The fake slide Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett used to help clear his path for a long touchdown run in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game is against the rules in college football – effective immediately.
National coordinator of officials Steve Shaw has instructed all officials to blow a play dead at the spot where a ball carrier fakes a slide to cause defenders to back off from making a tackle.
“As far as the fake slide play from the ACC Championship Game, there is concern that QBs could be rehearsing their `fake slide’ for their post season game,” Shaw wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Friday.
Shaw said a rule change was not needed and a new rule was not implemented. The change is a new interpretation of the existing rules regarding when to call a play dead.
“I know people think the rule book covers every imaginable scenario, but it does not,” Shaw said. “In a season I will typically have one, two or maybe three of what we call play interpretations.”
“It just usually doesn’t happen this publicly,” Shaw added.
Shaw noted the intent of the slide rule was to protect sliding ball carriers who are deemed defenseless. The ball is spotted where the ball carrier starts the process of the slide.
“Defenders have learned to hold up and back off,” Shaw said. “If we allow the fake slide, the defense may now not hold up, and we could see many unnecessary and dangerous hits to our QBs.”
Shaw said conference coordinators of officials and all officials were notified of the new interpretation and told to inform teams playing in bowl games.
The ban on fake slides is the result of Pickett’s 58-yard touchdown run against Wake Forest last Saturday. Pickett dropped back as if to pass, took off running and at the Wake Forest 40 dipped his right knee as if he were going to slide to end the play. The move caused a defender in front of Pickett to pull up and briefly stop his pursuit of the quarterback. That allowed Pickett to continue to the end zone.
Pickett acknowledged after the Panthers’ 45-21 win that his fake slide was intentional. Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said after the game the NCAA needed to review its rule on slides.