Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

How the 'Saban Rule' has itself been slowed


"That Saban's got some nerve, doesn't he?" (Bob Andres/AJC)

To answer the question posed not so long ago in this space : It would appear Alabama coach Nick Saban does not -- repeat, does not -- run college football. The backlash against Saban's attempt -- to be fair, he was joined by Arkansas coach Bret Bielema -- to lobby the rules committee into slowing down the hurry-ups has hit a wall. King Crimson has been rendered a bit less regal.

To recap:

On Tuesday, rules committee chairman Troy Calhoun, who coaches at Air Force, told reporters in a conference call that the slow-things-down proposal endorsed by his committee might well have been passed in, er, too much of a hurry . (This account is from David Ching of ESPN.) Said Calhoun, addressing the Saban/Bielema contention that players' safety is being compromised: "(We should) try to take the next 10 days or so and kind of what you gather from experts and (if) they say, 'No, at this time it's only speculative,' then the rule should not get pushed up, should not be a rule because now it's not a safety concern."

On Thursday, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier told George Schroeder of USA Today: "So, you want to talk about the 'Saban Rule'? That's what I call it. Looks like it's dead now, hopefully."

On Friday, California athletic director Sandy Barbour took to Twitter to chastise Bielema, who had referenced Cal defensive lineman Ted Agu in expressing support for the slowdown rule. Agu died Feb. 7 after a morning training run with teammates. (The training had been medically overseen.)

Bielema then issued a statement conceding that his comments were "unintentionally hurtful."

The proposal passed by Calhoun's committee will be submitted to the Playing Rules Oversight panel on March 6 for approval. Given Calhoun's apparent reversal, and absent a last-minute flurry of data-based research into the effects of the hurry-ups on player safety, it's unlikely the hurryin' will be halted for the 2014 season. But March 6 is still a ways away, and King Crimson might yet think of something.

From myajc.com, our premium site: Tempo tempest - Saban against the hurry-up hordes.


Reader Comments ...

About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.