Illinois Head Coach Tim Beckman Could Hear from NCAA over Possible Tobacco Use

Ian BergCorrespondent IOctober 6, 2012

Photo via Big Lead Sports
Photo via Big Lead Sports

College football is littered with do's and don’ts inside the NCAA bylaws. Some of the rules are seemingly impossible to avoid, while others—like on-field tobacco use—should be easy to follow. 

Illinois football head coach Tim Beckman is seen in this photo (courtesy of Big Lead Sports) taking a huge dip from his regular Skoal can.

Is that long or short cut coach? Seriously though, this could be a violation of NCAA rules for the first year head coach.

The NCAA bylaws clearly state that:

"The use of tobacco products is prohibited for coaches, game officials and student athletes in all sports during practice and competition. A student-athlete who uses tobacco products during practice or competition is automatically disqualified for the remainder of that practice or game."

That can be found at 11.1.5 of the NCAA rule book. 

Just this May, Ohio State reported to the NCAA assistant coach Mike Vrabel had been using smokeless tobacco on the sidelines. It was considered a secondary violation for the school. It was reported with 46 other secondary violations against the Buckeyes this spring. 

While this may not be a major violation for the school, it is a blatant secondary issue for the coach and the Illini. 

Is this really a big deal though? 

One fan thought that it was. Assuming that @JoeDRobinson4 is a Wisconsin fan, this was his tweet:

Illinois Coach Tim Beckman chewing tobacco DURING a college football game? That can't be legal?

— Joe Robinson (@JoeDRobinson4) October 6, 2012


I don’t possibly see how this could be worthy of an NCAA infraction. The NCAA has a ton of issues that it faces on a daily basis. Tobacco use by adults on a game-field seems to be pushing the envelope a bit. Actually, it is pretty ridiculous that this will cause Illinois issues. 

There will be an agent assigned to investigate and bring findings in this case. It will represent lost time and effort when much larger things are brewing around the college football world. 

I am sure that Miami (Fl.) would like to know its fate. Oregon is likely wondering what is going on after the Will Lyles and Lache Seastrunk debacle. Nothing has moved in those cases, but this will be attended to quite quickly. Especially after the national attention it received. 

With it being obvious this will result in NCAA secondary violations, where has the saltiness in coaches gone? There is no reason for the NCAA to try and regulate the actions of a coach to the level of tobacco use. It even denies the right to use tobacco at practice. 

While it is never a good thing to promote the use of such products, letting a coach take a dip on the sideline is not promoting the use of tobacco products. There are a number of ways the conversation could be turned to make it look non-beneficial to the coach. 

From here until eternity, please NCAA officials, please focus on meaningful investigations. Leave these ridiculous secondary violations off the list on the next rule book drafting. Mark Emmert says it’s in the works. Here’s to hoping that it is a lot different than the one that is on the table right now.