they are visiting MWC schools, the odds of picking that school increases.
On the other hand, it costs money for the athletic department to host official visitors and is likely a fixed cost for mid-major schools. Will MWC schools be able to afford to pay for additional visitors? And if blue-blood schools are, will they be swaying the types of players the Mountain West has been able to secure in recent years? Also, if a recruit is trying to visit 10+ schools, will MWC schools be less likely to host them on official visits if the odds of getting them to commit are low?
The jury is still out on this rule change.
The clock runs on first downs.
What was said: Beginning with the 2023 season, college football will adopt NFL rules when it comes to keeping the clock running on first downs. The clock will stop on first downs during the final two minutes of each half.
What we think: This is the big move toward shortening college games, limiting players, and hopefully limiting injuries. It will be interesting to see how many fewer plays on average occur each game. It will be even more interesting to see how many injuries this prevents. There is talk that this change will lead to teams huddling even less and increasing offensive pace even more in an attempt to balance out the clock running more. For teams like Air Force, who excel in controlling the clock already, it won’t be a surprise if they end up holding the ball for three-quarters of a game this season. All in all, it’s not a big deal in the NFL, and it shouldn’t be a big deal in the college game either. At worst, it’s a small victory for the chances of late-night Mountain West games finishing in a shorter amount of time.
No untimed downs after the first and third quarters.
What was said: In another time-saving measure, games will not feature an untimed down on a penalty at the end of the first and third quarters.
What we think: This is a small change that can lead to a small but beneficial change. This doesn’t come up in every game, but when it does, it will shave a few minutes off of a game, accomplishing the goal it was set out to do.
No complaints on this one.
No consecutive timeouts.
What was said: The last of the rules aimed at shortening college football games, this one now prevents time outs taken back-to-back.
What we think: This is otherwise known as icing the kicker. In end-of-game situations when a kicker is asked to make a game-tying or game-winning kick, it is commonplace for the kicking team to call timeout with a few seconds left on the clock while the opposing team will call a timeout (or two) in an attempt to get in the kickers head. That is now no longer an option.
There is also another situation that will also be obsolete. Sometimes one side of the ball will come out of a timeout in a formation, and the other team will then call a timeout so they can alter their play/scheme/formation. Now teams will have to adjust on the fly in those big-game moments.
It will be interesting to see if made field goal percentages go up this year or if icing the kicker was a tactic that didn’t really alter the game. Another easy way to shave minutes off of a game.
Schools paying for more medical treatment.
What was said: The NCAA has increased requirements for DI schools to increase health benefits for college athletes.
What we think: This is a fantastic development. The ruling goes on to say that schools need to assist players with any out-of-pocket costs, not only while they are in the program but also for medical bills after college for injuries connected to their college career. It makes sense that schools assume their part of the risk when it comes to player injuries. Plus, schools need to support the mental health of players, including covering the cost of counseling if they so desire. Anything that benefits the student-athlete is a good thing, at least to some degree. Some of the wording in the official rulings is vague, which sets up loopholes or schools following the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law. Expect this to be the first step in a rule that gets adjusted in the coming years.
Also, there was a rule that did not pass this spring that is worth discussing.
Expanding Coaching Staffs
What was said: The NCAA expands football coaching staffs, allowing “any institutional staff member” to perform coaching duties on practice days. (Again, this did not pass)
What we think: This was a missed opportunity, as the Division I Council voted no on expanding the number of coaches on a staff. Basically, this was going to legalize things that were already happening. Alabama has popularized a practice that most schools, especially big ones, frequently use. Titles such as quality control assistants or analysts mean that personnel can not be on the field during practice and are more behind the scenes. Nor are they able to recruit. In actuality, those staff members play a very active role most of the time, and teams unofficially have large coaching staffs. While athletic budgets of some schools likely played a role, it’s disheartening that things will continue to go unchecked in this area.
Your turn: What are your thoughts on all of the rule changes? What rules do you agree or disagree with? Leave a comment sharing your thoughts.