Bellotti: Should Celebration Penalties Overturn the Touchdown?

Oregon coach Mike Bellotti, who's the head of the NCAA rules committee, is thinking about how to crack down on unsportsmanlike conduct.  One of his ideas is to make unsportsmanlike conduct a live ball penalty.  If a player starts doing excessive celebrating before scoring, the penalty is enforced from that spot, and the score is nullified.  Think back to Nebraska/Oklahoma in 1980 and Jarvis Redwine's long run.  Redwine looks back and starts pointing at the Sooner chasing him.  In that case, the ref could throw the flag, and mark off ten or fifteen yards from that spot.  So rather than an NU touchdown, it would be Husker ball, 1st and 10 from about the Sooner 20.

Needless to say, I've got mixed feelings about that suggestion.  On one hand, you don't want to see a game decided by somebody's dumb penalty.  But as we've seen showmanship starting to overwhelm sportsmanship on the field, I'm not so sure that isn't a bad idea.

In fact, I'll even take it a bit further.  If it's truly an excessive celebration and it happens after the ball is in the endzone, treat it like pass interference.  Wipe the touchdown off the scoreboard, and make it first and goal from the 2.  Take last year's Georgia/Florida celebration when the entire Georgia squad ran onto the field.  Really think that would ever happen with this rule in place?

Yes it's a game, and we shouldn't legislate the fun out of the game.  But by that same manner, when you get into the end zone, act like you've been there before.

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