And you thought a 96-team NCAA Tournament field was dumb

Just when you thought the NCAA couldn’t go more crazy, it did. Thursday afternoon the NCAA Rules Oversight Panel approved three rule changes — two for 2010 and one for 2011 — that in some cases could potentially change the outcome of games based on a completely subjective decision by a referee.

Beginning in 2010, players won’t be allowed to have messages on their eye black or use the wedge blocking technique for kickoff returns. That’s all well and good. If you don’t want Terrell Pryor to have “I love Mike Vick” all over his face on national TV, fine. The wedge blocking rule actually improves safety for the players crazy enough to be “wedge busters” on kickoff teams, so that’s a positive.

It’s the 2011 changes that have everyone up in arms. Beginning in 2011, taunting penalties will be assessed from the spot of the foul. Better hope your favorite player doesn’t celebrate on the way into the end zone or you could have a first and 10 from the six.

Eye black messages, wedge blocks out

Eye black with messages and wedge blocks will be banned from college football this fall, and taunting in the field of play will start costing teams points in 2011.

On Thursday, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the three rules changes.

One year after the NFL banned wedge blocking on kickoffs because of safety concerns, the NCAA followed the lead. The new rule says that when the team receiving a kickoff has more than two players standing within two yards of one another, shoulder to shoulder, it will be assessed a 15-yard penalty — even if there is no contact between the teams.

The reason: NCAA studies have shown that 20 percent of all injuries occurring on kickoffs result in concussions.

Here’s the taunting explanation from the same article.

But it’s the taunting rule that will create the biggest buzz.

Currently, players who are penalized for taunting on their way to the end zone draw a 15-yard penalty on the extra point attempt, 2-point conversion attempt or the ensuing kickoff.

Beginning in 2011, live-ball penalties will be assessed from the spot of the foul and eliminate the score. Examples include players finishing touchdown runs by high-stepping into the end zone or pointing the ball toward an opponent.

I’m all for cleaning up the game and making sportsmanship a priority, but I don’t get how giving this much subjective power to officials is a good thing. Most of the time they can’t even get holding penalties right. Not to mention that in most cases those 50+ year-old officials will be following a play and making those calls out of breath and 20 yards away.

It just doesn’t seem feasible to expect these guys to make these types of calls. If a player tackles someone and gets in their face after a play, it’s taunting. If a defensive lineman dances around like a fool after getting a sack, it’s taunting. But how the NCAA expects officials to judge taunting in this sense is beyond me?

I can’t wait for the first time a touchdown is taken off the board. Joe Ovies had some interesting things to say about this rule this morning at

NCAA lacks what humans call “emotion”

Remember that scene in the movie “Scanners” where that dude’s head blew up? Yeah, that’s a perfect illustration of what will happen to the collective noggin of college football the first time 6 points are taken off the board thanks to the NCAA’s new anti-taunting policy.

Understand I have no issue with trying to rid the game of crude mannerisms such as the throat-slash or overboard actions like getting up in the facemask of a fallen opponent. My problems are with the severity of punishment and the added opportunity for officials to screw something up.

And everyone knows the officials will screw this one up. Well, everyone except the NCAA.

This topic has a robust conversation on our message boards that started yesterday and is viewable by clicking here.

College Football

11 Responses to And you thought a 96-team NCAA Tournament field was dumb

  1. Khan 04/16/2010 at 12:55 PM #

    I agree…there is just too much variance in how people view taunting. In my view, making a gesture or movement which is directed toward an opponent or opponent’s coaching staff, sidelines, or fans is taunting. High-stepping into the endzone, dancing after a big defensive stand, tackle, or sack, pointing to your own crowd, spiking the football after a touchdown — those things are celebratory in nature, and I don’t think they should be considered taunting. They don’t hurt the game or the other team. It shouldn’t matter. But with this rule, there is way too much subjectivity involved for there not to be ample screw-ups.

