The NCAA Football Oversight committee sent a bulletin to game officials regarding the “fake slide” by Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett in the ACC championship game, sources told Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde.
Coordinator of officials Steve Shaw instructed officials to blow a play dead in event of a fake slide attempt by a quarterback. Pickett's fancy move that led to a 58-yard touchdown left fans, teams and everyone in-between wondering if it was legal.
"Any time a ball carrier begins, simulates, or fakes a feet-first slide, the ball should be declared dead by the on field officials at that point. The intent of the rule is player safety, and the objective is to give a ball carrier an option to end the play by sliding feet first and to avoid contact," the ruling reads, in part. "To allow the ball carrier to fake a slide would compromise the defense that is being instructed to let up when the ball carrier slides feet first. A fake slide will not be considered reviewable under Rule 12-3-3 – Dead Ball and Loose Ball."
Pickett admitted after the game that the move was on purpose.
“Yeah, it was intentional,” said the ACC player of the year, per the Associated Press. “I just kind of started slowing down and pulling up and getting ready to slide and I just kind of saw their body language and they just pulled up as well. ... I have never done that before. I just kind of kept going after I initially started to slide.
Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson called for the governing body to review the play after his team’s 45–21 loss to Pittsburgh as Pickett's fake slide led to defenders freezing. He acknowledged there was no rule at the time preventing the quarterback from doing what he did—briefly stutter-stepping and pretending to slide.
“If that is the rule, I will just have my guy fake knee all the way down the field and really, what do you do?” Clawson said, per the AP. “So it’s something the NCAA is going to have to look at, and you know, you can’t fake a slide.”
He went on to add that he has not seen a play like that before.
“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, per the AP. “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.”
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