Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett has forever changed the game of college football, as the fake slide move he executed in Pitt’s 45-21 win over Wake Forest for the ACC title has been outlawed by the NCAA Rules Committee.
The move in question came in the first quarter of the ACC championship game, when Pickett broke off a 58-yard run. The run came on 3rd-and-5, and it appeared that Pickett was about to slide after he had gotten enough for the first down. But when Wake Forest defensive back Nick Andersen let up, Pickett pulled out of the slide and then raced to the end zone.
The fake slide caused a stir in the college football world, as some felt that the play bordered on cheating because it took advantage of a rule intended to protect quarterbacks. However, others were quick to point out that there was no rule against such a play, and others, like Wake Forest head coach Dave Clawson, felt that the NCAA should amend its rulebook and outlaw fake slides.
“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, according to ESPN. “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.”
In the end, Clawson got his wish, and the NCAA Rules Committee outlawed the fake slide move on Thursday. Now, when an official sees a quarterback begin to slide and then pull out of the slide, the play will be whistled dead. In addition, the play will not be reviewable after the call is made. The rule adjustment came just five days after the controversial play.