College Football Absurdity: Penalizing Emotion and Celebration

Eric HobbsCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2011

The NCAA has followed in the NFL's footsteps on many issues, and it has done so in recent years regarding excessive celebrations and taunting.

It has gotten to the point now where any player risks a penalty if he does anything besides running directly to the ref, cleaning the ball, handing it to the ref, then wishing the ref a good day in a robotic tone of voice.

What was bad enough is about to get worse.

This coming season, celebrations will be flagged as live-ball penalties, wiping out the touchdown and marking 15 yards from the spot of the foul. The examples given by officials were of players high-stepping into the end zone or middle finger waving to the crowd.

Officials maintain that football is a team sport, leaving no place for individualistic celebration. 

Few would argue that obscene gestures ought to be penalized, but what else will get flagged?

Under this new rule, if a player is running and points to his friends or family in the stands before he crosses the goal line, he will be guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct. Paying homage to those you love now is rewarded by 15 yards on the ensuing kickoff. Pointing a finger to the heavens to thank God is now in the same category as obscene gestures.

Not only is that just plain nuts, but if someone really wanted to, it could be argued that it's a violation of one's freedom of religion.

The purpose of the new rule is to increase sportsmanship and seemingly keep opposing players from having their feelings hurt. Personally, I don't think a celebration will upset an opponent nearly as much as getting run over to give up that touchdown would.

If defenders are that worried about players celebrating touchdowns, the answer is simple: don't let the other guy score and you won't have anything to worry about.

This stroke of genius comes just after the NCAA banned messages written on eye-black, finally cleansing college football games from the horrifying offenses of bible verses and players' home area codes being shown on television.

Before long, we may see penalties against improper vocal cord use against any player speaking outside the context of an audible or snap count.

In this modern day of college football, the NCAA says it's cleaning up the sport and maintaining its integrity by enforcing these news rules on celebrations. Perhaps coaches will be able to get out of these penalties by claiming they had no prior knowledge of the players' actions.