College: 3-2-4

SECTION 2. Playing Time and Intermissions

Timing Devices


a. Game Clock. Playing time shall be kept with a game clock that may be either a stopwatch operated by the line judge, back judge, field judge or side judge, or a game clock operated by an assistant under the direction of the appropriate judge. The type of game clock and the location of the game clock operator shall be determined by the game management. The game clock operator may be located on the sideline or in the traditional press box area. If the clock operator is in the traditional press box, it is recommended the location is between the goal lines. This location shall be shielded from public interference and shall afford a direct and unobstructed view of the playing field.

The game clock shall not display tenths of seconds.
b. 40-Second Clock.

1. When an official signals that the ball is dead, the play clock shall begin a 40-second count.
2. If the 40-second clock does not start or the count is interrupted for reasons beyond the control of the officials or the play-clock operator (e.g., clock malfunction), the referee shall stop the game clock and signal (both palms open in an over-the-head pumping motion) that the play clock should be reset at 40 seconds and started immediately.
3. In the event that the 40-second play clock is running and reads 25 before the ball is ready to be snapped, the referee shall declare a timeout and signal that the play clock be set at 25 seconds. When play is to be resumed, the referee will give the ready-for-play signal [S1] and the play clock shall begin the 25-second count. The game clock will start on the snap unless it had been running when the referee declared a timeout; in that case, it will start on the referee’s signal (Rule 3-3-2f). 

Approved Ruling 3-2-4 I. When the ball is dead after a running play that ends out of bounds, the 40-second play clock is started. The umpire receives the ball from the line judge, and as he is placing it on the ground, he sees that it is one of Team B’s balls. He tosses the ball to the line judge who attempts to get a Team A ball from the ball boy. RULING: If the play clock reads 25 or less before the correct ball is in from the sideline and ready for play, the Referee declares a timeout and signals to reset the play clock to 25 seconds. When the correct ball is ready for play he signals to start the play clock and the game clock.

Approved Ruling 3-2-4 II. When the ball is dead after a running play that ends in the side zone, the officials have difficulty getting the ball in to the hash mark. As the play clock nears 25, the Umpire places the ball on the ground, and by the time the officials are ready, the play clock is somewhat below 25 when the Umpire steps away. RULING: Without stopping the game clock, the Referee gives the “pump” signal to indicate that the play clock is to be reset to 25. If the play clock is quickly reset to 25, the game clock does not stop. Only if the play clock operator does not quickly respond to the Referee’s “pump” signal will the Referee declare a timeout, signal for the play clock to be set at 25, and then signal to start both the play and game clocks.

Approved Ruling 3-2-4 III. Team A scores a Touchdown and the 40 second play clock is started. Without stopping the game, the Referee receives positive confirmation from the Replay Official that the Touchdown is good. The play clock displays: (a) 25 or more seconds, or (b) 24 or less seconds. RULING: The Referee (a) signals to clear the Center Judge and allow the ball to be snapped. (b) The Referee will signal the play clock be reset to 25 seconds, and will then signal to clear the Center Judge and allow the ball to be snapped.

Approved Ruling 3-2-4 IV. Team A scores a Touchdown and the 40 second play clock is started. With less than 25 seconds on the play clock, Team A Head Coach or Team Captain requests the ball be moved to the left hash mark. RULING: The officials will not honor the request. Team A may call a timeout to relocate the ball unless preceded by a Team A foul or offsetting fouls.

c. 25-Second Clock. If the officials signal the game clock to be stopped for any of the following reasons, the referee shall signal (one open palm in an over the-head pumping motion) that the clock should be set at 25 seconds:

1. Penalty administration.
2. Charged team timeout.
3. Media timeout.
4. Injury timeout for a player of the offensive team only. The play clock is set to 40 seconds for an injury to a player of the defensive team.
5. Measurement.
6. Team B is awarded a first down other than a free kick.
7. After a kick down other than a free kick.
8. Score other than a touchdown (not the try).
9. Start of each period.
10. Start of a team’s possession series in an extra period.
11. Instant replay review.
12. Other administrative stoppage.
13. An offensive team player’s helmet comes completely off through play. The play clock is set to 40 seconds if the helmet comes completely off a player of the defensive team. When play is to be resumed, the referee will give the ready-for-play signal [S1] and the play clock will begin its count.

d. Device Malfunction. If a visual 40/25-second timing device becomes inoperative, both coaches shall be notified by the referee immediately and both clocks shall be turned off.