MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- When it comes right down to it, the proposal moving through the NCAA's football rules machinery right now to slow down offenses is akin to that of the states that have attempted - and sometimes succeeded - in passing voter fraud legislation.
It addresses a problem that doesn't exist in order to serve another agenda.
For those unaware, essentially what is being proposed is to prohibit college football offenses from snapping the ball until at least 10 seconds have elapsed from the 40-second play clock. The stated rationale is one of safety, the notion being that offenses are playing so fast and running so many plays that defenders are worn down and thus more susceptible to injury.
Does it matter that there is no empirical evidence to support that notion? Apparently not.
There is plenty of proof, though, that coaches who have not bought into the faster-is-better approach don't like what they are being forced to deal with. And the 10-second run-off proposal is by far the most compelling evidence that if they can't beat 'em, they won't join 'em. Instead, they'll just attempt to change the rules.
Now just to be clear here, when it comes to football, I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I'd rather see a 17-14 game with great defense than a 45-38 game with none. On the surface that would seem to put me squarely on the side of those attempting to slow the game down.
Except for two things. First, you don't change the rules in order to do it. If someone has figured out a way to gain an advantage within the rules that exist, good for them. Then the onus is on those who are being victimized to counter it. It's no different than what has happened in the game since it began, from countering the T-formation or the wishbone or the West Coast offense. Deal with it.
The second point is the most compelling, though. This rule proposal is not designed to slow down the game and prevent injuries. It's designed to allow defensive coaches to substitute freely.
Hey, if you want to try to change the rules for that purpose, fine. Say that. I don't think you'll have much success because it's an inherent part of the game, that the offense is in complete control of when the play starts. But don't create a problem (injuries because of the fast pace) that doesn't exist in order to circumvent those rules.
That's just cowardly.
If this 10-second rule is adopted, what would change?