Daily Archives: February 13, 2008

Tinkering with the rules… again

Tony Barnhart clues us in on some changes the NCAA is contemplating regarding on the field play.

The big one is with the play clock.

The biggest change will be the implementation of a 40-second play clock that is similar to the one used in the NFL. The 40-second clock will start immediately after the end of each play. Under the old rules, the 25-second play clock did not start until after the ball was marked ready for play by the officials.

It sounds like they’re trying to find the happy medium between last year’s clock rules and those from the year before. I’m sure the networks will let them know when they hit the sweet spot.

Barnhart also mentions two penalty rules changes:

The incidental 5-yard facemask penalty has been eliminated. The only facemask penalties that will be called will be for 15 yards.

There will no longer be sideline warnings for players and coaches who crowd onto the field during the game. The official may assess a 5-yard penalty without a warning for the infraction.

With regard to the first, does that mean that there will no longer be a penalty for incidental contact with a player’s face mask, or that any such contact will get a fifteen yard penalty? If it’s the latter, it would seem that an “in for a penny, in for a pound” mindset might result. If it’s the former, look for an increase in complaints about what constitutes more than incidental contact.

As for the sideline warning infraction, I can’t wait for the first time Urban Meyer gets hit with that out of the blue.


UPDATE:  Sunday Morning Quarterback says the NCAA is setting itself up to revisit next year what it revisited this year.



Filed under College Football, The NCAA

Champ on champ

Mandel’s got a piece up today on the upcoming LSU-Appalachian State game.

Mandel notes that quite a few D-1 schools have dodged the offer to play ASU, including the North Avenue Trade School.

Over the past few months, Appalachian State associate athletic director Jay Sutton got turned down by one BCS-conference school after another in his quest for a big-conference opponent (the Boone, N.C., school has faced at least one upper-division foe every year since 1982). “We’d come back with, ‘However much you’re paying, we’ll take less,’ ” said Sutton. “That didn’t work either.”

Florida State, North Carolina and Georgia Tech all declined, according to Sutton…

Gee, it’s not like Tech has developed a sudden reluctance to play 1-AA schools – after all, the Jackets have two of ’em on their ’08 schedule – so what’s the problem here? (Georgia, by the way, has agreed to schedule ASU in an upcoming season.)

There’s also an interesting side story here. ASU was a fallback decision for LSU, according to many, including Mandel. The Tigers’ first choice was Texas Tech.

… Verge Ausberry, LSU’s senior associate athletic director who handles scheduling, originally sought Texas Tech for its 2008 opener in what would have been a clash of two likely preseason top-15 opponents. Tulsa backed out of a two-year deal with the Red Raiders last month. Unfortunately, Texas Tech operates under the old Bill Snyder school of scheduling — it hasn’t scheduled a BCS-conference opponent since 2003 — and opted instead for Eastern Washington.

That story is denied by TT head coach Mike Leach, who had this to say (arghs! deleted, of course):

… ‘I never talked to the guy at LSU,’ said Leach. ‘We needed a home game and I never heard of anything about LSU planning to come here. I never heard anything about that. I never talked to anybody from LSU. We needed a home game, and all I heard was that they wanted it up there.’

I mention this for two reasons. First, lost in all the hoopla (it’s gonna be on ESPN!) over this game is the fact that LSU remains the only team in the SEC that doesn’t play an OOC game against a school from a BCS conference. Which, when you think about it, is kind of embarrassing for a school that considers itself a national title contender. So this “Texas Tech turned us down” stuff is a nice defense to a charge that LSU plays a weak schedule. But only if it’s true.

Second, I really wanted to post this picture.

The dread pirate Leach. And friend.


Filed under College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles, Mike Leach. Yar!

Carrying nostalgia a little too far

For the love of God, why?

More evidence people will buy anything: All of the urinals available — about 10 — were sold at last weekend’s Orange Bowl auction, with four (dating to the 1940s) going for $500 apiece.


