Looking at new celebration rules

DALLAS -- Walt Anderson, the head of officials for the Big 12, is talking to a room of media folks about some of the rules changes in the NCAA heading into 2011.

Anderson has video and is showing various plays and how they might be called differently from last year. One of the biggest is the celebration rule.

Anderson played the film of the "salute" by Kansas State wide receiver Adrian Hilburn in the Pinstripe Bowl last year. It was just a simple celebration move and the fact that it was flagged helped force the rules committee to alter things (along with several other questionable calls in the SEC and other areas of the country).

"We want to get appropriate celebrations in the game," Anderson said. "It's OK to celebrate."

Anderson notes that there is no such penalty as "excessive celebration." It's termed as unsportsmanlike conduct in the rule book and Anderson thinks that the term "excessive celebration" may have contributed to the rule turning into one where some officials were flagging too many celebrations.

"The pendulum had swung too far in one direction and it was time to move it back toward the middle," Anderson said.

One other thing on celebrations. Anderson showed a clip of a player behind a long touchdown catch taunting another player. The unsportsmanlike conduct occurred around the 20-yard line before the ball-carrier had reached the end zone. Last year, that's a dead ball foul and the touchdown counts. Same thing on if a player goes on a crazy high step or summersaults into the end zone. N0w, if the official is sure it happened in the field of play live, the points come off the board and the penalty is assessed from the spot of the foul.

"By rule, when you're unsure, it's a dead ball foul," Anderson said.

In other words: Officials don't want to be taking points away unless they are positive about what they saw. So if a guy flips into the end zone and the TV cameras may show he did it at the 1-yard line, the officials might end up calling it a dead ball foul anyway. They have to be absolutely clear before taking points off the board.

"We hope it's at the 10-yard line so it's clear," Anderson said.

Watch for that this year. That will be pretty interesting when that happens.