The NCAA approved rules changes Friday proposed earlier this year that will allow the clock to run after first downs are achieved in all divisions except Division III. The clock will continue to stop after first downs during the final two minutes of each half.
The approval will come from the Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) that annually vets rules changes as proposed by the NCAA Football Rules Committee, which made this recommendation in March.
While Divisions I and II will adopt the new rule, Division III has pushed back to the point its Management Council announced this week federated (separate) playing rules for that division.
Stopping the clock after first downs has been one of the rules that has differentiated college football from the NFL since 1968. Allowing the clock to run is expected to reduce the number of plays by an average of seven per game, according to Steve Shaw, secretary-editor of the rules committee.
"We're in kind of uncharted waters [with Division III]," said a source close to the rules-making process.
Sources said it was still possible Division III could eliminate clock stoppages on first down at a future date.
The PROP is also expected to approve two other recommendations from the rules committee: teams be prohibited from calling consecutive timeouts and penalties at the end of the first and third quarter being enforced on the first play of the next quarter.