New Year; New Rules

It’s that time of year again . . . when the NCAA rules committee gets together and decides how they can further ruin the game of football.  Seriously.  Why do we need so many rule changes?  Does anyone else think these guys sit around trying to dream up ways of justifying their jobs?

Here are this year’s updates for 2011 from ESPN:

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.

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.

20 % of all injuries on kickoffs?  How many injuries are there on kickoffs?  And how many are due specifically to wedge blocking?  I don’t know, but if the NFL banned it, so be it.  If the justification is safety, I guess I can’t argue too vehemently.

But eye black messages?  OK, perhaps they are in bad taste.  Aren’t mullets?  And tattoos?  Lady Gaga?  Shouldn’t the schools/coach decide what is appropriate?  Why do we feel the need to protect the feelings of a few by making everyone elses life miserable (obviously I am not a fan of the politically correct movement, nor would my life be miserable without eye black messages.)  As it stands now, individual schools can rule on kids accused of rape, theft, and what have you, but the NCAA decides its going to crack down on eye black messages.  Way to go guys.  I feel the game has gotten better already thanks to your hard work!

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.

“If it’s close to diving into the end zone, most likely it would be ruled that the act ended while in the end zone. We’ll be lenient,” Parry said. “It’s really if it’s really bad, for example, if a guy flips the bird at the 10 or high-steps backwards into the end zone or starts a forward roll at the 3-yard line.”

Oh, if Dave Parry is in charge, then everything will be okay.  We won’t have to worry about the rules being interpreted differently . . .

Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, chair of the rules committee, has heard concerns from other coaches about both the consistent application and severity of the rule.

I wonder why?  Parry says it will be just fine. 

Is this really a pressing issue?  The celebration penalty is probably already thrown too often.  These are college kids playing an emotional game.  Can’t we reserve the penalty for vulgar demonstrations or clear in the face taunting?

Or, if we insist on punishing this behavior, then let the score count but suspend the kid for one game pending a video review by the teams athletic directors.  In the cited case involving LSU where no penalty was demonstrated on video, then the suspension would be waived.  But why take points off the board for a well executed play just because someone’s feelings are hurt from taunting.

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not advocating kids dancing around making asses of themselves after scoring.  But pointing a finger other than the niddle one or doing a little high step into the endzone is simply not worth taking a touchdown off the board for.

Hey rules committee?  Lighten up, Francis.

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