OHSAA Implements Running Clock For Lopsided Football Games

Eric Singer

Updated Fri, May 23, 2014 3:56 pm
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Photo Credit: 
Brooke Herbert Hayes

In Sept. of 2013, the Louisville Cardinals defeated the Florida International Panthers 72-0 in an FBS regular-season matchup. What was even more peculiar about the game — aside from the lopsided score — was that the second half featured a continuous clock in order to speed up the game.

In 2014, the continuous clock is coming to Ohio High School Athletic Association sponsored football games with the new “Football Point Differential Rule,” the league announced in a press release Wednesday.

The rule, which is already used in many states, says that if the point differential is greater than 30 in the second half, the clock will not stop, save for five exceptions: injury timeouts, changes of possession, team timeouts, ends of quarters and scoring plays.

“First and foremost, this was proposed out of concern for player safety,” Beau Ragg, OHSAA assistant commissioner for football, said in the statement. “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.”

And, if the point differential falls back below the 30-point threshold at any point during the half, the clock will revert back to the normal operations.

Had the rule been in place for the 2013 season, the Tri-Valley Conference’s Athens Bulldogs and Trimble Tomcats would each have had numerous games affected, as both teams played in nine games that finished with a point spread of 30 or more.

“This takes the decision‐making situation out of it for the coaches,” Rugg said. “That is often a tough situation for a coach to be in. Now, they can point to the rule instead of having to make that decision. Like all regulations, we will monitor this to see how it affects games.”