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Sumlin: There's an agenda here

The backlash continues, and it’s getting heated.

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced a rule proposal that would allow defenses to substitute within the first 10 seconds of the play clock. Offenses would be penalized if they snap the ball with more than 29 seconds left on the clock.

As you would expect, no-huddle coaches are upset about this. Rich Rodriguez blasted the proposal on Twitter. Kevin Sumlin joined SVP & Russillo on Thursday and explained that not only is he upset with the proposal, he’s angry that coaches were blindsided by this.

“It caught everybody off-guard,” he said. “There’s a number of problems with how it was handled, just popping up out of nowhere Saturday. It struck a bad nerve. Where do we go from here? All the evidence points to a meeting yesterday where one coach got in front of the committee to plead his case. The two coaches that were on the committee, along with Bret Bielema, who represents the AFCA obviously had their side of the story they wanted to present. There’s a couple of problems.

“There’s also another side to this whole issue. When it comes to player safety, no one can find a coach in college football that doesn’t make that paramount. There is no evidence out there that suggests that this is a player-safety issue. Everything is done within the rules of the game. Coaching and creativity matter. To be able to eliminate the amount of creativity that goes into the game, that’s bad for the sport.”

Air Force’s Troy Calhoun and UL-Monroe’s Todd Berry are the two FBS coaches who are voting members on the committee that came up with the proposal. Sports Illustrated’s Stewart Mandel reported that Bielema and Nick Saban were in the room for the meeting. Bielema is a non-voting member, representing the AFCA.

Bielema has been outspoken against no-huddle offenses. Saban has asked if it’s what we want football to become. None of the four coaches involved in the proposal runs much, if any, no-huddle.

“The issue of player safety has been unsubstantiated,” Sumlin said. “How this proposal came about without the other side being able to speak to the committee, that’s a concern, particularly when you look at three of the four coaches in there. Arkansas was 121st in snaps per game, Alabama was 116th and Air Force was 104th. To say there’s no agenda here, I think you have to question that.

Sumlin wants a forum where both sides can discuss the issue before a vote. Until then, expect more coaches to come out publicly against this, keeping up the conversation.

The proposal must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will meet on March 6.

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