Although people have taken to calling the proposal the “Saban Rule,” Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban has kept quiet about his thoughts regarding the NCAA’s proposed rule to penalize offenses for snapping the ball too quickly.
Saban broke his silence at an event Friday, telling the crowd that he supports the rule because the slower pace of play would be safer for the players (a stance not supported by the available data):
“I think player safety is the No. 1 thing, and that was my No. 1 issue as well. I think when players get tired they’re more susceptible to get injured if you can’t substitute players when they’re tired or if they’re injured and you can’t get them out of the game. Or if a player has a pre-existing condition, whether it’s sickle cell, asthma or whatever it is and the trainer says that guy needs to come out. The only way to get them out of the game is to call timeout, so the other way, we could, you know alleviate — there’s a lot of solution to the problem. I don’t think coaches should be making this decision. I don’t think I should make it, I don’t think any coaches should make it. I think somebody outside all of us should decide what is in the best interest of the game, whether it’s player safety, game administration, whatever it might be. That’s sort of the concern that, I think, we all have.”
Saban also cited the inability of officials to set the chains quickly and the possible “competitive imbalance” created by uptempo teams as the two other reasons why the proposed rule is a good idea. Go ahead and read his comments in full if you so desire.