OHSAA adopts 30-point speed up rule for football

Published 12:57 am Thursday, May 22, 2014

COLUMBUS (AP) — The Ohio High School Athletic Association has adopted a football point-differential rule for this fall that will provide for a running clock in most instances after a team takes a 30-point lead in the second half.

The sanctioning body added the rule, intended to speed up lopsided games and already used by many other states, after consultation with the state’s football coaches association.

After the lead reaches 30 points in the second half, the only times the game clock will stop will be for a team or official’s timeout, the end of a period and when there is a score. The clock will start again for the next play and will continue to run in all other situations.

Email newsletter signup

If the lead drops below 30 points, the clock reverts to regular timing.

The OHSAA’s assistant commissioner in charge of officiating, Beau Rugg, said the rule was proposed out of concern for player safety.

“Lopsided games aren’t good for anybody,” Rugg said. “The risk of injury goes up, and it can be a tense situation for coaches and players. The length of games is also a topic of conversation at the national level. This is just the right thing to do.”

The opposing coaches still can reach agreement with the referee to shorten periods or even end the game should there be a shortage of players or any other emergency situation.

Other rules changes, which do not require voting by the member schools but only between the OHSAA and the respective coaches’ association, were also enacted. Softball and baseball teams are now permitted to play doubleheaders on school days. Start dates and other calendar modifications were made in boys and girls tennis and wrestling. And the number of wrestlers needed to have a team has been changed to seven.