The NCAA Football Rules Committee has recommended delaying implementation of the first-down clock rule for Division III until 2024, sources told CBS Sports.

The change was approved for Divisions I and II by the Playing Rules Oversight Committee (PROP) in April after Division III officials voiced concerns. The rules committee met recently in an attempt to resolve what had become a controversial decision

The committee's revised recommendation will go back to the PROP, which next meets June 8. PROP has final oversight over any rules changes.

The forthcoming rule change for Divisions I and II will see the game clock continue to run after first downs starting this season for the first time since the stoppage rule was implemented in 1968. The rule change was couched mostly as a player safety measure to limit "exposures" for athletes, reducing games by an average of seven plays.

However, coaches and the chair of the Division III Management Council told CBS Sports the rule essentially did not apply to them. Division III games average less than three hours and typically are not televised.

"It eliminates valuable snaps for our student-athletes," council chair Holly Sheilley told CBS Sports in an email. "It was not seen as a health and safety issue by our membership but rather a way to speed up a game -- and that is not a concern for Division III."

For what is believed to be the first time, a division was allowed to dissent over such on-field rules. The day before the April 21 rule change was formally announced, that council voted against the proposal, sending it back to the rules committee for reconsideration.

In the new NCAA Constitution adopted last year, it was recommended that divisions be allowed to "federate" -- make their own decisions on playing rules.

American Football Coaches Association executive director Todd Berry told CBS Sports that coaches in all three divisions voiced their opposition to the rule as part of an annual AFCA survey. Typically, the AFCA is considered only as a reference resource for the rules committee.

Big Ten officiating supervisor Bill Carollo told CBS Sports he has lodged a complaint against the change with the PROP. Carollo also oversees officials in six Division III conferences. He said those officials frequently work games across multiple divisions as well as high school. He is concerned the quality of those officials' work will be impacted as they will need to differentiate between two sets of first-down rules.

If Division III was to implement the first-down rule, its players would lose the equivalent of 4.3 regular-season games worth of plays out of 40 games (10-game regular season across a four-year career). FBS players would lose the equivalent of 5.3 regular-season games out of 48 games (12-game schedule over four years).  

In the past, the rules committee has proposed rules on its own that did not cross all three divisions. Last year, the committee supported the "sock rule," which similar to the NFL rule mandated the top of players' sock must meet the bottom of their pants. It would have been implemented for Division I (FBS, FCS) for the 2022 season with Divisions II and III complying no later than 2024. PROP ultimately tabled approval.

The 12-member rules committee is composed of four representatives from the FBS, two from the FCS and three each from Divisions II and III. Georgia's Kirby Smart is the only Power Five head coach on the committee.