15 Rule Changes in Sports That Need to Happen

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2013

15 Rule Changes in Sports That Need to Happen

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    Thanks to Major League Baseball finally stepping up to the plate last week with the announcement that the use of instant replay will expand, as well as FIFA utilizing goal-line technology for next year's World Cup and finally, the BCS turning into a college football playoff, we've seen plenty of positive progression in the way sports is played.

    Although things will never be perfect thanks to human error even after review, here are 15 rule suggestions that could still benefit sports by being changed.

    Who knows, maybe they'll stop you from losing your voice after yelling at the TV all game.

Instant Replay in Soccer

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    As I mentioned in my opener, it's huge that FIFA has finally decided to install goal-line technology, but even that was like pulling teeth.

    Playing soccer from the age of three through college, I understand the pace and continuous clock, but for God's sake, let coaches challenge a ref's call—especially when the player who committed the violation owns up by admitting he did something wrong.

College Football's Pass Interference Rule

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    As it stands right now, the pass interference penalty in college football is significantly different than it is in the NFL.

    Instead of a defensive back being penalized for basically tackling a receiver and hurting his team with the ball being placed at the spot of the foul—as it is in the NFL—it's just a mere 15 yarder.

    Sure, it does hurt their team, but when PI happens on a Hail Mary at the end of the half or game, instead of the offensive team getting the ball at the two, they just advance it another 45 feet and an untimed down.

    What kind of advantage is that for a blatant defensive foul?

Any Uniform Infraction

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    In my opinion, this is one of the dumbest rules in all of sports, and it absolutely has to be changed before it really hurts a team.

    Yes, guys like Mario Balotelli, who has ripped off his jersey numerous times and received a yellow card, know the rule. But sometimes emotion gets the best of a guy.

    What happens if Balotelli picks up another yellow for something that's actually warranted later in the match, costing his team both a top striker and sending them to 10 men?

    I still don't understand how this didn't change after Barry Bonds was fined $5,000 for wearing the wrong wristbands back in 2006.

    Come on now, this is ridiculous.

Possession Arrow in College Basketball

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    So much for hustling and giving your all until the whistle blows, huh?

    While every young basketball player's taught to give his or her all, challenging every possession and defending the ball, this rule takes all of that away.

    Rather than toss it up and letting the two players decide who wants the ball more—like the NBA—college hoops relies on this dumb arrow, that trades possessions back and forth with each tie-up from the start of the game.

Scoring in Boxing

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    Is it just too much to rely on the eye test in boxing already?

    As two fighter's stand in the ring and try their best to knock the other out with every jab or hook, they're being judged by a guy in a damn suit and tie—without the style of Justin Timberlake.

    Too many times a judge's opinion hasn't exactly been objective, as they've awarded the victory to the boxer who probably lost to everyone else watching the fight.

Offsetting Fouls/Double Technicals

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    How many times have we seen it during a football or basketball game?

    Two guys get tangled up, shove each other a little bit and exchange some words, and instead of the ref just ignoring it and telling them to settle down, they actually take time to access fouls to each player.

    In the NBA, it's one thing—those fouls do add up.

    But in the NFL, an offsetting penalty is such a waste of time for the players, fans, TV audience and yes, even the refs themselves who huddle together to determine what number the guys who both fouled were.

Three-Point Line's Distance

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    If it seems like every single level of basketball has a different three-point line, that's because they actually do.

    The middle and high school arc is at 19 feet 9 inches, college hoops is set at 20 feet 9 inches, the WNBA's is 22 feet 1.75 inches and finally, the NBA's is 23 feet 9 inches from the hoop.

    With the trey being such a huge part of the game, you'd think each level would just get together and make it one standard distance already.

    A guy who might have range in college might be just a bit short moving back the three feet it takes to bury one in the pros, so let's make it uniform across the board.

Offensive Player's Crown of the Helmet

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    Believe it or not, but the Browns' Trent Richardson would have actually been penalized for his helmet-bopping run over the Eagles Kurt Coleman last year.


    Because thanks to a new rule the NFL is implementing this season, offensive players can no longer lead with the crown of their helmet for safety reasons.

