NCAA approves rules changes for football, basketball

INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA will allow a football coach to challenge one ruling by officials per game and have it reviewed by replay, provided his team has an available timeout.

Under a proposal approved Tuesday by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel that goes into effect this season, if a coach's challenge is successful, no timeout will be charged.

"This revised proposal achieves the intended result of the rules committee to incorporate a challenge into the video replay system," panel chairman John Cochrane said.

The NCAA allowed the use of video replays at all schools and conferences last season, and nine of the 11 Division I-A conferences used some form of replay. The revision to include the challenge by coaches was proposed by the Football Rules Committee.

Georgia coach Mark Richt was initially against the change, saying "it's one more thing to worry about." But he also thinks it could come in handy.

"I'm sure there will be a time or two that I'll be glad that it's in place," Richt said Tuesday. "The thing I don't like about it is not really knowing for sure when to throw it. I haven't lived through it. The fans may be booing or a player may be like, 'Throw the flag,' or I might in my heart want to throw the flag. But if I throw it at the wrong time, I lose the possibility of that for the rest of the game. I wish I had a good way of knowing when I ought
to throw the darn thing. But I guess we all have the same problem."

The panel also approved a revision of the rule on the length of halftime in football. The recommended time is 20 minutes, but it may be lengthened or shortened with the consent of both schools.

Among basketball proposals, the panel approved a requirement that Division II and Division III schools have game clocks that display tenths of a second and shot clocks mounted on backboards, starting with the 2010-11 season

"The panel's main concern with this change was financial, and the group is comfortable that the rules committees have provided plenty of time to plan and budget for this important aspect of the game," Cochrane said.

A proposal barring a player from calling a timeout while falling out of bounds or into the backcourt also was approved.

No further action is required for any of the proposals.