Hey, coach, it’s a side­line, not a stage

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS -

CHICAGO — Watch your step, Jim Har­baugh. The rest of you Big 10 coaches, too. Con­fer­ence of­fi­cials are tired of coaches who treat the side­line like a stage and rage like Ham­let over calls they don’t like — and they’re pre­pared, fi­nally, to do some­thing about it.

Of the sev­eral rules changes in store for the 2017 sea­son, stricter en­force­ment of the coach’s box may have the great­est im­pact of all.

Vi­o­la­tors are sub­ject to a 15-yard un­sports­man­like con­duct penal­ties.

“We wouldn’t take a tenth of what some coaches do and say from a player, and this is the adult in the game set­ting the ex­am­ple,” co-or­di­na­tor of of­fi­cials Bill Carollo said.

“That’s kind of our think­ing — ‘Know what? We should en­force this, but we have to do it con­sis­tently,’” he added.

“Big games, coaches, I don’t care who they are. It doesn’t mat­ter.”

The con­sen­sus was that coaches lit­er­ally crossed the line to make their points too of­ten last sea­son.

“It has got­ten to the point that (coaches) are hold­ing court out­side the num­bers,” Carollo said.

“If they do get a flag, they stay out there and say ‘What’s the call?’ We were too easy on the rule. Across the coun­try, it got re­ally bad.”

The sub­ject came to light most no­tably in the Michi­gan-Ohio State game last Novem­ber, when an irate Har­baugh slammed his head­set to the ground and threw a play sheet so far it ended up in the mid­dle of the field.

He ac­cused the side­line of­fi­cial of be­ing too pre­oc­cu­pied with his where­abouts on the field, among his crit­i­cal postgame com­ments that drew a $10,000 fine.

“If we do it right, the most sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence will be the coach on the field,” Carollo said.

“I was re­ally clear to our guys, ‘I’m just telling you, we’ve pledged to each other that we’re go­ing to call this con­sis­tently.’ They have the march­ing or­ders. They’re go­ing to flag this. It will clean up the game a lit­tle bit. That’s good.”

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