No More Tee-Time For College Kickers

Eclectic Notebook

The NCAA has once again been influenced by the increasing professionalization of collegiate sports. This year, it has nothing to do with agent scandals, but instead involves two rule changes in the money-making sports of football and men's basketball.

For the first time in 39 years, placekickers are no longer allowed to use a tee on field goals and extra points in collegiate games, but must kick off the ground as NFL kickers currently do. The NCAA attributed the rule change to the constantly rising percentage of successful place-kicking since the 1970s, when soccerstyle kickers became predominant.

In 1969, collegiate kickers converted 47.7 percent of their kicks, including 61.7 percent from inside 40 yards and 24.7 percent outside 40 yards. By 1987, those percentages had jumped to a whopping 67.1 percent successful kicks, including 80.2 percent inside 40 yards and 47.1 percent outside 40 yards.

The secretary of the NCAA football committee, Dave Nelson of the University of Delaware, notes that the intent of the rule change is to bring an end to the near-automatic nature of placements and make coaches think twice about going for field goals or extra points. Nelson hopes the rule change will convince more coaches to go for first downs on fourth down inside the opponents' 30-yard line and also to go for more two-point conversions.

While the no-tee rule will apply to all of collegiate football, a professional-type rule change is being considered in a few basketball conferences.


The Big East voted this past offseason to allow players six fouls, similar to the NBA, instead of five in its 1989-90 season.

The rule change would apply for regular-season conference games and could be used in nonconference games with the opposing coach's approval. Special permission from the NCAA will be required to use the six-foul rule in the Big East's postseason tournament.

"It's just another case of the rich getting richer," Boston College Coach Jim O'Brien said. "The lesser teams work hard trying to get the other team's big men out of the game and now this just increases the better team's chances."

Georgetown Coach John Thompson adamantly supports the six-foul rule, noting the increasing tempo of collegiate basketball which allows players to pick up fouls much more easily and quickly.

Both the Trans America Athletic and the Southeastern Conferences will also experiment with the six-foul rule.

The rules will not be used in the NCAA tournament, and some coaches object to the six-foul rule because they would have to prepare their teams differently for the post-season than for regular-season play.

Did You See That?: Nominations for the Harvard Score of the Year must include Loren Ambinder's goal in the field hockey team's 4-0 win over Rhode Island Sunday.

The sophomore's over-the-head deflection of senior Lisa Cutone's long corner shot was "one of the greatest goals I've ever seen," according to Co-Captain Char Joslin.

Apparently, Ambinder was not called for high sticking when she pushed the ball into the top right corner of the goal because a URI defender had initially deflected the Cutone drive into the air. The score increased Harvard's lead to 2-0.

Quote of the Week: "I just said to myself, `When I get the ball next time, I'm going to hold on to it, hold on tight.' [Columbia was] trying to strip the ball from us all day."--Harvard running back Jim Reidy after fumbling on the squad's opening drive against Columbia Saturday. Reidy didn't fumble again and went on to rush for 139 yards in the Crimson's 26-10 victory.

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