First, to follow up on last week's inquiry. The new excessive celebration penalty is still just a proposal. It was passed by the NCAA Rules Committee and will now go before the Playing Rules Oversight Panel. I am unable to find the date that that panel will consider this rule, but my guess is that the panel will support it and it will go into effect in 2011. To clarify the rule, the only change that it will bring is for "taunting gestures" on the way to the end zone. The penalty will be assessed from the spot of the foul and the points will be taken off of the board. Celebrations after a player crosses the goal line will still be dead ball fouls and assess on the extra point or kickoff. I agree with this proposed rule change, in principle. Any violation of the rules that happens in the field of play while the play is live should be charged that way. My problem with the rule is the language. What exactly is a taunting gesture? Some are obvious, but others are not. Can this rule be invoked if an official thinks that a player is taunting the fans? Are their rules of proximity and direction? If a player is 15 yards away from the nearest defender can any gesture really be interpreted as being directed at the defender? If the ball carrier has his back turned to the defender can any gesture by the ball carrier be interpreted as taunting the opposing player? The possibilities are endless. I am all for sportsmanship, but the language of this proposed rule needs to be clarified before it is implemented.
Now, on to this week.
1. The big event this week was the commencement of spring ball for some schools. Yes, you read that right. The first official day of spring is still two weeks away, but teams have already started practicing. That includes Air Force. Why the cadets have already started spring football beats me. I can understand if teams in the south want to get an early start to beat the heat, but Air Force is in Colorado Springs with an altitude well over 5,000 feet, plus the Academy is situated up against the mountains. I used to live in Colorado Springs and it doesn't get warm until May. Can the practices really be that effective? Maybe President Obama is going to deploy all the cadets on a top secret 3 month mission later this month, so the only time to do spring ball is now.
2. If you didn't believe it already, expansion is imminent for the Big-10. A report is out confirming what we all suspected. This is being done for money. As a side note, the report lists Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Missouri, and Rutgers as the prime candidates.
3. The NFL scouting combine concluded. Nothing too earth shattering happened there. Just one more step in the process. Players impressed, players disappointed, but with pro days and individual workouts for another month and a half, a lot of changes in projections will be made.
Those are the stories that stuck out to me. Go ahead and use the comments section to weigh in on them or put forth your own take on additional stories that you are following.
Just one other thing to add, I am working on a series of posts on the BCS, so in a not too distant week I will have daily editorials about the BCS.