Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
Connecticut coach Randy Edsall, who is a member of the NCAA football rules committee, issued an impassioned defense today of Saturday's controversial call in the BYU-Washington game.
If you didn't see it, quarterback Jake Locker tossed the ball over his shoulder and celebrated with his teammates in the end zone after Washington scored a touchdown in the final seconds to get within a point. The officials penalized Locker and the Huskies 15 yards for excessive celebration, and then BYU blocked the long PAT attempt to hold on for the victory.
The call has been criticized coast to coast.
"I saw all that and I don't know why everybody got upset," Edsall said. "It's a rule. You can't do that. It's specifically stated in the rulebook that you can't throw the ball up. Do you feel bad for the kid? Yeah you do, but it's part of the rule.
"I try to tell my team, when you score, just hand the ball to the nearest official. That's all you're supposed to do. We want the officials to enforce the rules. Well, the rule's right there in the rulebook."
When asked if the official should have used his judgment and let the play go, Edsall said the celebration rule has "been harped on as a point of emphasis" for the past several months. The official, Edsall said, had no choice but to call it or risk being suspended.
"I don't think it's taken any fun out of the game," Edsall said. "It just bothers me sometimes to hear people come on TV and say, 'How can you call that?' Well, the guy was doing his job."
Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said he watched the replay of the call and made sure to show it to his players so they wouldn't make the same mistake this season.