Gus Malzahn wants everyone to hold their horses for a darn minute and have the NCAA table the now infamous 10-second proposal until 2015, which would give folks on both sides of the debate time to prepare arguments and gather data before voting.
It’s a non-rule change year in the NCAA, which means the only proposals that can be made for the 2014 season must relate to safety concerns.
“Once again, I don’t think we need to lose sight of the fact that the only way you can change a rule is the health and safety of our players,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “And it’s got to be documented, and there’s got to be proof. And there’s not.”
Malzahn has reached out to the chairman of the committee, Air Force coach Troy Calhoun, “numerous times” since Thursday to share his side of the argument.
Numerous makes sense here, because Calhoun’s done a complete 180 since the proposal was passed by his committee.
“This rules change is being made to enhance student-athlete safety by guaranteeing a small window for both teams to substitute,” Air Force coach and NCAA Football Rules Committee chair Troy Calhoun said in the announcement of the 10-second defensive substitution rule proposed by the committee. “As the average number of plays per game has increased, this issue has been discussed with greater frequency by the committee in recent years and we felt like it was time to act in the interests of protecting our student-athletes.”
That was February 12. Six days later, Calhoun spoke to the media about the firestorm of controversy surrounding the proposal — and sounded much less sure that it was “time to act,” saying more “empirical” data was needed before the Playing Rules Oversight Commission approved his committee’s recommendation.
“I think the only way it can or it should become a rule is if indeed it is a safety concern,” Calhoun said, per Yahoo Sports. “And that can’t be something that is a speculation or a possibility. I think there’s got to be something empirical there, where you realize, yes, this truly is a health matter in the terms of not being able to get a defensive player off the field.”
Yea, verily, and all that. Wasn’t there data about injuries the committee reviewed when it made the initial call?
National coordinator of officiating Rogers Redding told CBSSports.com last week that there was not yet any “hard data” to support the 10-second proposal, and Calhoun acknowledged that neither he nor the committee had yet seen any kind of medical study supporting the slow-down before recommending the rule be put into place.
“But if there is something that surfaces where there is legitimate concern here,” Calhoun said, according to the Associated Press, “now you’re talking about some responsibility that’s involved.”
Nevermind, I guess. But what about the findings of Dr. Nick Saban? Are they to be so easily dismissed?
Asked whether Nick Saban — a public proponent of legislation allowing defenses to substitute who was reportedly present at the comittee’s meeting — had undue influence over its decision, Calhoun said “that’s a separate conversation and “moved on to another topic,” in the AP’s words.
The next time he’s asked, Calhoun will probably deny that he’s even heard of Nick Saban.
The NCAA ought to agree to Malzahn’s suggestion strictly in the hope that some passage of time will make people forget how much of a turd Calhoun’s committee laid with this vote. Hey, given its track record, it’s not like in time something new won’t turn up to distract us.