Rogers Redding, the national coordinator of College Football Officiating, provides insights about rules changes and the mindset of college football referees. The CFO is the national professional organization for all football officials who work games at the collegiate level.

Over the last few years the NCAA football rules committee has created several scenarios where time might be taken off the game clock.  Each of these is a case where the game clock is running and is caused to stop by some action in a circumstance where one team might gain an advantage by deliberately stopping the clock.

The first of these was introduced in 2011.  The rules were changed that year so that if the clock is running inside of one minute in either half and a player commits a foul that causes the clock to stop, the opponent has the option of having 10 seconds taken off.  This is to reduce the potential clock advantage gained by a team deliberately committing a foul to get the clock stopped.  While the clock always is stopped for administration of a penalty, this rule applies to fouls that themselves cause the clock to stop.  A false start is one example.  Intentionally grounding a pass is another.  If the fouling team has a timeout available they can avoid the 10-second runoff by burning the timeout.

In 2012 the committee introduced the rule that a player must leave the game if his helmet comes off, except as the direct result of a foul.   Because this causes the clock to stop at the end of the down, inside one minute of a half this also can lead to a 10-second runoff, at the option of the opponent, as long as there is no other reason for stopping the clock.  Once again, the team can avoid the runoff if they have a timeout available.

Coming into the 2013 season, the committee again has broadened the possibility of the 10-second runoff, this time for an injured player.  If a player is injured within the last minute of a half, and this is the only reason for stopping the clock, the opponent may choose to have 10 seconds subtracted from the game clock.  This too can be avoided if the injured player’s team wants to burn a timeout.