    I get it, if it cuts down on helmet-to-helmet contact, it's a good thing. But there are so many questions on how this thing's going to be called that it should have never been approved to begin with.

Three Substitution Limit in Soccer

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    As it stands right now, teams on the international level are restricted to just three subs per match, with the rule preventing any substituted player returning to the field.

    I'd personally like to see this thing just get wiped away for unlimited substitutes and let coaches install guys towards the end of matches who might be able to score a quick goal or help defend a crucial free kick—yes, like it was in middle school.

    Of course, this would mean injury time would be longer too, as guys seem to take their time in getting off the pitch, but what's wrong with that if guys are fresher and the match is more entertaining?

The Restricted Area Arc

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    Just ask Iowa State—and the rest of the Internet after the Ohio State game—how they felt about the restricted area rule in a second round game in this year's NCAA tournament.

    With refs often having a restricted view themselves on where feet are and what the defender's positioning is, it's difficult to make the call accurately at game speed.

    Much like pass interference in football, this thing's nothing more than a judgement call most of the time, so it'd be best to get rid of the arc and have refs focus on just the defender being set.

Points for Overtime Losses in Hockey

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    There's a winner, there's a loser, sometimes there's a tie and now there's a winner for losing?

    Yeah, that sounds a bit crazy, right?

    Well it happens in the NHL, who actually reward teams for making it to a shootout following a tie after a five-minute overtime period, awarding them at least one point—yes, even if they lose.

    This isn't pee-wee where everyone needs to win for a job well done, so let's take this thing out of the rule book already.

The Designated Hitter

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    It's pretty simple actually—either make the designated hitter a "position" in both leagues, or just get rid of it all together.

    Personally, I'd love to see the DH universalized, incorporating it into the NL to give it another offensive punch—and to save us from seeing pitchers stand at the plate.

    Gray hairs will argue that part of what makes baseball so intriguing is the skill and strategy it takes to manage, pitch, defend and hit in the separate leagues, but that's all hearsay—at least to me.

    It's baseball, so make it the same across the board no matter what league a team plays in.

Excessive Celebration

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    Sports are supposed to be fun, so let's not take the passion and creativity away from some of our favorite players by telling them what they can and can't do to celebrate.

    There are certain occasions when a guy should be penalized for crossing the line, but most of the times athletes aren't trying to show up their opponents with a choreographed dance with a teammate or a sign written on their undershirt.

    Let these guys' personalities come out a little more for fans to enjoy.

NFL Overtime

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    The only thing worse than seeing two pro teams fight for 60 minutes and have a coin toss pretty much determine their fate, is the way that the NFL decides its winners and losers when a game goes to overtime.

    Sure, each team might get a chance at a possession, but that's assuming the team who wins the toss doesn't score a TD first.

    If they kick a field goal, the game continues for the other team to get the ball with a chance to counter with either a TD to win, or field goal of their own to extend play and go to sudden death.

    It's confusing as hell, and a terrible alternative to the sudden death they used to have.

    I don't think anyone wants to see that come back into play, but wouldn't it be more suitable for each team to at least get a fair shot at winning the game like they do in college football?

Amateurism in College Sports

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    Thanks to the recent allegations against Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, this one has come into the forefront of college sports even more recently.

    While I see both sides of the argument for pros and cons in paying college athletes, I've come to the point where we need to see it abolished.

    If a university can make millions off merch sold from a star football or basketball player, but the kid can't market himself as a brand (which he is), how is that fair?

    A "normal" college kid on an academic scholarship who sells personalized t-shirts from his dorm can make money, but one on an athletic scholarship can't do the same for giving his signature?

    Even worse, look at recent cases like Enes Kanter at Kentucky or Dez Bryant at Oklahoma State, who was suspended for feeling like he had to lie about his relationship with Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. On the other hand, Kanter was ineligible for getting paid over $30,000 from a former pro team internationally.

    This is obviously a huge decision, but if Manziel can get escorted around the country for first pitches and court-side seats at NBA games, he should have the chance to get paid for his appearances without penalty.