Wednesday, January 11, 2012

‎ The official period clock does not stop between jams unless a timeout is called. The period clock stops during a timeout.

Per yesterday's rule, the period clock starts counting down from 30:00 (or whatever length of time the period is for shorter games) at the first whistle of the first jam. The period clock continues to count down even between jams. The only reason the period clock may stop is because of a timeout, either a team timeout or an official timeout (OTO). A team timeout is requested by the captain or designated alternate by hand signal. As soon as the timeout is signaled, the referees signal the period clock operator to stop the clock. There is no rule specifying which referee must signal the timeout to the clock operator, or which may not. Some head referees prefer that only they signal it as they keep a mental note of team timeouts left, and ask the other referees to notify them. Mostly head referees seem to be fine with letting any referee signal the timeout to the clock operator but tend to remind refs pre-bout to make sure that the person signaling the timeout is a captain or DA, and that they do in fact have a timeout available to use. An official timeout is a timeout taken by the referees. They signal the clock operator with the OTO signal and the period clock is stopped. OTOs are used when officials need to solve an issue that will take longer than the 30 seconds between jams, such as score discrepancies, debris on the track, and the like.

There is a recent trend going on in the derby world regarding OTOs. It is becoming a standard practice for referees to not actually signal an OTO until the 30 seconds between jams runs down. The reason this is done is because when officials call an OTO before the 30 seconds of lineup time is finished it disrupts the normal course of a jam running and then 30 seconds counting down, followed by the next jam starting. In effect, if an OTO is called 5 second after a jam ends, then 25 seconds of play time is "added" to the game because the period clock doesn't begin again until the next jam starts. To reduce the impact referees have on the game many crews have adopted this practice of waiting 30 seconds. Of course, there are cases where an OTO must be called before the 30 seconds has elapsed. For example, an injury that requires medical attention. In cases such as that the OTO is called immediately and ends the jam, thus the 30 seconds does not count down between jams. This is not a required practice, but something that referees are adopting all over the derbyverse.