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Calling Plays for the NCAA


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jan. 16, 2023 - 8:22 PM

Calling Plays for the NCAA

The Newnan Times-Herald

To all universities affiliated with the FBS,

I would like to offer my services to replace Mark Emmert, the President of the NCAA, for 24 hours. At no charge, of course. It would save you nearly eight grand for that one day, by the way. I trust you all know you’re paying Emmert three million a year. I’m not kidding.

Besides, you’ll get your money’s worth – since it won’t cost you a thing.

Here are some of the things in college football I’d investigate and/or recommend in my one day sitting in the driver’s seat at the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis:

  • Ensure all university presidents make at least as much money as the lowest-paid member of the football team’s coaching staff, because right now that’s not the case. Not to point fingers, but you might start by looking in Tuscaloosa.
  • Since USC and UCLA will soon join the Big Ten, now is the time to change the name of the conference to represent what it actually is: the Big Two. Ohio State and Michigan. Also, go ahead and put those two teams in separate divisions, thereby eliminating the possibility of a repeat of anything like this year’s hideous Michigan-Purdue Championship game.
  • Outlaw players “pushing” a teammate from behind to advance the ball for a first down or across the goal line. This isn’t rugby, for crying out loud.
  • Initiate immediate reviews for what they’re desperately needed for: pass interference calls. The additional stoppages for reviews wouldn’t even have to lengthen the game. During the reviews, television could use that time to cut to commercials that would ordinarily run in other spots. Thus, timeouts after possession changes and – for the love of Pete – those arbitrary “television timeouts” could be eliminated.
  • New rule: if a player sits out a bowl game, they forfeit their scholarship and reimburse the university in full. Call it the “Leonard Fournette Rule,” since he was the first player to ever have the audacity to do it. (Shame on LSU for letting it happen in the first place. A belated fine might be in order.)
  • Since Texas and Oklahoma will soon join the SEC, why not add Clemson and FSU while you’re at it and make it a Super-Conference? After all, 13 of the last 17 National Champions are from that conference anyway. The only champions in the past 17 seasons not from the SEC were three from the ACC (SEC Lite) and one from the Big Ten (a fluke, perhaps).
  • Players charged with targeting shouldn’t be kicked out of the game or sit out any future games. What’s the point of that, anyway? In almost every case, the helmet-to-helmet hit wasn’t intentional. College football moves so fast that these unfortunate collisions always have been and always will be part of the game. We need to move on from this one; the sooner the better.
  • Eliminate preseason polls. In fact, give serious consideration to eliminating ALL polls. Case in point: after the regular season, TCU was ranked third. After losing the Big-12 Championship game to Kansas State, they were still ranked third. Then, after beating Michigan in the Semi’s, they were blown out in the National Championship, 65-7. So, to recap: They were undefeated in the regular season and were ranked #3. Then, after their 58-point loss to Georgia in their last game of the year, they finished the postseason with a record of one win and two losses. Their final ranking? They moved UP to #2 (per both the AP and the Coaches Polls). How is that even possible??? Simple: it’s because polls are stupid. Get rid of them.
  • There will be no more timeouts called from the sideline before the opposing team snaps the ball – as Georgia did on Ohio State’s fake punt in this year’s semi-final matchup. (It changed the outcome of the game, in my opinion.) Right now it’s perfectly legal, but it’s still – again, it’s just my opinion – BS. (In my defense, I said the same thing when the coach of my very own Florida Gators used to do it on field goal attempts by the opposing team. The coach was Urban Meyer, who as we all now know is also pretty much BS himself.)
  • What’s wrong with replays for unsportsmanlike conduct calls? Or missed calls for grabbing a face mask? Or any other penalty, for that matter?
  • The number of times a player can enter the transfer portal should be limited to – oh, I don’t know – how about NEVER?
  • Speaking of never: NIL should be nulled.
  • Follow me here: an umpire is considered to be part of the field of play. Therefore, if the ballcarrier bumps into an umpire and fumbles, it’s a legitimate fumble. So riddle me this, Batman: if a player fumbles the ball when he hits the ground, which is literally a part of the field of play, why is that not a fumble? From now on, it will be.
  • In college, a legal catch means one foot in bounds, the clock stops on first downs, and a player is down if he touches the ground. In the NFL, it’s two feet in bounds, the clock doesn’t stop on first downs, and a player has to be touched by an opposing player to be down. I propose that the NCAA adopt the same rules as the NFL.
  • That is, with one exception. The way it is now in the NFL – if the winner of the coin toss scores a touchdown on their first possession, they win – is absolutely ridiculous. In this case, the NFL needs to adopt the NCAA’s overtime rules. The sooner the better. (Ask the 2017 Superbowl Atlanta Falcons for their opinion.)

That about does it for me. You have seven months before next season begins. It’s time to get busy.

Call me if you need me.

Scott Ludwig lives, runs, and writes in Senoia. His latest book, SOUTHERN COMFORT is his second collection of 101 columns. His first, SOUTHERN CHARM, and all of his other books can be found on his author page on Amazon. He can be reached at magicludwig1@gmail.com .