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Watch Your Step, Big 12 Coaches

The NCAA Is Cracking Down On Dissent From The Coaches

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Watch Your Step, Big 12 Coaches

Coaches better watch their step. Should they walk onto the field to show their displeasure with a whistle blow, or the lack there of, they could wind up with another penalty they probably aren’t going to like.

“It’s not a rule change, but it’s a specific point of emphasis.” Walt Anderson, the coordinator of the officials for the Big 12, said. “It’s going to be conduct of coaches on the sideline.”

Coaches will now be flagged for coming out onto the field when they disagree with a call. They can protest on the sideline, to some degree, but if they come out onto the field, it will be a penalty. Furthermore, if they do it again within the same game, they will be ejected from the game.

“The Rules Committee wants to be sure we are projecting a good, positive image in the game, and we really don’t want to expect any different behavior out of coaches than what we would expect out of players. And there’s certain actions that, if players did those things, there would be no question. There would be penalty flags galore on the field, and we’ve allowed coaches to probably get a little too aggressive in terms of their confrontation with officials, and I want to show you some examples of those that you’re going to hopefully see reduced or eliminated this year.”

Anderson makes a valid point, that there is a bit of a double standard for acceptable behavior between coaches and players. But then again, isn’t there is a double standard in most relationships where one is a subordinate to another? It is the coaches job to campaign for their team, to stand by their players. To stifle that to what the NCAA deems to be acceptable decorum, feels like maybe the NCAA is focusing on the wrong thing.

Now, of course there are limits to what should be acceptable, like there always has been. Of course coaches should be allowed to set up camp mid field while they run the official up one side and down another. That’s not what we are talking about.

Examples shown during Big 12 Media Days include brief exchanges where the coaches takes two or three steps off the sideline to show his displeasure with a call. That will no longer be tolerated.

“Here’s what I’ve told the coaches relative to this — and they understand it, and they understand some of them may have to adjust more than others relative to their display of emotion on the sideline. It’s not my job to tell them what coaching style they should have, but we do want to maintain a certain type of decorum on the sideline that needs to be projected.

“It’s like I told them, you know, if the speed limit is 55 and you drive 60 and you get a ticket, don’t complain because the guy that passed you up a mile back was going 70 and he didn’t get a ticket. Because what I tell them is,if you don’t want a ticket, just drive 55

Is that what the NCAA wants to be? The police officer that pulls people over for going just a couple of miles over the speed limit? What’s next, penalize a team when fans boo the officials?

It’s a minor rule change that did not get a lot of attention during Media Days, but once the season begins, don’t be surprised if it becomes a bigger issue. Football is a game of passion. Fans want to see that passion. Limiting how much a coach can object to a call seems awfully convenient for the officials in a game where there is little to no recourse or accountability for bad officiating. At least, in the public eye.

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