Jake Locker plunged into the endzone with two seconds left on the clock. A conversion kick away from tying BYU. Locker flips the ball innocently in the air to celebrate with his euphoric teammates. A referee flags him for excessive celebration, moving the ball back fifteen yards. The ensuing P.A.T was blocked and the game was lost. The national media immediately condemned the officials for the moronic call. The outcry was unanimous.
Another blundering example of the NCAA’s over-legislation of the game. Every year new rules are implemented, some good, some bad, but in the end...simply too many unneeded changes. It's overkill. You need an advanced degree to even fathom these changes and an assistant to keep you up-to-date on them.
I checked out the new rule changes for the 2008 season. Aside from the asinine anti-celebration rule, which is among the most ridiculous in all of sports, is the new face-mask penalty. The unintentional 5 yarder is gone - it's now a mandatory 15 yarder regardless of intent or severity. And according to the new rules; When in question it is a foul. (A.R. 9-1-2-XV). That same, inherently-flawed philosophy cost Washington a shot at a simple extra point and a 50% chance of winning the game in overtime.
To say the Husky kicker should have made the kick is a legitimate point of view, but consider this; after the penalty, BYU coach Bronco Mendanhall admittedly changed his defensive strategy, deciding on an all-out rush to block the attempt. From three yards out (vs. the 18 yards out as a result of the penalty) the defense rushes fewer players to safeguard against a fake kick that could result in a two-point conversion. With that threat all but eliminated from the penalty, the strategy changed, directly affecting the outcome.
Washington fought a fierce battle against 15th ranked BYU and appeared to be on the verge of something big. A threshold moment for this much maligned team, and their coach Tyrone Willingham, his job is on the line...and I do not mean metaphorically. To have poor judgment from a bystander decide the outcome is simply unacceptable. This is not the first example, nor will it be the last, of an idiotic interpretation of rules hurting the games by unfairly affecting the outcome. It hurts the players and the fans.
This celebration rule is obnoxious and inappropriate. To ask kids to play an emotional game and not react emotionally is simply stupid. That’s precisely what makes sports great – the outpouring of emotion by players and fans. What’s next? Banning fans cheering? Ludicrous, right? Don’t be so sure that’s not next. Yes, there are scattered acts of players taunting. Penalize them! Don’t penalize the majority because of the mistakes of the few.
This is equivalent to banning smiling after a good orgasm...and another example of a complete lack of common sense.