Author Topic: Starting the Game Clock after first down inbounds  (Read 578 times)

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Offline ElvisLives

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Starting the Game Clock after first down inbounds
« on: November 11, 2022, 03:28:44 PM »
TASO has issued a video regarding starting the game clock after a first down inbounds.
Bottom line: UIL games are NOT directed by what we see on TV for NCAA games. TASO officials are to start the game clock by rule, which requires the ball to be on the ground at the succeeding spot, and the spotting official has stepped away to an officiating position.

This is in contrast to what NCAA officials have been directed. In the interest of controlling total game time to fit within blocks of time established by TV broadcasters, NCAA officials have been directed to start the game clock very quickly after the clock has been stopped on first downs (and after a BC or ball has gone OB outside of 2 minutes in the half, which does not apply to UIL football). As noted by TASO, very frequently NCAA referees can be seen starting the clock well before the spotting official has placed the ball on the ground, much less stepped away. In many instances, the R can be seen starting the clock almost instantly after the covering officials have stopped the clock for the first down. Indeed, in a video example from a high-profile NCAA game, the R can be seen starting the clock as the U is about 1/2 way between the numbers and the hash mark, moving toward the succeeding spot at the hash mark. There were 5 seconds on the game clock when the R started the clock. By the time the U could get to the succeeding spot, move players away to be able to spot the ball at the succeeding spot, and then get the ball down on the succeeding spot, the game clock expired, preventing any opportunity for Team A to attempt to 'spike' the ball to get the clock stopped, to get their FG team on the field. Steve Shaw acknowledged that NCAA officials have been directed to start the game clock quickly after first downs/out of bounds, during non-time critical situations, but the game clock should not have been started until the ball had been spotted, in this instance.
TASO officials have virtually no TV to be concerned about. Even State Championship games are not dictated by TV wishes, in this respect. TASO officials should start the game clock by rule, in the vast majority of instances. As the TASO narrator suggests, when a game is out of hand in terms of competitiveness (i.e., a blowout), no one is going to get upset if we start the game clock as the U is bending down to spot the ball (rather than waiting until he has spotted it and is moving away). But, under no circumstances should we be stopping and winding, essentially, in the same motion. If a game is remotely competitive, keep everything by rule. When the U sets the ball down and is backing away to his position, wind 'er up. But not earlier.
Do work in replacement balls expediently, and Do encourage your Umpires to show hustle in moving to the succeeding spot and getting the ball spotted quickly, because, in cases of a first down inbounds, the play clock will be running, and Team A has a legitimate expectation to be able to snap the ball quickly, if they are not in the process of substitution.

Remember. These are not OUR games. They aren't the coaches' games. They aren't the fan's games. They are the player's games. Don't steal their time.