NCAA Bans 'Fake Slide' After Kenny Pickett's Rushing TD in ACC Championship Game

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 10, 2021

CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - DECEMBER 04: Kenny Pickett #8 of the Pittsburgh Panthers fakes a slide while running for a touchdown during the ACC Championship game against Wake Forest at Bank of America Stadium on December 04, 2021 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Logan Whitton/Getty Images)
Logan Whitton/Getty Images

The NCAA Rules Committee has banned the "fake slide" five days after Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett used it en route to a 58-yard rushing touchdown in the ACC championship game.

Kenny Pickett @kennypickett10

Changed the game! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/H2P?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#H2P</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZoPRTpiHEn">https://t.co/ZoPRTpiHEn</a>

Former NFL referee and current NBC Sunday Night Football rules expert Terry McAulay relayed the new rule:

Terry McAulay @SNFRules

As expected, a fake slide will cause the ball to become dead effective immediately. It is not reviewable. <a href="https://t.co/T6xTB1R2Zf">https://t.co/T6xTB1R2Zf</a> <a href="https://t.co/iOdx984OZo">pic.twitter.com/iOdx984OZo</a>

Pickett's run put Pitt up 6-0 in its eventual 45-21 win over Wake Forest.

It was a shrewd move to give the Panthers the lead.

However, numerous critics outlined concerns that it is unfair for defenders who want to avoid a 15-yard penalty (or perhaps an ejection) upon seeing a sliding quarterback.

Doug Farrar of USA Today wrote:

"It was a smart but ultimately bogus move by Pickett—he exploited the absence of the rule against a fake slide, and in doing so, also exploited the hesitancy of defenders at any level, trying to avoid any unnecessary roughness calls when interacting physically with a quarterback. If the quarterback looks like he’s giving himself up, the defender is bound by rule to respect that and hold up, so for Pickett or any other quarterback to stick his nose in that circumstance? As I said, smart, but ultimately bogus."

Former NFL referee and current CBS Sports rules expert Gene Steratore gave his take to WDVE on Tuesday (h/t Tim Benz of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review): "Just make it a blown dead play. I’d love to see them do that right now so that they don’t run into another situation like that potentially during the bowls and the national championship games."

Steratore added that he wasn't pointing the finger at Pickett.

"It’s not in the rulebook. It was never addressed," he said. "So give him kudos for being an innovative thinker that’s reading a fine line in the rules and finding a way to gain an advantage—legally and by rule—until they change it."

Pickett won't be able to use the fake slide in the Peach Bowl, which will see the Panthers take on No. 11 Michigan State on Dec. 30.