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Nick Saban had been a proponent of substitution rule change


The NCAA Football Rules Committee decided to table the controversial proposed "defensive substitution" rules change during a conference call Wednesday.

That means the rule -- which would have penalized offenses for snapping the ball before 10 seconds had run off the play clock -- will not go to a rules oversight panel Thursday and won't go into effect next season.

Given the blowback from coaches once the proposal was made, Wednesday's outcome shouldn't have been that big a surprise.

South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier derisively had dubbed the proposal "The Saban Rule," and Alabama coach Nick Saban spoke to on Tuesday about why he backed the rule.

"The fastball guys (up-tempo coaches) say there's no data out there, and I guess you have to use some logic" about more plays potentially leading to more injuries, Saban told "What's the logic? If you smoke one cigarette, do you have the same chances of getting cancer if you smoke 20? I guess there's no study that specifically says that. But, logically, we would say, 'Yeah, there probably is.' "

Saban might have a point. At the same time, to take his point to the extreme, no plays at all would mean no injuries at all. And if the incidences of injuries dramatically increase after, say, the 55th play, does that mean every game should end after 55 plays?

By its action Wednesday, the Football Rules Committee obviously felt that until there is legitimate data on the subject, there is no reason for the rule to exist.

A recent story by said just 25 of the nation's 128 FBS coaches -- a bit less than 20 percent -- were in favor of the proposal.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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