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OHSAA adopts new football point differential rule that allows clock to run

By Michael Beaven Published: May 21, 2014

The Ohio High School Athletic Association Board of Directors is adopting a rule that many other states also utilize in lopsided football games.

Starting this upcoming season, if a team is ahead by 30 points or more in the second half of a game than a running clock will take place.

“First and foremost, this was proposed out of concern for player safety,” said Beau Rugg, the OHSAA’s assistant commissioner in charge of football, wrestling and all officiating.

“Lopsided games aren’t good for anybody. 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.”

For years, football games in Ohio could be shortened by mutual agreement of both coaches.

After the first half, any time the score differential reaches 30 points or more for 11-man football, the clock will be stopped when:

-- An official’s time-out is called for an injured player or following a change of possession.

-- A charged time-out is called.

-- At the end of a period.

-- A score occurs.

The clock will start again on the ready for play signal for the first play after the above situations. The clock will continue to run in all other situations.

After the 30 point difference has been met, if the score drops below 30 points the clock reverts to regular timing.

The point differential regulation, which is already used in many states, is permitted by state adoption according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The proposal was recommended to the board by the OHSAA staff after more than a year of consultation with the Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.

Other significant changes

In baseball and softball, individuals can participate in 32 games, but teams are limited to play a maximum of 27 dates. Language has been removed so teams will be allowed to play doubleheaders on school days in addition to weekend days.

In bowling, all-Baker games format tournaments can have a minimum of five teams participate and no fewer than nine Baker games are bowled.

In tennis, the number of matches permitted has been increased to 22 from 20, and the maximum number of tournaments permitted per season has been increased to four from three. Coaches have the option of using a third set tie-breaker to 10 points when the match has been decided and both coaches mutually agree.

In volleyball, varsity tri-matches can be in the best 3-out-of-5 format if agreed upon in advance in the game contracts. Generally they are 2-out-of-3. Regular dual-matches are 3-out-of-5.

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