Indianapolis, IN, United States (4E Sports) – Alabama head football coach Nick Saban insisted that the pace of play in college football should get a second look due to player safety as the NCAA playing rules oversight panel schedules a vote on the “10-second rule” Thursday.
“I don’t care about getting blamed for this. That’s part of it,” Saban said. “But I do think that somebody needs to look at this very closely.
“The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there’s no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic. What’s the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20?” Saban added.
The proposed 10-second rule would penalize teams for snapping the ball in the first 10 seconds of the 40-second clock.
Saban, who led the Crimson Tide to three of the last five national championships, earned criticism since it was revealed that he addressed the NCAA football rules committee last month in Indianapolis.
Saban said on record that he doesn’t think football should necessarily be a continuous game. He’d like to see the officials dictate the pace of the game more so than offenses, similar to what happens in the NFL.
According to a survey, only 25 of the nation’s 128 FBS head coaches are in favor of the proposal. Of the 25 in favor, only 11 are coaches at “power five” conference schools (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC, plus Notre Dame).
Of the 128 coaches overall, 73 percent (93) are opposed to the proposal while 19.5 percent (25 coaches) are in favor of it. Seven percent (nine coaches) are undecided.
While many of the coaches have said there’s no evidence that player safety is compromised by speeding up the tempo and generating more plays in the game, at least one noted neurosurgeon expressed concern over the length of the college game now and the number of snaps some teams are playing.
Dr. Julian Bailes, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and co-director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute in Evanston, Illinois, has been around the game for more than 30 years.
“I think it’s not accurate when people say we have to study this because we don’t have any evidence or know anything about it,” Bailes said. “I don’t think that’s true. I think we have some facts and do know something about it.”
“Now, we probably should study it more. But to say we don’t know anything about this is disingenuous and inaccurate,” he added.
Bailes particularly mentioned studies claiming that players are seven times more at risk to be injured in games than in practice.