  2. howlie 04/16/2010 at 1:52 PM #

    This ‘rule’ implies taunting by the offense. What about a LB or DE making a crushing 14 yards behind the line of scrimmage blow… then looking down on his prey and ‘flexing’ his muscles?

    What about an OL standing over a LB or blitzing CB after he’s pancaked him and glaring a bit?

    What about if there is no ‘visual’ display of pointing, spitting, and the like… but simply foul language or ‘trash talking?’ Where do you draw the line with this thing???

  3. Dr. BadgerPack 04/16/2010 at 4:30 PM #

    Maybe we could have booth reviews now to see if the taunting occurred before the ball crossed the plane of the end zone…

    Yes, my eyes rolled while typing that.

    Give it another 10 years, and to really clean up the games, all competition will be decided on-line via playstation… with chat functionality disabled.

  4. old13 04/16/2010 at 4:57 PM #

    The NCAA needs to get it own priorities, policies, and (mostly) ethics straightened out before it tries to clean up any college sports. It has been obvious for some time that their practices reflect favoritism and unbalanced dealings with the NCAA schools based on $$$. I’m sick of their “do as I say, not as I do” approaches to just about anything!

  5. imawolf 04/16/2010 at 5:13 PM #

    Hmmm, I’m not far from just discarding my season tickets in favor of Carolina Hurricane Action……….. College sports are becoming way to regulated……….

  6. 61Packer 04/16/2010 at 10:36 PM #

    We’ve got a bunch of dingbats running the administrative end of college sports, a wacko group that’s determined to “level the playing field”, so to speak.

    By all means, let’s take points off the board whenever we can punish players for showing any “excessive” signs of happiness during a college football game. No more hurt feelings on the playing fleld; what a noble idea!

    But before all this happens, I want to see an NCAA official rule book that has specifics as to how much happiness you can display before the PC Police haul you away. For instance, does it take 3 or 6 or 13 or 29 players cheering (for 30 seconds or 54 seconds?) before it’s excessive? How high do you have to step before your touchdown is taken away in the name of sportsmanship? And how big must your smile be before you’re convicted of taunting?

    The Washington politicians are ruining this country with political correctness, and now more of this same crap will be coming our way at college football games, thanks to the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel. What a bunch of morons……

  7. turfpack 04/16/2010 at 11:09 PM #

    Let’s not kept score so noone will feel bad and give everyone a trophy for playing in games-NO wait we already do that today for the kids-SORRY I’M OLD SCHOOL -IF YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH -YOU LOSE!!!

  8. travelwolf 04/17/2010 at 6:38 AM #

    The NCAA should stop taunting us fans and the players with these discretionary ridiculous rules.

  9. whope90 04/17/2010 at 5:17 PM #

    This is the dumbest rule in the last 20 years of the NCAA’S i have ever seen. Put in a rule change that punishes the team but doesn’t change the outcome of a come and makes a referee the ultimate judge. I can see them calling this against small schools but not in big games like when the coaches box in basketball and abusive language were going to be curbed back,but did anyone tell Coach K about the rule changes???

    Listen, NCAA’s get it right, enforce rules but don’t make rules because you want to go back to the 50’s!!
    Give me a break!!!

  10. WolfEyes 04/18/2010 at 10:20 AM #

    Sounds like the folks on the NCAA rules committee watched Greg Little in our game vs. the holes. Taunting and “Child Please” on his eye black will hopefully no longer be accepted by thugs like him. However, as Derek points out, taunting is a subjective call by the refs.

  11. bradleyb123 04/18/2010 at 10:27 AM #

    I don’t mind the new taunting rule for the most part. Showboating is one of the things I hate about football (at ALL levels). It’s a team effort, and one dude gets to showboat like it was all him. LOOK AT ME! I DID IT!!! Never mind the other ten guys that made it happen that don’t get much credit, if any.

    What concerns me is the case where a player may NEED to dive, or THINK he does, but will be afraid to do so because of this new rule. And also the case where a player needs to dive, does so, yet gets called for taunting.

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