Friday, February 12, 2010

NCAA: celebration penalty may negate touchdowns next year

From AP(via Matt Hinton):
If passed, players who draw flags for taunting gestures on their way to a touchdown would have the penalty assessed from the spot of the foul, taking away the score. Penalties that occur in the end zone would continue to be assessed on the extra-point attempt, 2-point conversion try or ensuing kickoff.

The change would take effect in 2011 and on the NCAA's web site, a release said the proposal received near-unanimous support.

"Taunting and prolonged individual acts have no place in our game, and our officials have generally handled these rules well," said former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, the committee chair. "This is just another step in maintaining our game's image and reflecting the ideals of the NCAA overall."

My opinion on rules in games is that you shouldn't adopt a rule you don't intend to enforce. More specifically, you shouldn't adopt a rule if you aren't willing to change the outcome of the game over it.

In the last season or two we've seen multiple instances of celebration/taunting calls that gave the other team a chance to win after the fact, and the outcry was so intense in one case (A.J. Green's go-ahead TD against LSU) that the SEC fined one of its own refs and forced him to apologize. Imagine for a second the outcry if such of touchdown were called back outright and the other team holds on to win. Imagine that happening in the final minutes of the SEC championship or the Rose Bowl or, God forbid, the National "Championship" Game.

I get that this is a rule specifically against taunting, rather than the general endzone merriment and evil, evil ball tossing of the Jake Locker variety, but Green's infamous unsportsmanslike conduct flag was supposedly for taunting en route to the goal line. Even by the standards of college football rules, taunting is in the eye of the beholder, especially considering the trash talking and psychological warfare that likely goes on out of earshot of the microphones.

This rule is just dying to cause the NCAA more headaches.

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