North Florida Loses By 2 After Pre-Game Penalty For Dunking Awards Tennessee Tech Two Free Throws To Start The Game
SBNation- If you dunk in the 20 minutes before the game starts, you will get assessed a technical foul. We wrote about this when it happened during the NCAA Tournament. North Florida dunked in the warmups before its game against Tennessee Tech.
Fast forward a few hours, and -- oh no:
I can't in good conscience blame the ruling of two pre-game free throws for the outcome of this game. Yeah, Tennessee Tech was given two points for essentially no reason and the game ended up being decided by two points. I would consider this a coincidence more than anything else. Anyone who has played competitive sports knows a game can't be decided in the first thirty seconds. Especially a basketball game, the deficit that North Florida had to endure could have been made up in one possession. They didn't seem to have a problem overcoming the lead when they carried a 9 point lead into halftime. Still, the coincidental nature of the final score draws more attention to the absurdity of the rule, and for that we should all be thankful.
Is the NCAA as a whole just the biggest buzzkill of all time? It takes a certain set of unfortunate skills to think up a penalty this stupid. I'm genuinely impressed by the lack of intelligence it took to implement this rule. What genius came up with the arbitrary amount of time prior to tip off that college basketball player would be prohibited from dunking a basketball? Regulating dunking is like regulating Odell Beckham Jr. from catching balls one handed in warmups. It's like regulating hockey players from excessively stick handling during pre-game skate. It's like regulating soccer players from juggling the ball with their feet and head before the match. All these scenarios recreate game time situations and also happen to be rather flashy. They may draw the ire of the crowd, but they are also intrinsic to their relative sport. Maybe we should ban baseball players from hitting home runs in batting practice as well. Seems on par with the rationale of the NCAA. I don't think college basketball players should be having full blown dunk contests during their warmup, but I certainly don't think they deserve a punishment when, or if, they do.
Giving a team free throws for something that didn't happen during a game may be the most preposterous ruling in sports. Free throws are the closest possible thing to guaranteed points. There is no other situation that doesn't involve a fight of some nature where a team is granted an advantage before the game even begins. Could you imagine a referee giving out penalties prior to kickoff or puck drop? If a college's goal is to turn boys into men then why are we treating these Division II athletes like they are prepubescent boys in a recreational league?
I fundamentally don't understand why the NCAA felt they has to enforce a punishment that could directly affect the outcome of the game. Couldn't they just fine the players responsible? Oh wait, those hands never get near the cookie jar of the multi-billion dollar industry they are responsible for. Just to be clear, I know that North Florida and Tennessee Tech aren't pulling in seven figures for college sports, but it's the principle in the matter. I watch sports for entertainment. College sports, professional sports, doesn't matter. The only reason we tune in or shell out money to attend is to be wowed. A college player executing a proper lay-up isn't getting a rise out of me, or anyone else that doesn't run a boy's basketball clinic. The NCAA needs to concern themselves less with Hitler-esque "playing the game the right way" penalties, and more with the countless law suits that are undoubtedly coming their way. For an organization obsessed with child-like rules, they are forgetting the first one; Always have fun.