Blog Entry

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

Posted on: December 30, 2010 8:16 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2010 8:19 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli

Ask any defender of the bowl system why college football shouldn't ditch bowl games for a playoff and one of their reasons will be that the bowl games are a reward for the players who work so hard during the season.  They're right, too.  The bowl games are a reward for the players.  A vacation to enjoy themselves and have some fun before the year comes to an end.

Just as long as they don't have any of that fun on the field, apparently.

What was a very entertaining first edition of the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium was marred on Thursday evening when an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty was called on Kansas State wide receiver Adrian Hilburn for what was deemed a celebration after scoring a touchdown in the final minutes.  That celebration was a military-style salute to the crowd after scoring the touchdown that brought his team to within two points and gave Kansas State a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion.

Instead the Wildcats were backed up 15 yards and forced to go for two from the 18-yard line.  An incomplete pass later, and Syracuse left the Bronx with a 36-34 win.

It was a terrible call, and at possibly the worst time it could have been made.  Kansas State fans, and college football fans have every right to be angry with the official who made the call, and reportedly told Hilburn "wrong choice, buddy" as he threw the flag.  Still, we can all be as angry with the official as we want to be, but I worry that we might be shooting the messenger here.

Yes, it was a terrible call, but the penalty wasn't what's truly terrible about all of this.  The fact that a player celebrating a touchdown is illegal in the first place is what's truly terrible.

These are kids out there on the playing field, are they not?  Maybe the NCAA and the schools forget that from time to time because they're so busy counting the money that these kids make for them.  It's because of this stupid rule that a kid goes from the elation he was feeling for possibly saving the day for his teammates to wanting to crawl under a rock knowing that he just cost those teammates the game.

Is this the lesson that the NCAA is trying to teach its student-athletes?  

I mean, I know that college football is big business.  Hell, listen to any coach leading up to a bowl game and he'll tell you that his team is taking the approach that the bowl game is a "business trip."  It's just I fear we've reached the point where we've forgotten that football is a game, and that college football is a game being played by college kids.  For our entertainment.

If the NCAA wants its student-athletes to start behaving like professionals, then maybe the NCAA should start paying them like they're professionals.

Since: Dec 31, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:26 pm

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

Where is the penalty for the referee??

Who reviews their actions / records?

If this call was appropriate - what are the penalties for all the other referees for NOT making the same type call in other situations and games?

Sorry, sorry referee and sorry system that lets him get away with it.

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2010 1:18 pm

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

Excessive celabration penalties are excessively stupid and difficult to ask referees to regulate.  Remember the first one called a couple of seasons ago on a Washington palyer that made a miraculous catch and ties a game at the end throwing the ball straight up i jubilation and got flagged?  They missed the XP and lost the game.  Why do we want to tewll the kids that they can't celebrate a play.  I understand the taunting and the desire to remove the excessive nature, but let's find another way, like post game review and suspension if necessary. 

I like the video posted of Mark May showing several instances of more excessive celebration NOT being called in the same game and by refs from the same conference.

Time to suspend a ref.

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2010 12:34 pm

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

Sorry, but not only was it a good call but it was the right one.

Since: Dec 3, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2010 11:15 am

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

I agree with pretty much everything said.  That was a horrible call at a horrible time of the game.  Being a Big 10 fan I am embarassed by the Big 10 official that threw the flag, and the other officials that didn't have the nuts to tell him to pick it up.   We can't guarentee they would have made the 2pt conversion, but it would have been nice to let the players decide if they could and not the official.   Horrible call to a really fun game to watch.

Where was that flag in OT when the TN QB was taunting everyone as he went off the field?  I don't think that merited a flag either, but it was a lot worse than an salute to his fans in the stands.

Since: Dec 5, 2006
Posted on: December 31, 2010 11:04 am

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

Since: Jan 4, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:59 am

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

Not 10 minutes later in the Tenn/UNC game, I watched a Tennessee player score a TD, bounce around in a crazy dance and SALUTE. Where was the flag for that?

The Pinstripe Bowl game was a GREAT football game. One of the best games of the entire season. And to think the only thing we will remember about it is the HORRIBLE call at the end is a travesty in itself.  

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:29 am

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

The true "unsportsmanlike" penalty on this touchdown should be on the defensive player (jersey  #1), who pushed the receiver at the back of the endzone - out of bounds - making him spin around to stay on his feet. Why wasn't that called?  Just sayin'

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2010 10:15 am

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

To the reporter herein, Tom Fornelli, I salute you.  All the points made in this story are right on the money.  

To the official who threw the flag, and his supporting cast of dwarfs who didn't have the balls to try to overrule him, I also salute you. No, not the respectful military salute, the MIDDLE FINGER salute.  You suck, you deserve to be fired.  You are contributors to, and a part of what Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell described as "The Wussification of America!" One could only hope that like baseball umpire Jim Joyce did a man-up apology for blowing a historical call, these officials would do the same. But they won't. They're probably sleeping it off right now after spending a night at the bar, having a good laugh at how they tought that kid a lesson he'll never forget. 

No one will ever know what the outcome of the game would've been had that judgmentally bogus penalty not been thrown. But we will always remember how it ended thanks to it. 

Since: Dec 31, 2010
Posted on: December 31, 2010 8:26 am

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

No overtime for the officials!!!  That call was made to prevent the game from potentially going into overtime.  Check out other "celebrations drawing attention to oneself" that were not called by the same officials in the same game....

Since: Oct 2, 2007
Posted on: December 31, 2010 4:44 am

End of Pinstripe Bowl a disgrace to the sport

It's the coach who gets to choose where it is assessed.  99% of the time it's on the kickoff so you can get better field position.  This is that 1%, it sucks but if you were the Syracuse coach isn't this what you would do?  I have to agree with many other posters.  I have no allegiance to either team, I am a Texas Tech fan, but from all the celebrations I have seen over the year:  Big runs, big catches, big sacks, big hits...we flag a salute?  Yes it is a rule, but one the NCAA needs to dispose of quickly.  Either you flag none of them, or all of them.  I am a basketball official, and we can't just simply pick the fouls we want to call.  This absolutely decided the game.

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