Is Kevin Norwood Personally Foul?

Another little legal warmup for all the kids who recently started law school.

Rule 9, Section 2, Article I(a)(1)(e) of the 2009-2010 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations provides a penalty for:

An unopposed ball carrier obviously altering stride as he approaches the opponent’s goal line or diving into the end zone.


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21 Responses to “Is Kevin Norwood Personally Foul?”

  1. evrenseven Says:

    I wouldn’t call that unopposed. Penn State defenders were rather close.

    I think that provision is more to prevent high stepping, or slowing down and walking into the end zone, general taunting.

    Plus, I don’t think he broke stride until after he crossed into the end zone.

  2. bl1y Says:

    Go to 0:32 in the video for a different angle on the play.

  3. Bad Monkey Says:

    Depends, opposed cannot simply mean having opponents on another team, otherwise no player is ever unopposed, unless they kill every member of the other side first.

    This means they can’t be using unopposed in the sense of simply having an opponent. It must have to do with being opposite of another player. Confronting one another, face-to-face even.

    Since there were no players in front of him he was unopposed. Diving into the end zone then could result in the penalty.

    Then again, I’m not a football fan.

  4. Vinnie Says:

    WTF does this have to do with law?

  5. bl1y Says:

    Bad Monkey: Opposed is not defined in the rules, but I would assume it’s whether a player on the other team has the possibility of tackling you, and in football you can tackle from behind. But, I think the defenders are too far behind to close the gap that close to the end zone.

    Vinnie: What could interpreting rules and applying them to facts ever have to do with law?

  6. Verna Says:

    I don’t think he needed to DIVE into the end zone. Therefore the play was correctly called.

    My brother agrees with me.

  7. bl1y Says:

    Verna: It sounds like you think the dive is a personal foul, but in the actual play no penalty was called.

  8. Zamboni Says:

    The dive itself I have no problem with. Arguably one of the PSU players still could have tackled him. However, the somersault makes it a personal foul and the refs (Big Ten refs!!) should have called it. They would have called it on Ohio State had Ohio State done that to PSU.

  9. DC escapist Says:

    Pac10 refs call that every single time. Diving might not trigger a foul, but a somersault has been called as an unsportsmanlike conduct foul (rather than a regular personal foul).

  10. Patrick Says:

    You can’t call a foul for something that smooth and cool. I’m pretty sure that looking awesome is an absolute defense to all charges of wrongdoing.

    Seriously though, the dive seems fine. There was a defender close by. What was it, 2-3 yards? Maybe not close enough to actually stop him, but still close.

    And somersaulting isn’t mentioned at all in ‘Rule 9, Section 2, Article I(a)(1)(e) of the 2009-2010 NCAA Football Rules and Interpretations’ so who cares about that part of the play?

  11. bl1y Says:

    Patrick: A somersault involves both diving and changing of stride.

  12. Patrick Says:

    When he somersaulted, it wasn’t as he approached the goal line; he was already in the end zone. And he wasn’t so much striding as already airborne.

    The dive, that certainly would be a penalty if he was “unopposed.” But I don’t think he was.

    If he’d just landed on his chest and slid, instead of that parkour landing, I don’t think the play would raise any flags.

  13. bl1y Says:

    Not a PK landing. PK doesn’t use flips, you’re thinking about free running.


  14. Patrick Says:

    You got me there. My alternative sports knowledge needs some help.

    But you’re focusing on the part of my comment least related to Norwood’s foul/lack of foul, as if being wrong on a tangential point makes my main point wrong by association.

    I get the sinking feeling that’s standard practice for lawyers/law school profs, and this kind of question/response is really what law classes are like. Makes me want to smash my head into a wall.

  15. bl1y Says:

    Patrick: That is exactly the type of response that law school will pound into you. Endless debate over minor issues that ultimately don’t affect the outcome.

    But, having been through a very good philosophy program before law school, I knew exactly what I was doing. :-)

  16. Frankie Says:

    I do not believe it was a violation as it did not provoke ill will nor was it demeaning to the opponent, the game officials or the image of the game.

    Unless, of course, one of those RMFT stickers was involved.

  17. bl1y Says:

    Have you seen the Alabama gloves with the logo on the palms? A lot of times they’ll hold up their hands Diamond Dallas Page style to the camera after a touchdown. I wouldn’t be surprised if that starts getting called soon.

    It’s already a penalty if the Rammer Jammer cheer is performed more than twice and at any time prior to the end of the game.

  18. Frankie Says:

    Oh yeah, those are classy too.

    Branding – it’s what fans crave.

  19. Lee Says:

    Diving into the end zone is the fastest way to get ball over the plane. I don’t think that should ever be a penalty.

    It also reminds me of rugby where you have to put the ball down in the end zone. The somersault, okay that is probably a penalty.

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