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NCAA bans fake slide made famous by Pitt’s Kenny Pickett

fake slide

Although it might have been the best play from the ACC Championship game, we’ll never see another “fake slide” as Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett did on his way to a 58-yard touchdown. The reason is because the NCAA outlawed any further fakes from occurring.

In a memo released by NCAA national coordinator of officials Steve Shaw, referees are now to treat a fake slide as a player giving themself up, and ruling the play dead. This rule will immediately take effect and is non-reviewable.

“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 memo states. “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. 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.”

While some may see Pickett’s move as juvenile, it’s no different than any other athlete doing whatever it takes within the rulebook to elevate your team to victory. As Pitt’s QB, Pickett did just that.

NCAA creates Kenny Pickett rule banning fake slides

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Pittsburgh vs Wake Forest
Dec 4, 2021; Charlotte, NC, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett (8) starts to slide before straightening up and running for a touchdown in the first quarter of the ACC championship game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In my opinion, some credit should be given to Pickett. Personally, I can’t recall another situation where a fake spike ever happened, which makes sense that after Pickett’s touchdown, the rules committee would address it. For now, we’ll call this the Kenny Pickett rule.

For the record, banning the fake slide is a great move. The last thing we need is players starting to go back to decking athletes in the open field when they truly are giving themselves up to slide. Pickett performing a fake slide undoubtedly made defenders livid for taking advantage of an oversight within the rulebook.

It’s also a bit ironic that after former Pitt QB Dan Marino shocked the world with his fake spike with the Miami Dolphins, that another Pitt quarterback would pull off another slick move that no one saw coming.

On one hand, it’s a shame we’ll never see a player attempt a fake slide again, but on the other hand, preventing them from doing so is good for the game. We can’t imagine how things would end up if Pickett or any other player attempted a fake slide again, with the rule in place or not. Now that everyone has seen the play, it likely wouldn’t end well for the QB in the open field.

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