The most polarizing proposal in recent college football history was tabled Wednesday, as in shelved, one day before a NCAA rules committee was going to vote on the controversial pace-of-play issue.
The rule would have penalized a team for snapping the ball in the first 10 seconds of the 40 second clock.
The irony is the penalty would have been for delay of game.
There is nothing inherently wrong with studying whether or not up-tempo offenses pose a player safety concern. It makes some sense given hurry-up teams can run 20 to 25 additional plays per game.
“I don’t care about getting blamed for this,” Saban said. “That’s part of it. But I do think that somebody needs to look at this very closely.”
What was wrong was trying to ramrod a ground-breaking rule through a committee before any definitive analysis could be established.
Let me get this straight: They were going to pass this rule and THEN study it?
What was also wrong was having Saban attached as the messenger for the cause, given he is a slow-pace advocate whose last three defeats have come against up-tempo opponents.
Saban claims he had no influence over the proposal other than to be, generally, in favor of it.
He also spoke to the rules committee about his player safety concerns.
Saban’s heart may be in the right place, but, in its present-day context, his coaching brethren simply weren’t buying it.
The proposal, as received by the public, smacked of duplicity and shamelessness.
Many coaches viewed “player safety” as a smokescreen for trying to implement a rule that would hurt schools trying to compete with Alabama, a run-first power program that has won three of the last five national titles.
The proposal would have had more heft backed from a coach who ran a fast-paced offense, or one who at least did not appear to have ulterior motives.
An ESPN survey revealed only 25 out of 128 major college coaches were in favor of proposal.
A simple show of hands at the coaches’ convention could have killed this idea in January.
Coaches trying to compete against Saban had every right to be suspicious of his intentions. How could the proposal backlash have been a surprise?
In the end, only hours before having to vote on the doomed rule, a face-saving idea was hatched: Give the idea more time.
And I’m fine with that.