College football games that go into overtime may be thrilling, but they also raise concerns about increased risk of injury. That’s why the NCAA is considering making changes to overtime that it hopes would prevent games from going beyond double-overtime.

The Associated Press is reporting that the governing body’s football rules committee is set to meet to consider small changes to the overtime format. A number of ideas are on the table, including proposals regarding the placement of the ball, when teams must go for 2-point conversions, and eliminating extra points and place kicking in overtime.

The current format gives each team possession of the ball at their opponent’s 25-yard line, and repeats until one team outscores the other. Currently, after two rounds of possessions, teams must try for a 2-point conversion after touchdowns.

Anything beyond double-overtime in college football is rare — the AP reports that 6 games per season have gone beyond that in the past four seasons — but marathon affairs such as Texas A&M’s 74-72 victory over LSU, which went into seven overtime periods and tied a record, are concerning. In that contest, the teams ran 207 offensive plays, 67 more than the average at the end of regulation.

“The overtime process is not really broken,” Steve Shaw, the national coordinator of football officials, told the AP. “It’s just when you go beyond two (overtime possessions), it’s too much.”

Many of the ideas about changing overtime relate to placement of the ball. Moving the ball 10 or 15 yards further from the goal line could make scoring more difficult. The rules committee is also considering eliminating extra point tries entirely, forcing teams to go for 2 from their first possession.

A more radical proposal would change the overtime format to a 2-point conversion shootout: instead of standard possessions, after two overtime periods the ball would be placed at the 2-yard line for one play, with the first team to get a defensive stop winning.

 

Jason Scott is Online Managing Editor of Athletic Business.