NFHS provides guidelines for new 40-second play clock

A 40-second play clock will probably be the most notable, and most difficult, changes to high school football in 2019. The NFHS adopted the new timing rules during its committee meeting in January. That means, starting this season, teams and officials will have to get used to a new pace of play - and so will clock operators!

The play clock will continue to start at 25 seconds (a) prior to a try following a score, (b) to start a period or overtime series, (c) following administration of an inadvertent whistle, (d) following a charged time-out, (e) following an official’s time-out, with a few exceptions, and (f) following the stoppage of the play clock by the referee for any other reason. In all other cases, 40 seconds will be placed on the play clock and start when the ball is declared dead by a game official.

The NFHS now has a document for clock operators, which will surely come in handy. While the burden of education and enforcement is largely the responsibility of the WIAA, officials will be on the front lines and will need to be both knowledgeable and helpful during the transition. The IEFOA board is discussing ways to ensure teams and their clock operators are aware of the new timing procedures.