Filed under College Football

Coming out party in Columbia?

The Athens-Banner Herald has an article on which of Georgia’s freshmen might see the field in ’08.  All the usual suspects are named, but this little blurb about A. J. Green caught my eye:

… Call said don’t be surprised if the game at South Carolina on Sept. 13 is a coming out party for Green. The Gamecocks continued to woo Green after his 2006 commitment to Georgia.

“I know we’re all fired up,” Call said. “We’re already talking about who all is going to that game.”

Wouldn’t that be a treat…


Filed under Georgia Football

Why can’t we all just get along?

It just wasn’t a happy news kind of day for some folks in the football world yesterday.

  • Rich Rodriguez may be about to learn that a jury of his peers isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. You can almost sense he’s about to be on the butt end of something akin to that scene in The Verdict where the jury asks the judge if they’re limited in awarding damages to the amount that was sought in the complaint. Coach, this is truly a situation where discretion is the better part of valor. Settle, man, settle.
  • Meanwhile, they’re packing heat at depositions in the Reggie Bush lawsuit. Sounds bad, but on the bright side, that could open up some endorsement opportunities for ol’ Reggie.  (“Smith & Wesson? It’s as good at protection as my offensive line!”)
  • And for some reason, Michael Adams has decided now is a good time to pick at a scab and reopen a wound. I have no idea why, but given the source, I’m sure whatever the motivation, it’s petty. Hey, at least no one is making fun of his playoff proposal now!


Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness, Michael Adams Wants To Rule The World

The road to hell

When it comes to rules making and enforcement, the NCAA, like nature, abhors a vacuum.

The NCAA published its first rule book in 1952. It was 25 pages. Half a century later, the NCAA has three separate rule books of 440, 349 and 316 pages, mostly governing off-the-field activity for its three divisions. Besides that, the NCAA has game rule books for football (255 pages), basketball (212) and other sports.

The vacuum in this case seems to involve people’s wallets, no matter how logical or how small the cause.

What happens when a fight almost breaks out between a pizza delivery man and a top high school football recruit? An NCAA rules violation, of course.

It’s good for the economy, though.

… such a surge has created hundreds of new jobs and new expenses for schools, whose increased vigilance has led to more violations being discovered, according to a survey and review of hundreds of violation reports obtained through open-records requests by The San Diego Union-Tribune. More rule proposals and adjustments come up each year, which has led to double or triple the number of specialists being hired at schools to interpret them and keep track of them on campus.

… A typical example of how this has affected schools is South Carolina. In the 1990s, the university had one full-time person committed to rules compliance, plus one full-time assistant. Today, you practically can’t throw a stone in Columbia without hitting a rules staffer. The Gamecocks have five rules interpreters, plus two administrative assistants and an intern.

Almost all major schools had only one rules compliance person in the 1990s. Today it’s at least two to four, an increase of about $100,000 to $200,000 in salaries per school.

This, of course, isn’t to say that rules aren’t necessary, or that the NCAA doesn’t have a valid role to play in making sure its members operate on the up and up.  Or even that it’s all well intentioned (or at least started out that way).

It’s just that when you read this, you see the wisdom in this logic:

… Chuck Smrt, a former NCAA enforcement official, now works at a business in Kansas, The Compliance Group, which provides consulting expertise to schools and conferences on NCAA rules.

When he makes presentations, he tells clients the rule book isn’t as complicated as it might seem, in principle at least. The main concepts haven’t really changed: Athletes must pass a certain amount of classwork, no extra benefits for athletes, no recruiting enticements.

“When I make presentations to coaching groups, I say that if you know two basic pieces of legislation, you’re never going to be on probation,” Smrt said. “If you know you can’t give anything to a recruit at any time, you’ll never have recruiting violations. Once an athlete enrolls, you can’t do anything for him even though you can do it for the general student body.”

I bet Smrt never said anything like that when he was employed by the NCAA.

(h/t The Wizard of Odds


Filed under The NCAA