For Tennessee fans still stinging from the Vols’ double-overtime loss to North Carolina in the Music City Bowl, it’s probably too little too late.
The NCAA rules committee, though, appears motivated to make a permanent change just months after the chaotic and controversial final seconds of regulation in UT’s 30-27 loss.
Among numerous recommendations developed at this week’s meetings in Indianapolis, the committee proposed the implementation of a 10-second runoff rule if a team commits a foul that stops the clock in the final minute of both halves. Already enforced in the NFL but for the final two minutes of both halves, the rule would prevent teams from purposely committing penalties as a means to stop the clock in the game’s waning moments.
According to an NCAA press release, the opponent will have three options if the penalty is committed against it. It can take the yardage and the 10-second rundown; neglect the yardage and accept the 10-second rundown; or it can decline both.
“The idea is to prevent a team from gaining an advantage by committing a foul to stop the clock,” said Rogers Redding, who was recently named college football’s national officiating coordinator after serving for years as the SEC’s coordinator of football officials. Redding also is the secretary-rules editor for the NCAA’s football rules committee.
If it were already in place for the 2010 season, the rule, which has been enforced in the NFL for years, would have prevented the Vols from leaving LP Field with a season-ending loss.
Out of timeouts and trailing by a field goal, Tar Heels quarterback T.J. Yates ignored a flurry of his teammates as they streamed on and off the field and spiked the ball with one second remaining. Because there were at least 12 players on the field during Yates’ spike, UNC was penalized 5 yards for illegal substitution, but it did not signal the end of the game.
Whether the Tar Heels should have been flagged for illegal substitution or illegal participation, a 15-yard penalty that is enforced when the extra players are not attempting to leave the field during the play, was a hot source of debate in the days and weeks following the controversial ending.
After the field was cleared of players who thought the game was over, UNC kicker Casey Barth nailed a 39-yard field goal to send it into overtime. Barth’s 23-yard field goal in the second overtime served as the official ending to a wild night in Nashville.
All rules recommendations must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will meet on a conference call April 14. Beforehand, the proposals will be sent to the NCAA membership for comment.
Andrew Gribble covers Tennessee football and recruiting. He may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble/