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College Football/2 pt. pat in overtime for college football


I read a question sent to you from Randy regarding this question and you did was repeat the current rules and not address his question and mine.  When did the NCAA start the mandatory 2 pt. conversion after a touchdown in overtime after the first 2 over time periods?  Was it a part of the original rules set in 1996 or was it added later due to too many long games not coming to the end fast enough?  Please do not send the current rules as they are available anywhere.  Thanks Jim


The simple answer is 1997.

The overtime tiebreaker system or Extra Periods was first adopted in 1996.  In February 1997 NCAA FOOTBALL RULES COMMITTEE APPROVED SAFETY-RELATED CHANGES and issued a memorandum and press release.  The Rules Committee  introduced a measure to reduce the possibility of four or more overtime periods in a game was among several safety-related rules changes approved by the NCAA Football Rules Committee during its annual meeting February 11-13, 1997.  The Rules committee, after hearing reports on the effect that lengthy overtime games had on players during the 1996 season, the committee approved a rule requiring a team that scores a touchdown to attempt a two-point conversion, beginning in the third overtime period. Extra-point kicks will be disallowed.  The committee also approved a rule requiring a game to be declared a tie if it is in overtime but cannot be finished due to weather, darkness or other conditions.

Because two-point conversion attempts are approximately half as successful as extra-point kicks, the committee believes that requiring two-point attempts will reduce the number of times both teams score the same number of points in a period after the second overtime. One reason is that the two teams' abilities to convert a two-point attempt are likely to vary more than their abilities to kick extra points. Although the average number of extra periods in an overtime game in 1996 was 1.62 in Division I-A and 1.83 in Division I-AA, eight of the 49 overtime games in the two divisions lasted three or more extra periods.

"Historically, the safety of the student-athlete has been the paramount concern of the Football Rules Committee," said committee chair Vincent J. Dooley, director of athletics at the University of Georgia. "While the committee remains committed to resolving all games through the use of overtime, it believes this is a reasonable step to help protect the players against the possibility of having to play in extraordinarily long games in which they are more likely to be injured."

It should be noted that NCAA teams involved in postseason play at the Football Championship Subdivision (then Division I-AA), Division II and Division III already were using overtime as a necessary advancement mechanism in the NCAA playoff system prior to 1996.  It was in 1996 that it was adopted to the Div. 1A level and all regular season games..  My Notes, research and memos The tiebreaker for D-1AA, D-II, D-III, NAIA play-off games required each team having a possession starting at the opponent’s 25-yard line. This concept was modeled after the NFHS/high school tiebreaker rules from the 10 yard line , - most states’ high school associations have teams start from the opponent’s 10-yard line.
When the NCAA Football Rules Committee decided to extend the playoff overtime structure into the regular season, members decided to retain the 25-yard line as the starting point.  According to NCAA Football Secretary-Rules Editor John Adams, the additional 15 yards offers “a reasonable balance” between the offense and defense. “We debated where to start,” Adams said. “We didn’t want to make it too easy or too tough to score.”

The only change over the years was in 1997 when the committee began requiring teams to go for two-point conversions beginning with the third overtime.

Extra period tiebreaker rules are governed in NCAA Football Rule 3 section 1 Article 3.

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Vic Winnek


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