This newest NCAA gaffe was revealed to me first from Jay Christensen in a blurb on his site and then was further expounded upon by Spencer Hall over at EDSBS. To put the rule in layperson terms we'll again defer to Hall:
This year's inanity: penalizing players 15 yards and canceling scores for in-play taunting, meaning you can no longer high-step, shimmy, sashay, jiggle your buttocks impudently, run in an overly upright manner, carry the ball in a sassy hold, or do anything resembling "show 'em your tail lights, son."
First thing I thought when I read this rule was "this has got to be an absolute freaking joke." The NCAA wants to take points off the damn scoreboard because a guy is "too excited" or "shows off" when he goes into the end zone? What the heck are these idiots thinking?
Currently a penalty exist that punishes guys who alter their stride or taunt as they go into the end zone. It is the same exact penalty that exists for players who take their helmets off, gesture to the crowd or do other "excessive celebratory" actions: a fifteen yard penalty to be assessed on the extra point or the kickoff at the discretion of the opposing team.
While some folks will take the easy route and say "well if they just run into the end zone they will keep the touchdown" but that is not the point. The point here is that the NCAA and the Rules Committee are over-officiating. College football has already had the most controversially officiated season in recent memory with everything that has happened.
Couple this years SEC, Big XII referee debacles with the Jake Locker penalty of 2008 and what makes the NCAA believe that adding more subjective calls is going to improve the quality of the game? Is this going to make our sport a better game?
No, no way in hell does it make the game better. It just adds more grey to an already murky rule. The only person benefiting from this rule will be the team who plays the crappy defense or special teams that led to the strutting opportunity.
In short Team A calls the perfect play where their wide receiver fakes out the safety, gets ten yards behind him to catch the football and then high steps into the end zone from the ten and a flag is thrown. Team B gave up a 75 yard touchdown and under the current rule, thanks to the high step, they will force Team A to kickoff from 20 yard line.
Under the new rule Team A runs the same play, with the same result and a flag is thrown. Team B plays the same crappy defense, gives up the same 75 yard touchdown but now, instead of suffering from giving up the TD they've been granted a reprieve. Thanks to the flag Team A loses six points and gets the ball at the 25 yard line.
Let's check out some real plays and see what our good old NCAA Rules Committee would say about these possibly TD eliminating calls...
Is this a penalty? Georgia starts their gesturing and showboating before they hit the ten.
Do they throw the flag here on Vick for his high stepping at the two?
How about Santonio Holmes here pointing early? Notre Dame can't cover one guy with three so they definitely deserve for Holmes to be stripped of a TD and get to play football from the 25 right?
Devry Henderson's arms go up in jubilation at the five. Is that enough for a penalty?
The point of the current penalty isn't to punish a guy for making a big play, rather it is designed to penalize his team when the celebrations get out of hand. Taking points off the board, putting the kibosh on pre-TD struts is a slippery slope and while "common sense" should be the name of a game the NCAA isn't known for using that skill and obviously haven't in making this decision.