The 2011 college football season will begin in less than two months with at least one new rule that is already causing a stir around college campuses.

This new rule has to do with taunting, usually by a player racing into the end zone for a touchdown. If this player high-steps, taunts by holding out the football or pointing at a player who can’t make the tackle, somersaults into the end zone or otherwise showboats on his way to the end zone and a game official throws his hankie, the new penalty will erase the touchdown.

Starting this fall, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty could erase a touchdown in certain circumstances, according to an article written last week by The player will be penalized 15 yards from the point of the foul. Previously, such penalties were enforced on the ensuing kickoff after the touchdown and point-after-touchdown.

The NCAA approved the new rule that turns an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty into a live-ball foul instead of a dead-ball foul.

Rogers Redding, secretary of the Playing Rules Oversight Committee comments on the new rule. “It’s really up to the players,” Redding says. “If they do what they’re supposed to do, we won’t have a problem. But there will be somebody. They’re teenagers, for goodness sake.”

As the national coordinator of officials, Redding aims to create more consistent officiating nationwide on every call, not just the high-profile unsportsmanlike conduct calls.

The subjective nature of unsportsmanlike conduct calls is an issue. One official may judge a celebration as a spontaneous response to a great play. Another may see it as showboating and excessive.
Redding’s office distributes training videos to every official in the country of correct and incorrect calls and officiating mechanics. Training videos also are available during the season, recapping more recent games.

There already has been criticism of the rule since it became official and Baylor head coach Art Briles commented during a recent Big 12 coaches teleconference. “If you’re letting me vote, I’m voting no,” he quipped. “I don’t see how taunting to you won’t be different than taunting to me. If a guy elongates his stride, is that taunting somebody?”

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops expressed his thoughts on taunting rules, “The enforcement of it, it’s not for me to say,” Stoops began. “But what I do know is what our players—what’s explained to them is that it is a judgment call. Everybody’s judgment is different.

“So if you open the door for it to be called, then don’t be saying if it is called ‘All I did was this.’ You opened the door, gave them the opportunity, and everybody’s judgment is different. So don’t go there. And hopefully our players will abide by the rules,” Stoops concluded optimistically.

Most coaches, with the rule now possessing much bigger consequences, will likely have to explain a similar approach to their teams. But coaches can’t suppress players’ emotions, and a big play could mean forgetting those guidelines.

“I would hate for one guy that views taunting differently that another to determine the outcome of a football game,” Briles pointed out.

This Korner has seen this taunting business become more prevalent in the past couple of years and understand the NCAA wants it to stop. However, taunting can easily become confused with jubilation immediately after a big play occurs and some game officials can’t stand to have that yellow flag sit in his back pocket too long.

I can see at least one touchdown per game get nullified by this new rule. College football is a very emotional sport. I look for this unsportsmanlike conduct call to be made after a sack, when the defensive player is dancing around the quarterback.

It may be called whenever a player looks back to see how close the defender is when running for a touchdown and go into the end zone running backwards.

I believe this new taunting rule will become so unpopular with the players, coaches and fans that it will be modified (watered down) BEFORE the 2011 season gets to the post-season.

KWICKIES…Our Houston Astros just finished a nine-game home stand against three American League teams and were able to win only one of those games. It appears their season has gone from poor to pathetic. Earlier the talk was that the Astros had a chance to lose 100 games for the first time in franchise history. With their record standing at 29-57 through Monday’s 5-3 loss at Pittsburgh, it’s inevitable the team will hit that century mark for losses before the middle of September. I sure hope I’m wrong, but with a boat-load of minor leaguer pitchers in the bullpen, those late-inning losses are mounting up daily. It seems so unfair to the position players and the starting pitchers. Manager Brad Mills needs to waive that stupid 100-pitch rule and let some of his starters who are having a good game finish it.

Happy to see former West Orange-Stark Lady Mustang and University of Houston Lady Cougar star Brittney Scott will continue to play basketball at the professional level next season in Spain.

Houston Texans’ head coach Gary Kubiak calls his week-long trip to visit United States military troops in the Persian Gulf the “thrill of a lifetime.” Kubiak is one of four NFL representatives participating in the third NFL-USO Coaches Tour of military bases that began last week in Kuwait. Kubiak was joined by Arizona head coach Ken Whisenhunt, former New Orleans and Indianapolis coach Jim E. Mora and his son, former Atlanta and Seattle coach Jim L. Mora.

Former Port Neches-Groves and Lamar University golf star Chris Stroud finished tied for sixth in last weekend’s AT&T National on the PGA Tour that was won by Nick Watney. Stroud fired rounds of 70-68-66-68—272 to finish five strokes off Watney’s winning pace and collected a check for $215,450.

Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello Sunday became only the fifth pitcher since 1919 to have three wild pitches and hit three batters in a game. Despite his wildness, Porcello was the winning pitcher in the Tigers’ 6-3 Interleague victory over the world champion San Francisco Giants.

JUST BETWEEN US…As good a season as Houston Astros’ right fielder Hunter Pence is having, he is extremely lucky that Major League Baseball has a rule that every team MUST be represented in next Tuesday’s All-Star game hosted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in Phoenix. Otherwise neither Pence nor any other Astro would be on this year’s team. Pence finished 17th in the voting for National League outfielders and his teammate Michael Bourn, who leads the major leagues in stolen bases and is batting near .300, wasn’t even mentioned.