116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
[caption id="attachment_115224" align="aligncenter" width="253" caption="The NCAA approved three rule changes Thursday, targeting messages on players' eye black, taunting on the field of play and the wedge formation on kick returns. (Gazette file)"]
The NCAA's Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved three major football rule changes on Thursday.
These don't really affect Iowa, IMO, but let's roll through them just in case:
1. Wedge blocking banned on kickoffs. -- It will be a penalty if groups of three or more players plow ahead of a returner, shoulder to shoulder. This one might actually affect Iowa's special teams. It wasn't much of a wedge at Ohio State, but it was three players plowing ahead. Take a look:
I like this change. I don't think the wedge itself was dangerous, but I do think the wedge breakers were very vulnerable. Jayme Murphy might've had a senior year if this rule were around a couple years ago.
2. No eye black messages. -- For the life of me, I can't remember an Iowa player with his area code or a Bible verse written on his eye black. For all intents and purposes, this is the Tim Tebow rule. In the picture above, I believe DJK's eye black simply says "Mueller," the company that makes that product.
Can you hear what Kirk Ferentz would say to a player trying to give a shoutout to his area code?
I don't think it was horrible for players to do this. I wouldn't say it's a violation on their freedom of speech, but there are worse things out there.
Was kind of looking forward to Ricky Stanzi with "Love it" under the right eye and "Leave it" under the left.
3. New taunting penalties. -- Players who are flagged for taunting while scoring a touchdown will be penalized from the spot of the foul, beginning in 2011. The points will come off the scoreboard and the coach will be grabbing a facemask.
Again, can't remember an Iowa player really taunting after a TD. They've always been taught to share it with their teammates. I like that idea.
This rule will likely be highly subjective. Taunting to a 50-year-old official might be something totally different to a 35-year-old.
What's a taunt? If a running back dives for the pylon, is that a taunt or a legit play? This could be the difference between a TD and having the ball at the 15. Points off the board, I like that, but taunting needs a clear definition.
Again, I don't think any of these rules affect Iowa. Let me know if you disagree.