Pitt QB Kenny Pickett’s fake slide prompts rapid rule change by NCAA

Pitt QB Kenny Pickett's fake slide prompts rapid rule change by NCAA

College football now has the Kenny Pickett Rule.

The NCAA Rules Committee took less than a week to respond to the fake slide the Pitt quarterback pulled off in the 2021 ACC championship game against Wake Forest. Pickett’s okey doke helped to spring him for a 58-yard touchdown run that opened the scoring in an eventual 45-21 Panthers’ victory.

There was doubt at the time whether Pickett had broken a rule in addition to ankles. On Thursday, the committee tried to eliminate the gray area with an update to the interpretation of Rule 4-1-3, the relevant rule in this case. Going forward, any motion toward a slide should result in the play being blown dead. 

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“Any time a ball carrier begins, simulates, or fakes a feet-first slide, the ball should be declared dead by the on-field officials at that point,” Steve Shaw, the NCAA’s national coordinator of football officials, wrote in a bulletin. “The intent of the rule is player safety, and the objective is to give a ball carrier an option to end the play by sliding feet first and to avoid contact. To allow the ball carrier to fake a slide would compromise the defense that is being instructed to let up when the ball carrier slides feet first. A fake slide will not be considered reviewable under Rule 12-3-3 — Dead Ball and Loose Ball.”

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Pickett took advantage of that instruction to defenders when he feigned a slide in the opening minute of the ACC title game. Wake players stopped closing in on Pickett because they didn’t want to risk a personal foul penalty for unnecessary roughness.

“I saw him pull up, I just wanted to keep going, so it kind of worked out,” Pickett told ABC in a postgame interview.

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Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson predicted the NCAA would “have a look at” Pickett’s move.

“You just train your players, as soon as your quarterback starts sliding, you stop because if you touch him it’s going to be a penalty,” Clawson said after the ACC title game, per The Associated Press. “He started his slide, and our kids stopped playing. I don’t think he did it intentionally, but if he did, he’s brilliant. I just think he reacted as an athlete. But what do you tell your players? The quarterback is protected, and there are two guys there who could have made a play but stopped playing because he started to slide.”

Pickett, who finished in the top four in Heisman Trophy voting this year, had a short and sweet response Thursday on Twitter after the NCAA’s guidance made the rounds.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.