Stuart Mandel of Sports Illustrated wrapping up his post-mortem of the 10-second snap proposal:
In the meantime, just as the members of a losing election campaign go back and assess what went wrong, the slow-down proponents have a year to learn from their mistakes. This race may be over, but the party lines that emerged aren’t likely to fade unless more defenses finally start solving these offenses on the field.
The most important thing the NCAA has to do is to prevent anyone in football from having the opportunity to run any sort of “campaign” based on player safety again.
It is not hard to turn the tables. Imagine if the proposed rule change outlawed the three-point stance or limited offenses to five down linemen or raised the line to gain to 15 or 20 yards or any number of countless other ideas which would favor hurry-up, spread, or pass-first offenses at the expense of slower, run-first attacks and defenses generally. If the NCAA allows player safety to be decided by political campaigns complete with jokey attack ads, it seems unlikely that any significant change will ever be possible so long as creativity can be cited as a core value of college football and opponents can point to the popularity of the game as a reason to maintain the status quo.
To do this, the NCAA should make two changes to how football’s playing rules are made:
- Any football rule change must be reviewed by the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) who will issue an opinion on the player safety impact.
- During the off-years of football’s two-year rule change cycle, any proposal citing the safety exception to the rule making process must originate from CSMAS before going to the football rules committee and the Playing Rules Oversight Panel.
Under these rules, safety impact would not just be debated amongst football coaches but would also include a group of doctors, trainers, and professors. And given the lack of clear direction from CSMAS that was cited as prompting this proposal, it is unlikely that the 10-second proposal would have seen the light of day this year.