Multiple Teams · Football To Use 40 Second Play Clock


This fall, Indiana will be one of three states to make use of a 40 second play clock for high school football on a trial basis.  After a three-year trial period, the National Federation of High Schools will determine if the 40 second play clock will be used nation-wide on a permanent basis.

The rules are as follows:

The 25 Second clock will be used in the following situations:

  1. Following a touchback.
  2. Following a charged time out by either team.
  3. Following a penalty assessment and/or enforcement.
  4. Following an official’s timeout for an injury to a player (Referee discretion)
  5. At the start of a period or overtime.
  6. Following a change of possession.
  7. Following a media timeout.
  8. Following an official’s timeout for a measurement.
  9. Following an official’s timeout.
  10. Try for point after touchdown.

The 40 Second clock will be used in the following situations:

  1. End of a running play at the end of the run, in bounds or out of bounds.
  2. End of a pass play, complete or incomplete.
  3. Following an official’s timeout for an injury to a player (Referee discretion)

The 40 second clock shall start as soon as the play ends and the ball is dead. The covering official raises his arm straight up indicating that the ball is dead and signaling for the start of the 40-second play clock. The clock operator will immediately start the 40 second clock, unless something else occurs that requires the 25-second play clock to reset. (see above) The 40-second play clock should be the most used reset following a play.

If the play is ruled out of bounds the covering official will signal to stop the game clock and then signal to start the 40-second play clock.

If at the end of play a change of possession occurs, covering official will not signal to start 40-second play clock.

On an incomplete pass, the covering official will signal incomplete pass and then signal to start the 40-second play clock.  If incomplete pass is on fourth down covering official will not signal start of 40-second play clock.

Signal to reset clock to 25 seconds is one arm pumped in the air by the referee or back judge.

Signal to reset clock to 40 seconds is both arms pumped in the air by the referee or back judge. 

It is expected that the ball will be marked ready for play within 8-10 seconds of the end of the play.  The umpire will stand over the ball until the box is set following Team A reaching the line to gain.  Once the box is set, the umpire will step away from the ball and the ball may be snapped.

Additionally, if the 40-second play clock is used at the sub-varsity level, a 5-man crew must be used.  The mechanics are inoperable with less than 5 crew members.